Welcome to the conversation with reinforced engineers podcast, India’s first podcast for and by civil engineers. Join us on our journey to simplify and bring your experiences, straight from the industry. This is your host Padmadip Joshi, along with the co-host Gokul G Kumar, and ES Krishna Ram. So let’s jump right into it. Welcome back guys to the part two of the series on the current state of education system in India. If you haven’t had part one yet, we suggest you to check that out first. Continuing with the same topic. what are the pain points, currently in our course curriculum, if we talk about the post-graduation programs, which subjects, do you think would really help to shape your own business, or which would really help to like start something of your own.
Yes PD you have rightly pointed out, this thing which we lack in our daily curriculum. Some of the major areas of personal finance, how to deal with your money. That’s the main thing, then second, I would say, how to Choose your business partners, how to encourage your team, how to be a leader. So these are all things should be included in our curriculum. I think Krishna would like to add more points on it.
Krishna Ram 1:24
Yes, Gokul I would be very happy say research and stuff like that, they’re doing a B. Tech project or a master’s thesis is fine. But the issue is that those are purely done for credits and there is no fundamental research aptitude behind those. So actually I would be very happy because curriculum says that okay, maybe you come up with a business plan. say if you’re a civil engineer you come up with a business plan for a business that is see there are somewhere around allied $300 industry standing behind the construction industry right so you come up with a business plan maybe to start over to say RMC business or anything for that matter, you take a business you study the options that are available, you do a market survey you understand the environment, you study the competitors, possible issues that you are going to face, and you come up with a fully-fledged business plan, and maybe that you can present it as your project kind of thing not exactly but like, in addition to projects.
Krishna Ram 2:35
If see in the initial phases he might not make much difference, but in the long run this is going to cause a huge difference because I never knew about any of these things. Back when I was doing my B. tech. I literally had zero idea regarding all this business and stuff like see the primary issue being. I never knew that I could think like that if only I knew that I can think in that side or in that aspect. I would be exploring more areas right. So, starting something like a business plan as what you say PG or master’s thesis would be great as part of the curriculum.
Very true Krishna so I’ll tell you a story back in our UG days. We have this professor who gave us this assignment, and it was a prize money associated with it. So, there were around eight to nine groups, distributed among the classmates, you can select your partner, you can select your idea, but it has to do something with the civil engineering or the construction industry. So everyone came up with the ideas and surprisingly around 40 to 50% were related to digital technology. Basically they are trying to propose an application for the said problem. And we had an entire semester on it, and every day, we’ll be working on the project for three to four hours, then at the end of the week we’ll be presenting it. And on the last day of the semester we even pitch the idea to the professor. But somehow, none of the project got the prize money, I think, two years after we graduated one guy successfully got the price and so there are some coming up in some Institute’s nowadays. So I think that would really help it out, and things will changed I think in future.
Hopefully, hopefully, yes. And also the funny thing is that even if such things are introduced you it shall not be for grades or marks or something like that because I remember our university had this entrepreneurship cell, but a couple of companies registered so that they can grace marks. So, it should not be for marks or it should not be you should not be forced to do it, but it should be an option so that students are getting used to such kind of activities.
It’s true. We are talking a lot about grades in this episode so what is actually grades for you Gokul like what is, the butterflies. We are like hunting for good grades, it’s a tough one right?
Krishna Ram 5:17
It should be very tough, Gokul being a 9 pointer and stuff like that; scholarship should not be very tough. It would be very tough for me.
I would say yes marks matters. But I say that, if you’re getting a good mark in all your trimester or semester, it will prove that you are a person, a consistent person I’d say, but it should not be a judging factor for you for any interview or any other competitions, because I believe that there is one thing which everyone agrees is the skill. The skill, the person is having carries a lot value than marks, I would say.
