Research Area: Robotics
Duration: 3 Months
1: Which university did you go for your FT?
Rishiraj- I went to the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology during June and July.
2. What was your research area?
Rishiraj- I worked for two months on Leg design optimization for minimal control of robots which falls under the broader category of Mechanical Design or Robotics.
3. Why do you think an FT is important? What should a student prefer a Corporate Internships or an FT?
Rishiraj- This comes down to where the person is interested. If he is genuinely interested in research, I think he should prefer going for an FT. This holds good even if he is interested in research in the corporate world and not in academics. Doing research in itself has a different trajectory than a corporate job. So everything comes down to the person thinking where he wishes to see himself after he graduates and then figuring out whether to go for a corporate internship or an FT. In my case, I was always fantasized about research so I preferred an FT.
4. How did you apply for an FT?
Rishiraj- I approached the professor through personal mailing which I started in November last year. I had to send around 30-40 emails before finalizing Technion. I wanted to work on a specific area where I have an interest and I thought that I had experience in it so I tried to apply only to professors who worked in this broader area. I am currently working on a project on Robotics Locomotion here in KGP so this helped me in finding my interest and finally applying for the FT on the same topic.
5. How did you manage your funds?
Rishiraj- The professor himself gave me funding. I was given around 1500 USD to cover everything. For me, it covered my stay and a part of my travel. Some part of my travel, I had to pay for myself.
6. What do you think is the role of a CG in FT?
Rishiraj- CG is going to be more important for applying through programs like DAAD, Mitacs than they are for individual professors because professors generally look for the work you have done and your capabilities to figure out how much you can contribute to that work so they won’t really care too much of your CG. But when you are applying to programs like Mitacs then CG plays a crucial role since they have so many applicants that the first round of shortlisting is CG. So CG matters more in case of programs than for individual professors. I am sure it matters to an extent but not much because they don’t really know how to judge a CG in KGP as compared to their grading system.
7. How was your stay in Israel?
Rishiraj- In Israel, things are much more organised and rule-bound as compared to India. There is also a language barrier because most people there don’t speak English and also the signboards are also in their native language. So that takes some adjusting too. Apart from that, most people are really helpful and the climate is also very suitable for me. The place where I stayed (Haifa) is close to the sea so it was neither too hot or cold.
8. How was your weekly schedule? How many hours of dedication did the professor want from you?
Rishiraj:- Generally, there was no prescription of the number of hours. More often they just gave me an assignment and gave me a rough deadline for completing the assignment. After that How much time I spent in the lab was totally dependent on me because I had complete access to the lab with the keys so I could go whenever I wished to. Most of the time I usually worked every day for about 4-5 hours.
9. What would you suggest your fellow KGPians about going on an FT?
Rishiraj- I would suggest everyone to build up expertise in a particular field. If you go through some recent publications in that field, you would get a general idea of what kind of things you need to know in order to be able to work in that field. So that you can build that up and add them to your CV. In my case, the stuff that I needed to know, that is Control Systems, is not taught up to the third year in the department. The earlier you know the subjects you need to know the more you will be able to fill out your CV and make a good profile which would convince the professor that you are a worthy bet.