Being a member of the College Alumni Association

I am putting pen to paper (read: putting fingers to the keyboardJ) to write about the experience of being a member of the core team at JSS Noida Alumni Association.
While in college I had the opportunity to work as an organizing member of Team Impetus and various other common interest groups which had put me in great networks beyond the boundary of the year of college. I have always appreciated the power of networks and crowds to pull in resources. (1)
It started with a decision, small of sorts. It was a decision to attend an alumni meet being organized by the college. I had no travel plans and decided to visit the college and meet some friends and teachers after a very long time. The function was organized in the lawn outside the girl's hostel (2), the attendees were served dinner and the program included song / dance performances by students and 3-4 usual speeches. In the last part of the program, the Alumni Officer, Dr. Ansari asked the current alumni core team to step up and call out the requirements of fresh volunteers for the alumni related initiatives. I was more than happy to volunteer for the team and full of enthusiasm as I could also see a couple of my good friends there which included +Vaibhav Agarwal.
With the most basic means, we jotted down all the names on a piece of paper and got the paper photo copied and handed a copy to each of the new volunteers as well as Dr. Ansari.

The journey wasn’t very eventful until we decided to take on the challenge of building a strong alumni base over the most commonly used social platforms and also have a group mailing list for sharing opportunities. We roped in many volunteers and worked on various ideas including web applications. (3) The ideas did require a lot of time and effort, and we were then at a relatively naive state. We put our best foot forward and organized an alumni meet while working on spreading the word on the digital platforms. The event did not turn out to be of the standard we had expected it to be (4) but we did manage to get out mathematics clear J. (5) We were bang-on on the projections we had made. This did give us all a better understanding of the opportunities we had at hand and also put us in a very open position with a lot of alumni who were eager to contribute but did not do so for the lack of a clear platform.

I will be posting about my experience with the college management a little later, when we made them aware of the power of a strong alumni network.

Today, we the JSS NAA core team has reached a juncture where we are open for new and enthusiastic volunteers, who are required bring in fresh energy and ideas into the initiative. I have highlighted some parts of the above text with a number enclosed in brackets. These are just a few examples of where the fresh synergies are required; the zeal and vigor on digital platforms, planning and resource management for events, brainstorming and channelizing reach-out initiatives through technical solutions, tackling management hurdles and working behind the scenes on building a great brand of the college and it alumni. Trust me, it is worth taking the time and effort, you wouldn’t get to blow a lot of air in an already full balloon!
I am still motivated towards the initiative and would appreciate participation from all batches that have passed out so far! Please feel free to reach out to me at +919560444562 and share any good / bad / ugly suggestions / comments / feedback, besides the official channels of the Alumni Association.
Samrat Kishor
Class of 2008 [ECE]

JSS Academy of Technical Education

Realizing the Engineer's Dream...

I would like to talk about a matter that has been pestering me for quite a few years now and I know there are lots of others out there who care about this too, but have not been speaking for some reason or the other. I have been thinking about this issue since the time I was a part of this system and passed out from a private engineering college, I put pen to paper today as an article in a news daily acts as the feather on the heap. I have been seeing few articles doing rounds across media since the past few days, which highlights the various statistics proving how fresh engineers passing out today are incapable of solving certain types of mathematical problems or lacking certain personality traits of employability.

I feel sad to see any such derogatory remarks being made by big corporate honchos and have always been advocating the need for enlightening engineering students about the world that awaits them outside college gates. The problem lies in the void that has been created between the industry and academia. Worse is the fact that this void is getting bigger by the day!

It is easy for corporate to declare fresh pass-outs unemployable, but they have to realize that in doing this they are actually mocking themselves, for having been the haven for numerous fresh engineers and may be harming the overall intent of the education system in India. I am not exaggerating but the fact that such remarks mar the students in many ways. They were least informed or trained on the traits that are expected from them at the end of the course, most of which cannot be developed overnight! Ultimately the students are benchmarked on a scale that is absolutely new to them and they seldom know the highest value against which they are ranked.

Companies have been recruiting fresh engineers and have taken them through their self designed pragmatic training programs that sharpen certain skills needed by the companies for operational staff. This is the time when few actually care about their career progression and just go with the flow into joining a majority of the crowd that thinks “Google knows everything that I don’t know” and “I can google it all”. There has been enough discussion around their business model when Mr. Bhagat had responded to Mr. Murthy’s comment about the quality of engineers passing out from the country’s premier engineering college. In these training programs, the fresh recruits un-learn a huge chunk of what they learnt at college and adapt to the new environment that is very demanding and competitive. It’s a well known fact that those ‘few’ who are not so quick to have adapted to the new environment or picked up skills, for the sole reason of being from a totally different branch of engineering or not being able to cope up with the speed at which new things are thrown at them, are asked to leave the organization with immediate effect. We all have witnessed corporate who claim to be amongst top 5 IT companies in India, subjecting their college recruits to surprise tests at local computer institutes and their test results being used as basis to cut down on the number of college recruits. I am sure all of us never get to know the numbers of such not-so-fortunate engineers who for once made everybody proud and are later faced by distress. Their numbers are never made public but are not incalculable. Do colleges take this fact into account while organizing campus placement drives?

The point to ponder here is that as a community, the industry and academia, have we ever thought about the potential solution to this fundamental problem that keeps popping up and worsening year on year. Both sections are equally responsible in shaping the quality of engineers that pass out every year.

I firmly believe that every engineer can be the next Steve Jobs of Apple Inc. and Sam Walton of Wal-Mart provided they are given ample thinking space and guidance at the decision points during the course of their study and while looking out for internships and jobs  and follow their dreams rather than settling for compromises! Conceptual innovators are not Martians, but have a distinct flair of using their art to express ideas and emotions and usually do not lead their life pursuing a single objective. I believe innovation is a fine blend of technology and art and the education system on the whole should promote such cross-pollination of ideas across subjects and fields of study. The country’s engineers can be made into passionate technology evangelists and innovators of disruptive technologies, when they get to live in a culture that fosters innovation!

The thoughts and views expressed in the above post are not meant to target any individual, college, university or company. I have tried to be touch upon a common problem that is faced by thousands of engineering students. Please feel free to send me your feedback and comments.

This post is also available on Edulever blog at
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