I would say that, or do you say competing for grades was very interesting activity. I never got a lot of grades, but it could you see I can say that it made me a lot more competitive. Right. And as Gokul already mentioned even. I don’t think that grade should be the final parameter to gauge someone or judge someone but it made ultimately we live in a society where grades do have a lot of importance. But, that being said, grades can be used as a filtering medium, let’s say, 60 Plus, kind of, or 70 Plus, or you can use it as a filter, but you can’t really compare a person who got what you say, say, 85, and say 83. You can say that the guy who got 85 would be better than the guy who got 83. So there are some grey areas, coming to grades and stuff like that, but I would say that those are important because those stuff matters like as Gokul already mentioned, it just shows that you are consistent. And if you’re getting straight A’s in all your semesters I know that you’re going to put the effort, all the other stuff required to get that so it says a lot about you but not everything.
So this is a really good lesson for our audience that don’t follow grades blindly also look for up scaling. So, see, it’s an entire process it’s basically an ecosystem. When you enter a college so Gokul. What were your initial expectations from the college, other than the course curriculum, like, What are you trying to up skill any of you’re like dream things like working on software proficiency or working on your communication skills like did you have any checklist like I had a long checklist when I entered my PG college.
Yes PD you pointed it rightly, that when a student will be going to his college, he will be having a lot of expectation about his college. His friends who are going to become his friends. Even the food we eat in the college everything. There is a direct impact on him. And yes, when I also attended My PG College. All these things were there and then there was always a plan to up skill myself. I always wanted to explore new things in design and stuff. So, as Krishna mentioned our friend, Gokul I always ask them how to do things new things and even he taught me Photoshop in UG days, so all these things and in my PG days, I thought that I will explore library and I’ll read new books, but in the starting Yes I did, I read three books but after that I don’t know, I’m more interested in other activities than reading books and yes PD. Tell me about your experience.
I had a very long checklist actually to go with the first thing when I, when I entered my PG college as the first thing which I thought of doing is, like, I was like I was told by many people that there will be a gym facility available there will be big sports complex .I would like for the first thing which I wanted to do run at least 10 kilometres per hour. Oh man.
So, so it took me around one and a half years to do that but I finally did that so that was the first thing to work on the fitness. I used to go in the evening was basically. The second thing is, like, there is this urge to do something, which I can put, put in front of my recruiter. There are some, some butterflies in my stomach that I want to do some certification before, I start my professional career. So I did that, I was looking for that also. And then this secret thing actually, I didn’t share this with anyone. I decided when I joined the institute that I will keep my personal and professional life very separate, so I like had my two groups. One group I was only working for the professional thing that is the assignment was the classic activites, and there is this second separate group with them only I go for, like, a dinner, cinemas, something like that so I try to balance my work and life, if you if you go with the same person sometimes there will be some, like same discussion going on. Even if you go to movies, you will be discussing about the industry. So I wanted to keep that separate. There was so many things on the list. What about you Krishna.
Krishna Ram 10:40
Actually, I guess, the audience would be mostly able to relate with me in because I was just a B. Tech student who was flowing through the four years of like I never had any plans. I now find, I now think that that was a huge mistake on my part, because it would have been such a huge changer such a huge opportunity if I, if I was in a position to better utilize my B. Tech days in acquiring the say soft skills or even for that matter. Other hard skills. But it was pretty disappointing I never did anything other than we had a start-up back there. Luckily, it was a design based start-up, we had that, but I don’t think that I achieved much in my 4 years of B. Tech, other than getting a B. Tech certificate.
So, what would you like to suggest to the future aspiring students through our experience like what are the things, who would you like to send this to them. We’ll start with Krishna.
