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Phres IITian 4: Galagali

Nikhil Galagali

Before becoming a proud MITian, Galagali was a prouder IITian. Nikhil Galagali passed out of IIT Madras in 2007 with a B. Tech in Civil Engineering. Currently, he is doing his Masters in Computation for Design and Optimization at MIT, USA. In the Phres IITian series, he describes his experiences at the amazing place that MIT is, talks about the amazinger chicks that MIT has, and compares MIT with IIT on various fronts (except the chick front 😛 ).

MIT’s brand name had a lot to do with me choosing over other universities that I got admissions into.

You could have taken up a job after passing out of IIT. Did the MIT brand name pull you towards higher education? It’s true that I could have got a good job, but I was never interested in working right after graduating from IIT. Getting entry into MIT was another incentive. MIT’s brand name had a lot to do with me choosing over other universities that I got admissions into.

What’s the best thing about MIT? I think in MIT’s case, the best thing is the atmosphere that it creates for researchers and students alike. Professors and students look forward to doing exciting research here, all the time. It’s like a multiplying effect where any good work is encouraged to flourish, which in turn, motivates others to work further on similar lines.

First thing that struck you when you entered the campus? Since it was my trip abroad, I was quite awestruck by the beauty around. 😛 I had always heard of MIT as this big place with great reputation; all those Nobel laureates, eminent scientists etc. So obviously, I was kind of overawed by the campus for the first few days. But in due course I realized that the environment was actually very comforting.

How is work load there when compared to IIT? It’s painful; a lot in comparison to IIT. Professors load students with assignments which demand a lot of thinking and application. In contrast, IIT was mostly about preparing just a few nights before the exams.

The work load is painful; a lot in comparison to IIT. Professors load students with assignments which demand a lot of thinking and application.

So, do you like MIT more or you liked IIT more? I loved the life at IIT. It felt more like home. I miss those wing chats we used to have, the hostel spirit, the institute activities. Life in IIT was so much more social.

One thing that should be changed in the Civil Engineering department at IIT Madras? Maybe it’s time we remove the rigid rules that professors try to impose on the students. This would make the courses more interactive. I personally believe that engineering is best learned by doing what you are read.

Tell me three things that you really really miss now that you are no more in IIT.

  1. Mess food (you realize its value only when you have to cook yourself)
  2. Friends at IIT
  3. Late night trips to Ascendas, Minar and beach

Minar is gone by the way and we have Basera here. Ok, so tell me if the way the class reacts to teaching, any different from the way it did in IIT. Do the back benchers crash there too? Man, people here are so enthusiastic. Every course has a TA and being a TA can sometimes be a nightmarish experience. There always are some people crashing in the class. But I will tell you what the best part is: you don’t have to be on the last bench to crash. 😀 In fact you can walk out whenever you want. Profs are cool with you entering 10 minutes before the class ends or you leaving right after he starts his lecture!

You don’t have to be on the last bench to crash. 😀 In fact you can walk out whenever you want. Profs are cool with you entering 10 minutes before the class ends or you leaving right after he starts his lecture!

Are the classes technologically more equipped? Are there digital black boards or stuffs like that? Hehe. No, there are no digital blackboards. There are sliding blackboards. But other teaching aids like projectors are ubiquitous. Most of the course material is uploaded on the course websites and some courses also have pre-recorded lecture videos on the web.

Give three tips to crack MIT 🙂

  1. Good grades
  2. Interesting projects (not necessarily under professors; even independent projects for events like Shaastra help)
  3. Good Statement of Purpose (SOP) essay

What do you plan to do once you are done with your Masters? Actually, I haven’t really thought about getting out of here very soon :). I like the work culture here and may want to go for a PhD.

Many students think that the 1st, 2nd or if (s)he is lucky, the 3rd topper of a branch are the only folks who can crack MIT. Do you agree? No thats not true.There are certain pre-set ideas which are not true at all. The application is looked at in a holistic manner. Nevertheless, a good CGPA is a prerequisite.

There have been cases in which civil toppers went to MIT, did MS and then ended up taking jobs as i-bankers. Your comments on that? I think that becoming an i-banker is a boring job to do.
So money won’t be able to buy you? It’s a tough call leaving something as rosy as that but I would be much more happier doing something that I enjoy more .

Okies dokies. Here is the last one. Do you feel proud to be a Civil Engineer? Yes. I am happy to be one!

13 replies on “Phres IITian 4: Galagali”

Really now u r gonna have a queue of ppl wanting to get featured in ur phres IITian series 😉 . Keep some minimum criteria for selection…warna ladayi ho jayegi 😈
PS: Mebbe in the bargain u get beaten too. hehe

MIT sucks !!!!!!!!!
IIT is the greatest
YOu fukin pardesi NIkhil galgali :mrgreen:
Y do u wanna do phd da ??? Ur country needs you ….. 🙄

Oh by the way Amrit …I have been a constant visitor to ur site …very refreshing … keep up the good work 😆

@amrit – nice initiative dude.. donno how you come up with such ideas.. gr8 going
@c-ley – u are in India only man,,y dont you do something for the country !! 😛

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