Exchange Diaries  

By International Relations Cell

Outbound Diaries 2020

Astha jakher | Humanities and Social Sciences

Tsinghua University, China

Research Area: Economic Analysis and Sentiment Analysis of the market

1) What was your research topic? What was your project about?
My project was primarily based on Economic Analysis and Sentiment Analysis of the market. It was a domain specific market analysis. It was supposed to be my summer internship but my professor wanted me to start work by february itself because we were aiming for a journal paper. So, I started working from february remotely along with my classes running simultaneously. I was supposed to visit Beijing in May, but my FTP got converted into a remote FTP due to Covid-19 Pandemic.

2) How did you apply for FTP? When did this process start?
I wanted to do an FTP in the field of econometrics, operations research. I started looking out for professors working in similar fields. I did not want my projects to be research based because I wanted my domain to be largely specific. I wanted more specialized economic-centric projects. So, I started this process around december. I did not have a lot of luck in the beginning. But in the end, I matched with my professor at Tsingshua University.

3) Why do you think FTP is important?
Firstly, if you want to go for research, the people you work with is the most important thing. However a lot of people who are really doing well in your field might not exactly be in your country. In my case, Tsingshua University’s operations research department was exceptionally good. So, that is something which you might not get in your country. Secondly, if you are going to a country having good universities, you have an opportunity of accessing a tremendously good amount of professors, students, laboratories. You get to understand their work culture which is really helpful.

4) What is the role of CGPA for getting selected?
If you are applying for research programmes, your CGPA does matter. If you aren’t applying for research programmes and you are looking for professors, the work that you’ve done matters a lot more. I do not have a 9+ CG, but the work that I’ve done helped me to get selected. On the other hand, if you have an exceptional CG, it compensates for the lack of experience or projects in that field.

5) As you did a remote FTP, which platform was used for communication between you and your university?
My professor and I used to have Skype calls. We tried Zoom as well, but it was mostly Skype.

6) Did you face any difficulties during the entire process?
Not as much as I had expected. In the last week of my internship, I was writing a research paper. It was my first experience and I made a lot of mistakes. So, that made my professor and me meet everyday for corrections. Secondly, at one point of my internship, I had a model-misspecification. So, I had to change the entire model. A lot of communication problems happen when you do a project remotely.

7) Did you have to incur any significant expenses?
No, I didn’t have any expenses as it was a remote FTP. Besides, my stipend was really good.

8) What advice would you like to give to our fellow KGPians who aspire for FTP?
I would say you should try for FTP if you like a certain field even if you are not the kind of a person who wants to go into research. The amount of exposure it gives you in terms of working with brilliant people, in terms of adventures that come in your way is tremendous. Secondly, if you want to go for research, it's really helpful. Lastly, do not get disheartened if you are not getting approved by professors. If you are mailing them individually, it is not very likely that you might get very promising replies initially. But, if you apply consistently, remain fixed to it, it’s really going to be helpful.