Krishna Ram 11:47
Okay. Okay so coming to suggestions actually I guess suggestions and advices are something that I guess everyone has a lot of. So, I would not term it is advice to say young civil engineers, I would say something like, if I knew that, or things if I had known when I was doing my first year of B. Tech how things have been different. Some of those things would have been say going for internships. I never knew that internships were such a huge thing until I came to PG; funny thing I did one internship back in my B. Tech days, that was four or five day internships and the experience, said the university calls it so I don’t think there is any wrong me calling an internship. So, I would say, try to do as much internship as possible, see there are enough opportunities out there, see companies would be very happy because they would not be having a lot of first year boys or girls coming in, then asking like I would like to know about the industry at any given industry, I don’t, I don’t think that that is going to happen a lot. So, one thing would be doing a lot of internships. Getting to know what is happening in the industry that would be one thing. The second thing would be improving one’s communication skills. And that is one goal that I had before coming to the college, a PG college because see I was never a person who was very confident to speak in front of the crowd. I never even notice a spoke to a crowd, as big as say 10 or 15. So I knew that I had that problem speaking to huge crowd. So that was something that when I came to PG I was like okay I’ll try to rectify that here. But, see if you’re doing in your first year of B. Tech I guess you already have three years or three years of your life in front of you and communication skills goes a long way. So, definitely try to brush up your communication skills. So, first thing was internship. The second thing is communication skills, and third thing would be to start some kind of financial education, because you don’t see the system giving any importance to your finances. And I guess you have to proactively come forward and learn about your finances, money, all those stuffs matter. So, I guess, these three would be the key things that I would say upcoming graduate to look forward to, internships, communication skills and personal finance. Yeah.
So what Krishna is trying to say; money can solve your problem which is related to money.
No no; money can’t solve all your problems but money can solve all your money problems.
Yeah. And what is your take on this Goku. Yes, Krishna already mentioned, most of the points, but I would like to share some, I never knew a company’s name, rather than lnt when I was in UC because we never really thought about it. We never thought about industry how things are done in industry. So, I believe that these are things neural things are very much important for, for, for I talk in the perspective of civil engineer, not only in civil engineering but all the other engineering streams. So, you have to know your industry better. For that, Krishna told about internships, then we should not be falling behind in technical service also, because in most of the universities, what we see is people run around behind marks, but they don’t study the correct aspects for what they are expected to. So prepare for the technical skills also like if you are going to a site you should be able to identify things. You should be able to communicate with even the site engineer that these are things are there for. How can I improve myself all things should be there.
So what I would say; I never knew a company’s name other than L&T. We never thought about industry or how things are done. So I believe this are things are important for professionals. I will talk in perspective of Civil Engineers & other streams as well. Focus on internships, industry insights then don’t blindly run behind marks. But we don’t study the correct aspects what is expected from the industry. So prepare for technical skills as well; if you go to project site. It should be easy for you to identify things, even should be able to communicate effectively with site engineers or work on your personal improvement.
So, improve on your technical skills, yes and if you’re going for an interview. I never got an exposure in my B. Tech days. You have to face an interview or you have to face an aptitude test for that always what we did was made a resume for the first time, and we appeared for the company. I am not disclosing the name of the company but yeah we set for it.
I will say that it was not even a core civil company, probably an IT company.
So, we never knew what to do and interview how to attend an interview, how things happen in an interview, how you have to lecture yourself in an interview, so all these things are important I would say these things should be, like, as a graduate engineer civil engineer, you should know all these things, you should prepare yourself for this also.
True that Gokul even not able to name companies from civil engineering background is something that even I am guilty of. Actually it should be ashamed to say that out loud, not knowing any similar companies after doing four years of B. Tech in civil engineering but ultimately that is the harsh truth, and even regarding the interviews and stuff like that. That is what is happening currently. Even I have not attempted any interviews of up until I was like about to go for a PG. So, ultimately, all those things matter in one’s professional life, great points here, PD, would you like to add anything more.
Yeah, I think, inclination of students towards reading out industry outlooks some sort of report, some sort of magazines on the construction industry. That would give, give them a leverage. When the sit for placement placements and, like, look for the job opportunities. Second thing which I observe in the current student is, is the mind-set when you enter the institute, the first and foremost thought, so be up scaling yourself and present yourself as a professional. But what we go for is a rat race I always use this reference, I think, Krishna would agree with me. I always used to call, call the placement system as a rat race you blindly run for anything you will never ever reach to your goal. So I think we have to streamline our goals and objectives, not only looking for placements, but we should look for the companies, what exactly they are doing, how they’re doing and where do you fit in their ecosystem. So that would be very interesting to see the changes in the students as well as the hiring companies, which are coming for the student.
