What matters in college – Manipal The Talk Network (2023)

What matters in college – Manipal The Talk Network (1)

The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.

More often than not, we are born with extraordinary skills. Not all these skills involve being gifted with numbers, or having the ability to mug up a subject overnight. Sometimes, these might also come in the form of excellent skills in Marketing, Design, Communication, or Leadership. And I do not mean to lead you away from the hopes of being an engineer, because that is where I still am. Engineering. Placements. GPA.

They say these are the most important four years of your life. But they often forget that these are also the best four years of your life, the four years that you are never going to get back. These are the years during which, while struggling to maintain the balance between academics, finance and social life, you might one day stumble upon your true calling.

Some could make their hobbies their jobs, some, their jobs their hobbies. MTTN brings to you a compilation of people who successfully built their personalities in all entirety and also landed their dream job in the process.

Manipal, is defined by its diverse group of students. The varied culture & passion for life gives Manipal Institute of Technology its identity. The infrastructure, student projects and fairly strong alumni network, have helped Manipal prosper and maintain its unique identity. There is a desire amongst students to do everything bigger and better. The thought process is always distinctive and there is an ever existing aspiration to build for the future. Coming to Manipal and growing up as an individual from a teenager to a young adult with vibes focused on excellence, life experiences and a demanding lifestyle pushes you to test your limits and live on your toes, keeping you ever-ready for the harsh life that awaits you when you step out of college.

I pursued Mechanical & Manufacturing Engineering in Manipal. I had a direct interview with Mahindra & Mahindra and a job offer from the CEO of Tata Power Solar. Despite all the above factors, I took a bet on myself and joined a leading Data Analytics & Decision Sciences company. The reason being I wanted to be part of a growing and upcoming field with possible exponential rise in the near future. Add to the fact, the current gloomy state of Indian Automotive & Manufacturing sector, unrealistic policies (regarding the Solar sector) and sluggish projected growth rates of the sectors which offer job opportunities at Manipal, I felt nothing exciting was happening and desperately needed a change of scenery.

College for me was all about personality development and extra-curricular activities. As they say -”Born in India, brought up in Manipal”. This holds true in my case. What Manipal offered to me, mainly through the student projects, was an opportunity to do what I really wanted to do, As an undergraduate student, I met numerus industry officials, forged ties with several companies for “Industrial-Academic research and product development partnerships” and got an opportunity to test and enhance my soft skills. My responsibilities made me work alongside not just the administration of MIT but I interacted and worked with university officials on a daily basis. On an everyday basis, when your notes are not complete or you were caught sleeping in the class (Why? – because throughout the night you were testing your car) or have poor grades, your teachers may not recognize you or listen to your pleas. But, it is something special when Dr. Ranjan Pai, CEO & MD, MEMG sits in your vehicle and you take him on a spin showcasing you innovation. And you feel extra special when Mr. Gautam Pai, gifts you an expensive drone, which costs as much as your annual budget. You get rewarded on a different magnitude and your efforts are applauded by key university people. It feels great to be part of such activities that help the university get recognized. All such endeavors fill you with confidence and you know what you are capable of. I have had the CEO of Tata Power Solar handing me his visiting card and telling me that if I need a job, I can get in touch with him directly.

Not having an impressive CGPA and securing a job that had nothing to do with my undergrad in Mechanical Engineering, I think it is my co-curricular activities and experience that made me what I am, for which I was picked. The only role CGPA played in landing me my job was, well clearing the company cut-off. I have a low CGPA, though that did not matter to me a lot. Because my learnings outside the classroom had given me enough confidence heading into the placement semester and I had faith that in the end I’ll land a good job. You are discriminated solely on the basis CGPA by the college – be it during hostel room allotments or asking for a favor from your department. You are judged. And it seems it is the only criteria our administration and staff know about. And you can’t change that. Getting a good CGPA was never on my priority list and fortunately I was never under pressure from my parents as well. For me it was always – “learning is more important than knowing”. Also, as long as you can mug up the class notes before your exams, you’ll get decent grades. The only question is how badly you want to score? And the easiest way is to mug up the entire class-notes which a select few students of your class will prepare.

During the placements, everyone who clears the company cut-offs is treated pretty much equally. So ensure that you do the minimum and don’t let yourself have any backlogs.

I think college life is all about life experiences. And Manipal will not disappoint you in that. After all, the university is “Inspired by Life”. Get involved with student projects, various clubs and student chapters and our fests. Travel as much as you can in and around Manipal. And don’t forget to visit other institutes especially KMC and TAPMI during their fests and other special events. And at the end of four years you’ll have your best friends and memories to be cherished forever. Not something we like, but yeah, be regular to classes. Listen to the lectures, if not make notes. I never really took down notes but classroom study plays a crucial role which you realize only when you are in the middle of you sessional paper or the night before an end semester examination.”

Akshat Singh, Batch of 2016.

Akshat Singh has been a Team Manager for Solar Mobil and AEROMIT. He has evidently lived his college life to the fullest.

