Indian Institute of Technology, Gandhinagar (IIT-GN) established in 2008 became Gujarat’s first IIT. This institution still makes Gujaratis proud for their state. It was like one more addition after NID, CEPT, IIM-A and SVNIT. Institutes of National Importance have a charm of their own. IIT-GN is considered to be one of the best new IITs. Hence we thought to talk to a recent Alumni, Dhyey Shah to get his experience of the college and the industry after being a graduate. Dhyey Shah is a young Entrepreneur, founder of a company called 4Dea. He graduated from IIT-Gn in 2015.
It has been almost 2 years since you graduated from IIT-GN. How has the industry treated you so far? Does IIT-GN have a role to play?
I was working on my own venture right from the 3rd year at IIT-GN and continued even after graduating. We got incubated in IIT-GN itself. We all at 4Dea, are on a mission to replace all the digital visuals that you see today. These can be travel pictures, news clips, pictures of hotels or apartments or pictures of your precious weddings and other parties. We want to transform them into a 360 experience which is much closer to reality. Our product makes it very easy for everyone to do it themselves!
The role of IITGN has always been to give us a great exposure. Apart from that, it gives total freedom, not only to entrepreneurs but also to all students. We frequently interacted with some high profile guests like Raj Shah (Former Director, Google Maps, Now Apple Maps) and Anjali Joshi (VP Products @ Google). It is a privilege to be a part of the worldwide network of IIT Alumni. However, there is a long way to go to make an ecosystem for entrepreneurship like we see between the Silicon Valley and Standford University. That’s what I want for our IIT-GN to become one day!
How is it like to be on the IIT Gandhinagar campus?
In each semester, students get to choose courses they want to study and the professors make the timing of lectures democratically. You can propose your own projects as courses (Make your own course!). 4Dea was a similar academic course that I made for myself. Under the guidance of Prof. Bhaskar Bhatt, I could execute it. Imagine, I could do that being a mechanical engineering student!
Everything is run by students and professors are the advisors. So throughout your 4-year life, you can propose to start a lot of new things in the institute or easily take a lead in the existing things on campus.
One possibly bad point could be that so much of freedom can make a lot of students lazy! If you want, you can either make the best out of the environment or you could sleep in your hostel room, not participating in anything. Nevertheless, the success stories and the real-life examples of successful seniors constantly motivate you to push your limits. In the end, it is your own choice!
What would you say about the faculty, curriculum and teaching in the course you studied?
We have a mix of faculties which were retired from old IITs and teaching here and young faculties who have done their PhDs from IITs, IISc and prominent US universities. Just like students get the freedom to choose, professors too get a lot of freedom to design and conduct courses in their own manner.
Professors can decide that my course should not have any exams, whether it will have team projects, presentations etc.Twice in the semester, students anonymously review faculties.
I loved a course named, “Disruptive Innovations in Indian Health Care”. This was a joint course between professors and students of IITGn and CalTech Univesity. A mixed team of Indian and US students was formed. We used to have field trips across India to identify problems and build products in the field of healthcare. As a part of this project, two of my friends (Eepsit Tiwari and Rajesh Patidar) and I had made a spoon for a Parkinson’s patient. A year later, we got awarded the Gandhian Young Technological Innovation Award 2015 at the Rashtrapati Bhavan for the same spoon!
What is the crowd like?
One of the best things about any IIT will be the people you live with for the 4 years. You’ll find scholars and geniuses from every state in India. And in the end, hostel bonds are forever. (Living in the IIT-Gn hostel is compulsory for students!)
What is the kind of companies that come for Summer Internships? How was your personal experience?
The major summer internships at IIT Gandhinagar are from foreign universities of US, Europe, Israel and Japan. I had opted for a fellowship program in Israel, where we had to study the startup eco-system of Israel, stay and visit in hi-tech companies there and understand, what made Israel the startup nation that it is today. We have choices for industry internships as well but only 20-30% students opt for those.
What are the things that could be improved, things that were disappointing, or things that you have to bear with?
IIT Gandhinagar is 8-year-old now and we have our own campus near Palaj. That’s why the thing that I would like to improve the most is its connectivity to both Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar.
People in the Industry and Government still need to realise the potential of having an IIT in the state.
For example, in the USA and in Israel, a lot of problems from industry and government are brought as student projects and faculty research. This finally makes a big impact and solves a lot of problems. We still have a lot to improve on that sort of outreach. The students with faculties at the IITs can work on projects that innovatively solve problems.
Low girls to boys ratio in B.Tech is another thing that needs attention. It’s already a research topic in the IITs! Our batch, the ratio was 1:10. However, we have this multi-disciplinary environment (MA, MSc, MTech and PhDs) the gender radio is quite balanced.
This was an insider, 360 as well as 3D view of IIT Gandhinagar for you!
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