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In Conversation With Nalin Das

In this era of competition, education is everything. Those who get to acquire their desired education are happy but lucky are those who get it from their dream institutions. Taking admission in your dream university overseas is itself an accomplishment to embrace. Today, in this blog we will make you familiar with one such lucky boy of India who not only got admitted in one of the leading University for World but also is pursuing his interest there.

Mr. Nalin Das comes from an Indian family,  carrying infinite stars of his humongous dreams in his eyes, is now studying at the University of Maryland.  He was intelligent but mischievous yet was sensitive about his aim and ambition. He is highly interested in Robotics since childhood and now doing the same course in Maryland. His hard work and determination truly justify his achievement. Good college and plenty of ambition not only makes the future bright but also transforms the person to be the best version of him. Talking to Nalin shows it all. He’s a man of motivating vibes, he’s humble and down to earth.

You will get your many doubts cleared about the Masters study, course details, important exams and what vision you should carry towards your studies as a student. Let’s begin with that-

How did you opt for pursuing an MS, in the face of the multitude of options available such as MBA, GATE or any other choice? At what stage of your undergraduate study you decide on doing an MS?  

I feel for me the reason to pursue a Master’s degree was primarily to upgrade my skill set and better align my interests with it. MBA was not in my bucket list then, because I wanted to first have expertise in my technical knowledge, and then decide on an MBA or PhD. Why not GATE then? I wanted to pursue my Master’s abroad because the scope for Robotics research and development in the US is better.

I decided to pursue an MS in my first year of Bachelors itself.

What was the thought process while shortlisting universities for the purpose of sending your application?  

I had the following criterions in mind while shortlisting:

The first and foremost criteria was University QS Ranking. Not only this but University QS Subject Ranking is also an important factor! The location of the university was my next go to factor! It is directly related to the living and tution expenditure. One of the main criterai is also the research labs the uiversity has and the current ongoing research going in the university! The professors of the university have to be definetly looked upon. Then i was concerned about the employment oppurtuinities! For this do go through the list of recruiting companies for past students. The last factor that was in mind was the infrastructure and facilities that was in the university! Also, the f=general reputation of the university is not something to be overlooked upon!

Which universities did you apply to and from which universities did you receive admits?  

I applied to the following universities:

The University of Michigan, University of Pennsylvania, Carnegie Mellon University, New York University, Northeastern University, University of Maryland, College Park and Boston University

I got admits from Northeastern University and the University of Maryland.

How did you build your profile to suit the requirements of the University?  

These are some of the ways I build up my profile:

You should always try to do the relevant minor and major projects. I especially focused to do them related to robotics as much as possible. I even worked for the college robotics team in the electronics domain. Then i did an internship at an EdTech Startup and also published my own Udemy Course. Anwhere you go you are definetly in need of LOR’S. I tried gettting my hands on few excellent LOR’S. THough CGPA is not a main factor but you should definitely maintain a decent CGPA. Also I focused on certification programming courses from NPTEL!

Which branch will you be graduating in from this University?  

I am pursuing my Masters in Robotics.

How did you receive the required guidance for GRE and TOEFL? When did you write each of these exams? Which sources did you use for the preparation of these exams?  

I used online resources for GRE and TOEFL preparation. The sources I used for each of these are –>

GRE: 1. ETS GRE Official Quantitative and Verbal Guide 2. Magoosh GRE 6 month online course 3. Manhattan 5lb

TOEFL: 1. ETS Official TOEFL Guide 2. Magoosh Online Toefl Sample Tests

How did you get the necessary recommendations from the professors involved in your LORs?  

Getting LOR’s from my professors was relatively smooth. The professors were really helpful in giving me the recommendations. The first professor was my Minor Project guide. The second professor was my Major Project guide. The third professor was from my two courses in the third and seventh semester. This really helped my professors to closely evaluate me and give an honest opinion about my performance.

Which factors did you consider while choosing the University of Maryland from the university you had got admit from?  

The factors I considered while choosing UMD were: 1. Robotics Program Ranking – Top 20 2. Professors best of the best – working for US Army Research Lab, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory and other reputed organizations 3. Maryland Robotics Center, among the best in the country. 4. Feedback from Seniors about Course Rigour, Employment Opportunities, the knowledge gained etc. 5. UMD General Reputation and Perception in academia and alumnus. 6. Funding by top organizations like Lockheed Martin.

What were the strong points of your SOP, in your opinion, and what was your CGPA before applying? 

The strong point in my SOP was the structure and articulation of my experiences and projects. Working with my College Robotics Team and decent projects in my field of interest were the highlights. My CGPA was 7.8.

Why did you choose to obtain an MS degree directly instead of obtaining some job experience beforehand? 

I felt that I had enough practical experience and projects in my profile to go for an MS.

One last technical question, What was your score in both GRE and TOEFL?  

GRE- 317, TOEFL- 103

Any message that you would like to pass on to the readers?  

The application process might be a little intimidating and overwhelming. I totally get it. I have been there, done that. Do not worry. Go step by step – take help of seniors, make sure you get your SOP’S proofread by professionals (Very Important), work hard throughout the year to maintain a strong GPA, do some good relevant projects and extracurricular activities and prepare for GRE and TOEFL meticulously. Don’t fear rejections. Be ambitious. At least you tried, you won’t have any regret. And who knows, you might graduate a few years later from your dream school 🙂

All the best!

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