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Words of wisdom from an IIT gold medallist
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September 03, 2007

Do you know what it takes to achieve academic glory?

Is it merely god-given talent? Or does it require hard work and dedication?  

According to Shreerang Chhatre, this year's winner of the Institute Gold Medal at IIT-Bombay, it takes a combination of both along with the ability to learn from failure.

Headed to MIT for his PhD this autumn, Shreerang chatted with Get Ahead readers on August 17 and shared some of his wisdom.

For those of you who missed the chat, here's part one of the transcript:

HAllo asked, Hi.. Shreerang..First of all congrats for your achievement... we are proud of you!! Shreerang..If you had to choose between family commitment and Professional commitment what will you choose???

Shreerang Chhatre answers, 
Thanks a lot. See, for a balanced growth of a person, both are equally important. So you cannot choose one over the other in general. You have to look at it case by case, by analysing its importance on your future life

Kaushik Sengupta asked, Conratulations. I am this year's Prime Minister gold medalist from IIT Kharagpur. Where are you joining

Shreerang Chhatre answers, 
That's nice. Congratulations. I am joining MIT for PhD, what about you?

shweta asked, i am studying in XII can i get into IIt if i start now

Shreerang Chhatre answers, 
Sure, why not? I have seen many friends doing that. But remember, now you get only one attempt after your 12th standard for IITJEE. So you still have about 1.75 years at hand, you can easily manage JEE within that time.

m asked, hi,how many hours per day, you have studied?

Shreerang Chhatre answers, 
For JEE, I think three to four hours every day, apart from school and homework. But in my case, it was not a rule as such. The duration depended on the topic at hand and many other factors. See the duration of study is not very important; what matters is the quality of your preparation.

lakshmi asked, Since u r from IIT... u guys will be getting good salaries.... no doubt... earn for some time and do something for the country....See the roads, the pollution, the traffic, the poor people across the country............. try to change everything... throw away those corrupt polititions...... one day my dream will become true...

Shreerang Chhatre answers, 
You are right. The IITs were setup with this objective in mind. So that the engineers and scientists help the nation's growth by applying their technical skills. I guess every individual has to set a goal, choose a sector where he can bring about a difference. I have chosen "energy" as my domain, so I will be working on that.

Jhumpachika asked, Did u ever have any suicidal tendencies whilst studying at IIT??....IITians are getting more notorious by the years for throwing away their lives...which are precious....for that matter, any life is!! ;)

Shreerang Chhatre answers, 
I really appreciate your thoughts. The stories of suicides in IITs are really discouraging. I guess ending one's life or running away from the problem can never be a solution to any issue.

hash asked, congrats shreerang, so you are planning to join MIT for PHD...what r ur future plans after your PHD ? Are you planning to be an entrepreneur?

Shreerang Chhatre answers, 
Thank you. Yes, I have some ideas about it, but I need to get proper exposure and insight first, before jumping in with a business venture. But in the long term, yes, its my dream.

Unknown asked, Will u return back to INDIA after further studies?

Shreerang Chhatre answers, 
I will surely return Mr Unknown!

ashish asked, what are your further plans ? were you an UG student? as you have written that you are going to MIT for Phd. What will you do after that a R&D job aur a prof. If a prof will you like to join indian univ like IIT if yes why and if no same again

Shreerang Chhatre answers, 
I was an UG student. I completed my B Tech and M Tech (dual degree) from IITB. At this time, I am thinking more towards R&D rather than academics. But I will be able to finalise it after a couple of years into my PhD, when I get a true flavour of research.

vasudev asked, hearty congrats shreerang. how one can aspire for IIT-JEE, suppose upto X class he learn in regional language and immediately XI onwards in English

Shreerang Chhatre answers, 
It's nice that you raised this issue. See, I did my schooling from a Marathi medium school, and that had no undesirable impact on my further studies or my ability to understand the subject. Transition in the medium of instruction can be painful, but the problem can be overcome easily. Another thing is that you can appear for JEE in Hindi medium also.

kunal asked, how r d iit papers exactly? are there a lot of calculations involved or r they based on formulae or entirely on concepts?

Shreerang Chhatre answers, 
It varies from subject to subject. It is generally numerical, where they test your concepts. Even if they are formula based, some understanding is tested.

 Part II: Tomorrow

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