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Post-Graduation Series : An Interview with Bhuvanesh

Interviewer: Abiramashree

Interviewee: Mr. Bhuvanesh

Course: Masters in Computer Science, Georgia Tech.


GT: How did you prepare yourself for the internship, and how would you describe your internship experience? 


Bhuvanesh: Companies will see whether you are a capable candidate to start working on real-life problems. You have to be an individual who has coding knowledge and can think and answer the questions at any point in time. It is also helpful to be familiar with fundamental Computer Science concepts like Big O and time and space complexity. 

Speaking of experience, you tend to work on production apps that have an actual impact on people. Students thus get a different experience during internships. One should have a clear mind and be able enough to handle whatever is thrown at you as work daily. Talk with the mentor and understand their expectations and deliver it. Interacting with the bigger team is a great experience. Focusing on production or tools is fine, but in the end, it is all about getting hands-on experience and knowing how the industry is and whether you like the team, the technologies they work with and obtaining an insight outside of academics.


GT: You were a Research Assistant at Georgia Tech. How did you get that opportunity? What efforts should students put in to get into such work?


Bhuvanesh: There are two types of people:

1. Graduate Research Assistant

2. Graduate Teaching Assistant.


A Teaching Assistant mainly focuses on helping undergraduate students, while a Research Assistant focuses on helping professors with research projects. It is always about approaching professors and talking to them about your interest. If your interest aligns with theirs, they will be able to offer you an opportunity.


A postgraduate degree is where people consider specializations. Before that, you should research the labs and professors working on the projects. Once you get familiarized with the professor's top research topics, you can automatically reach out to the office to see if the professors require people. I reached out to a professor outside my department to see if he could help me out. Sometimes cross-departmental works would help you understand how other areas work and expand your knowledge on concepts outside your course.


GT: Is data science specialization and machine learning areas a wise path to choose?


Bhuvanesh: In our times, most companies have a data science team dedicated to understanding how their customers use their products. They also look into the kind of information you can retrieve from it. Machine Learning is a tool to get information out of your data. There will always be a need for understanding how data is used in the real world. It is a great field to go into, but I suggest that one explores multiple areas before looking into data science. I recommend that you do a small project under the professor during undergrad, which will help you understand what you are dealing with. Students need to understand what is the core and what is the purpose. Everything is there for a purpose; to solve something. If you can grasp that, then it is satisfactory.


GT: How are the companies welcoming data scientists?


Bhuvanesh: Companies always look out for talents no matter what specialization they are in. If it aligns with their vision, they will be able to give you a warm hand.

However, it also depends on their business perspectives. Do they want this? Are they willing to put in resources to go in that area? I recommend going against the brief descriptions or what people say online. It is better to get hands-on experience in your domains of interest while in undergrad. That way, you will know whether you want to pursue it or not.

You can then pursue a master's in that area by coming to the US or going to the IITs.


GT: What interested you to learn Japanese?


Bhuvanesh: During my undergrad days, we had the International Art for students in our college, which has regular classes for Japanese and German. I was elated when I chose Japanese because I realized how close languages are. Korean, Japanese and Tamil are similar in grammar and greetings. 


GT: Tell us about your work environment in the US.


Bhuvanesh: Concerning the work environment, it is pretty chill. Again, it depends upon the company and the team you work with, but for the most part, all they care about is whether you get the job done or not, so it is not like they will try to check if you are working 5 to 8 hours. From a team perspective, people are very welcoming. They see people beyond culture. It is a good environment where you have people from different countries trying to help the team to get the product done. For students, it is going to be pleasant. Nothing is daunting about that. They can comfortably build their career.


GT: Tell us how we can get a career in America?


Bhuvanesh: There are two options. One has to take the GRE and come to an engineering school, or they have to do a GMAT and come to a business school. 

For undergrads, in the application process for the GRE and TOEFL exams, your statement of purpose and the recommendation letters are crucial.

  • You will be required to take your GRE exams and get a good score.

  • Statement of purpose explains why you are doing your masters and what motivates you. It is how they judge who you are and what you want to do, whether this candidate is fit for the college and has the motivation to tackle the course, etc.

  • Recommendations from your professors also play a major role. Most universities either want two or three recommendations from professors. What matters is who provides the recommendation letter and what they say about the candidate. Here, the professors do not judge the candidate just by the numbers but based on what people say about them. These letters play a more important part than the entrance exams. 

I would recommend applying for at least six universities in the following method: 

  • Apply for two ambitious universities based on your GRE score. 

  • Looking at your profile, choose two medium-level schools in which you have a 50-50 chance. 

  • Lastly, apply for two universities you are sure to get into. 

This way, you can maximize the probability of getting at least one university. This process should usually be between December and January timeframe. By March or April, the results will be out, after which the university will guide you. Usually, it involves getting your documents, visa and tickets booking. 


GT: What will impress the company in the hiring process?


Bhuvanesh: Companies will get candidates based on multiple metrics, namely: your skill level, which area you are interviewing for, what kind of attitude you have and whether you are curious enough. Another major factor they assess you on is your independent thinking skills. They also evaluate the way you solve problems. They check whether you dive right into them or ask questions and clarify doubts and then solve based on other inputs.

However, even if you do all the things right, you need to be prepared to solve the problem that they are giving you. Problem-solving, the right attitude, curious nature, and the ability to accept no as an answer are some important requirements.


GT: What do you think about the PG series?


Bhuvanesh: I feel that the PG Series will be an eye-opener for those who never thought of pursuing masters abroad. Hopefully, this series creates more awareness of what options the students have after their undergraduate studies and how to pursue them. I encourage GT to conduct the interviews across multiple fields and domains.