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This IIT student and Apeejay alumnus is passionate about machine learning and artificial intelligence  

Apeejay Kharghar alumnus Debarshi Chanda, a B Tech student at IIT-Guwahati talks the changes between engineering at the school and college level



Debarshi Chanda is a third year B. Tech chemical engineering student at IIT Guwahati. He is also an Apeejay Kharghar alumnus from the batch of 2019. In a wide-ranging interview, Debarshi discusses his passion about machine learning and artificial intelligence, his best memories from school and shares his success mantras with non-medical students. Edited excerpts:

Please tell us about your inspiration behind choosing chemical engineering?

Well the first year includes a common academic curriculum for the students across all the branches. It involves basic fundamental Math, Physics and Chemistry. The core courses or the specialisation begins from the second year. In chemical engineering it includes the basics of ThermoDynamics, Mass Transfer, Heat Transfer and other concepts. It is more towards thermal physics. People have the misconception that chemical engineering consists more of organic chemistry, reactions etc. It actually involves more of the physical chemistry part.

One gets the college and branch through Joint Seat Allocation Authority counselling. I wasn’t clear back then about my branch. I was clear however, that I wanted to study in one of the top IITs. IIT Guwahati was at seventh position in the list. So, I chose IIT Guwahati and went along with chemical engineering.  I did not want to go into mechanical engineering. I liked computer science engineering but the closing rank for that was very high and I couldn’t get in, so I went along with chemical engineering. I have a good peer group here. There’s a lot of self-study that needs to be done by a student. I am, however, enjoying the process.

What are your future targets in the world of engineering?

The field of machine learning and artificial intelligence are my future targets. They are more towards computer science, so I will gradually change my discipline. I have already secured an internship in Amazon which will help me for the same.

Please tell us about some of your best memories from your school days?

It was a very special time since I have studied at Apeejay School Kharghar from Kindergarten till class 12. There are so many special memories. It is very difficult to pinpoint one. Classes 8,9 and 10 were the most interesting part of my school life. Sports period was the best thing for all us students. Most of our time was spent playing football on the ground. Also, I topped my school in the class 12 exams. I was felicitated on the annual day for the same. It was a very proud moment for me.

What advice would you give to a student at Apeejay Kharghar who is preparing for the engineering entrances?

It is a very difficult exam but one must focus on the concepts. The exam will demand hard work. Everyone has to do hard work at some point in their life, so it is better to put in the work now, for it’ll then be easier later.

How did Apeejay School, Kharghar, help you in pursuing your passion in life?

It was during classes 8, 9 and 10 when I developed a particular interest in Science. Before that I did not have any interest in the same. I had some nice teachers who guided and inspired me to read more about science. Manisha Ma’am was my science teacher from class 7 till class 10. She wouldn’t just teach us the syllabus, she would also give us information about various science concepts which were beyond the syllabus. That interested me a lot. I would study more about those topics on the internet.

In class 11, we again had good support from the teachers. We had to manage the school syllabus as well as the engineering entrance preparation.  The school would keep the schedule of the internal exams in such a way that a student could manage both the fronts successfully. There were no clashes with our entrance exams.

There is a sea-change in the engineering syllabus at school and in college. What changes have you observed?

At school, one had to read only the syllabus and if one pays attention enough in the class and studies well from the notes, things would go smoothly. However, at college one doesn’t always get the concepts in class. Therefore, self-study is extremely crucial. A student must read from other sources.

Also, in college things are more streamlined. I also get the time to focus on my areas of interest which are machine learning and artificial intelligence. I am passionate about these two emerging fields. This freedom and flexibility is available at college.

Arijit Roy is a young correspondent at Apeejay Newsroom. He has done his masters in English literature from Delhi University and has a book of poems published by Writers Workshop India. He can be reached at [email protected]