So now I have a very fun activity we are talking a lot about technical things and placements and things like that. So this is for our guest, a guest of honour for the day Gokul G Kumar. So, you have to answer this. This was a question thrown to me a few days back by one of the recruiters. And I find it very interesting so I’m trying to share my experience with you but you to answer it I won’t answer this thing today. So the question was, like, Is it the right time to go for higher studies, even considering that the crisis is killing the real estate sector, when it is affecting job market in the construction industry. So, what is your advice for the aspiring students like should they opt the highest studies in this time of crisis? What is your answer to them?
Yes man now, there are a lot of uncertainties now with regarding this further study, because we know that the situation is not good. But I would say, when we take, for example, if we take MBA. We should have to go for online classes, because we don’t have another go for that right. So, your classes experience will be affected. And you will not be able to go your college, explore things like library and other stuffs that you will miss. But, if you take, or you think about placements and most likely the person who is enrolling now will be passing out in 2022. So at that time, at that time, industry will be in its best pace, and they will be hiring more. You know that. Now, what’s happening is in the industry itself, there’s layoffs salary cuts. So it’s the best time you can accommodate yourself into some other thing, so that you can do up scaling of yourself. I believe that initial learning experience will be impacted, but later on, when you will be passing out there will be a lot of opportunities in the industry. Isn’t it Krishna.
Yes, I guess, even I do have that similar viewpoint. See I never had anything against this going for higher studies and stuff like that. Because ultimately, if you’re really interested in what you’re trying to learn. And you are really passionate about that you can always come up on top. I guess this crisis is something that we have never experienced before. And it is on a scale that we’ve never even imagined. But a couple of years down the lane. This is also going to pass on. So, I guess you better use this time, efficiently and do something that is going to set you apart. That might be in form of say, higher education that might be in form of say online courses that you’re taking up scaling of any manner.
If you are given an opportunity to prove yourself, that would definitely be something that is going to set you apart. So I guess it will definitely work out.
So when we talk about up scaling. I’ll take those argument in a very positive way, and I think our audience will agree as up scaling is the only way out. And it’s the right time to go for higher studies opportunities will be created by 2022. And we just have to wait and see like what all opportunities are there. So when you talk of opportunities. This pandemic has even given us a new vision to look for that is to compare traditional jobs against the modern jobs. So now, new jobs are being created by the start-ups as well. How do you think any institute or students should approach these people as well, other than a traditional jobs? Gokul.
Yes PD, you have rightly mentioned that. Now, we know that a lot of start-ups are coming up in India, and people are passionate about their ideas and the, they know that they can come forward with it. So I believe if you’re getting an opportunity to work in a start-up atmosphere, it’s well and good, even if you are studying your PG or UG along that you can work with them, or explore new things because if you want be an entrepreneur in the future. You can get all the details from other start-ups and if you want to start in future. It will help you out.
What about Krishna.
Krishna Ram 23:11
Okay, so you are asking about traditional jobs and modern job, I would answer it a bit differently. Because ultimately, it’s about grabbing those opportunities right so yes so my take is from the approach that you’re trying to grab this opportunity so keep traditional approaches you prepare resume you go to a number of companies or a number of places and you see that if they have an opening that is irrelevant for you that is a traditional approach the modern approach would be, you will be setting yourself apart from the competition, highlighting that you have these many skills or you are proficient in XYZ, and I guess there are a lot of platform these days even LinkedIn is one of those platforms and I guess we’ll have an entire episode on leveraging LinkedIn. So, See if you take the case of LinkedIn, you can use that as a platform to show your expertise to show your passion and stuff like that. And you will be surprised to know that there are companies, there are recruiters who are looking for people like that. So the modern approach would be to set yourself out there, and you wait for other people to compete for you I guess that is the approach that you should take.
Yes, Krishna and Gokul so today’s discussion was very fruitful. We started discussing from the education system, the story of 10th & 12th class, then we move on to the mind-set of parents, and then we discuss the entire journey of our today’s guest and supported by Krishna. So we’ll be joining you next week. Again with the new stories and insights from the industry. Okay, that’s it for today guys do tune in for upcoming episodes. And do check out eskrishnaram.com/podcast for more updates and details about podcast channel. We’ll see you guys in the next week. Thank you and have a great day.
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