Exchange Diaries  

By International Relations Cell

Outbound Diaries 2020

Azwar Abdulsalam | Electronics and Electrical Communication Engg.

EPFL, Switzerland

Research Area: Gallium-Nitride Power Devices

From where did you get the motivation for the FT? How did it all start?

I developed an interest in semiconductor devices through a course in my third semester. After that, I approached Prof. Gourab Datta from our department, who was also working in a similar field. We worked together on a project for around 6-7 months and even got a research paper published. After that, I started looking for options abroad to get more hands-on experience. While going through the options, I came to know about the E3(Excellence in Engineering) Program offered by EPFL Switzerland. I applied through the program and got selected.

How did you handle the academics along with your preparations?

Handling academics wasn’t such a big task. As I was quite interested in the project, and it also had a few similarities with my courses, it was never a burden as such for me.

What do you think is the role of CG while applying for an FT?

In my opinion, CG helps you only to a certain extent. In my case, I got selected in a highly competitive program (success rate < 2%) without having that high a CGPA. If you can do a good project, spend considerable time researching and consuming the related literature and can get your work published, I don’t think anything can beat that.

How did the university manage everything amidst the confusion of COVID-19?

Initially, we got a mail saying that our training stood cancelled. I then got in touch with the Prof. under whom I was supposed to work. He got back to me saying that there is an opening, but the work was mostly simulation and analytics rather than original experimental projects. Luckily, I had some prior experience in the field, and the Professor also was satisfied with my abilities.

How was a typical day’s work like during the training period? Did you face any issues?

Each student was assigned one of the PhD or Postdoctoral Assistants who all worked under the professor. We were given specific simulation tasks, and we had to do them in a stipulated time. Once or twice a week, we had a one-to-one interaction with our guides. There were no issues as such during the training period, and it went on quite smoothly.

Any advice you would like to give to fellow KGPians who want to go for an FT?
My only advice will be not to give up even if you have a low CG. You should try and identify your interests, try to do a project in the same field and try to gain a concrete output of your research, be it in the form of a research paper or a working solution to the problem that you were trying to solve initially. Also, try and work on one or a maximum of two projects simultaneously rather than getting your hands in 6 or 7 different fields at the same time.