You can reach out to him on [emailprotected]

“This is one question that has been asked to me so many times since I’ve joined MIT that I have lost count of it. After talking to my friends who are studying in the “prestigious” engineering institutions of our country, this is the conclusion I’ve come to. The biggest edge that we have over students of other colleges is the level of exposure we get. MIT is an amalgamation of people from all walks of life. The club culture at MIT, which is one of the largest in any engineering institution, helps all these people come together giving each student an insight into how different mentalities function and how to make sure that these different thought processes are combined to produce amazing results. This quality enhances one’s team working capabilities which is essential in a practical work environment. Another thing that I have noticed is that the amount of attention MIT pays on academics is far more than most of the other colleges, be it in the form of regular testing, teaching materials or attendance criteria for that matter, making us more academically sound than other students. I think these are the two main qualities that helps us land better jobs. The sheer fact that we can work well on the front end as liaisons and representatives as well as on the back end as software developers and analysts. What makes me happy about coming to Manipal? I know it sounds extremely cliché but it is actually very difficult for me to put into words. Manipal has shaped my personality in so many ways and made me a better person. This place offers a feeling of belongingness to everyone who comes here, because no matter what kind of person you are, you will find a gang of friends who will embrace you for who you are. Through the plethora of extra-curricular activities that this place has to offer, it has given me a chance to hone my mere interests into a lifetime passion and inculcated in me important qualities like team work, organizational skills and taking criticism positively. All in all, I think Manipal has helped me grow as person intellectually and emotionally.

Irrespective of what your field is, the level of competition for engineers in the market today is exceptionally high. And what is to blame? It’s the simple fact that the demand for software engineers today is much lesser than the supply that our country provides in surplus. This means that the effort that you and I, as engineers passing out looking for jobs, put in has to be that many times more because our skill set needs to be better than that surplus out there.

The major role that MIT played in shaping my personality is by actually giving me so many opportunities in the form of the extra-curricular activities that it offers. I think the biggest lesson you learn from being a part of these different clubs or the organizing committee of a fest is the art of time management. I remember in my 2nd year, I was a part of Aaina Dramatics, MTTN and Google Students Team and also in the organizing committee of both Revels’14 and Tech Tatva’14. There were 2 months in this year where Aaina had a production coming up, MTTN wanted me to cover events, GST was organizing an event and the fests were at their peak time as well. These are the kind of times when you either give up and do nothing or actually make sure you fulfil the responsibilities entrusted in you. You need to divide the 24 hours that the Lord has blessed us with in just the right way to dedicate time to everything you’ve taken up with. This means that you tend to learn the tricks of doing things quicker and better.

My term in the Student Council also taught me how to work with different kinds of people, as the technique to extract work from every person varies. Not only does this running around instill the virtue of leadership within you, it also nurtures your self-confidence. Suppose tomorrow your boss tells you to come up with ideas for a campaign to promote a brand, your experiences during fest sponsorship drives can come in handy. Everything you do in your college extra-curriculars is going to help you in the future. For example, you helped organize something as small as a field trip for your class; without actually realizing it you’ve managed to experience in logistics – hunting for a venue, transportation, looking after the budget for expenses, and much more. This same knowledge can be applied in future when you might have to organize a conference at your workplace. Thanks to your prior experience, albeit on a smaller scale, things will be easier for you! Gradually developing a well-rounded personality is also very crucial. It helps you develop individualistic traits, get a positive approach, reduce stress and conflicts, inculcate positive behavioral traits like punctuality, willingness to learn, friendly nature and a helpful attitude and self-confidence. It helps you keep calm under pressure and find solution to the problem at hand.It helps you to learn to be polite and listen to what others are saying. Not only does it help you earn others’ respect, it also helps you become a good listener, which in turn helps you learn many new things from all those you are associated with in your day-to-day life. When a company comes to find new recruits, it definitely looks for people with technical expertise. But it also looks for people who possess a good set of soft skills. Our academics are enough to get us to par with level of technical knowledge needed but these extra-curricular activities are what give you the edge of soft skills over other candidates for the job. You strike that perfect balance, and there is no stopping you from getting your dream job.

As far as placements go, your CGPA needs to satisfy two criteria. Firstly, it should be enough to clear the cutoff criteria for all companies. This cutoff can range from as low as 6.5 to as high as 8.5. Secondly, it should look good on your resume. So according to me, a CGPA above 8.5 is good enough. How much it varies above that does not make much of a difference. For companies with a low cutoff, a constant question thrown at students with CGPA in the lower bracket is the reason for the same which is extremely difficult to justify so it is better to avoid the situation all together. Also, try to avoid a sudden plummet of your GPA in a semester as well as that raises questions among recruiters as well. Try to keep your GPA graph as consistent as possible.

Firstly, pay attention in class. It sounds extremely nerdy but trust me, it saves you a lot of studying before sessionals. I know there must be some subjects where it seems impossible, but try doing it in as many subjects as possible. You’ll see a tremendous difference. This was my key to managing both my academics and my extra-curriculars. Secondly, learn to prioritize. Prioritize your studies when that is needed and prioritize your club activities when they need you. As far as placements go, we are all lucky enough to have a good 2 month break before the placement season starts. Coders, brush up your coding concepts and skills. Non-coders, learn coding. It is the bitter truth that most companies today are looking for basic coding skills irrespective of your branch.

Other than that, be confident in your group discussions and personal interviews. That is all that matters. As long as you have the perfect balance of technical and soft skills, a placement for you is assured. Also, never shy away from taking help from your seniors whenever you need it. You will not get a more accurate and honest opinion from anyone else. Lastly, joining multiple clubs is a wonderful thing if you’re trying to find your interest. But don’t ever bite off more than you can chew. It can really take a toll on you. Find 1 or 2 clubs you’re actually interested in and work for them with full dedication. College is a beautiful experience as it is. Extra curriculars just add that extra learning curve to it. Enjoy it while it lasts.”

Ipshita Gupta, Batch of 2016

Ipshita Gupta has served her term as General Secretary in the Student Council. Besides, she was a part of AAINA DRAMATICS and a former editor at MTTN. Recently placed at Microsoft, she’s extremely affable, and can be reached out on


“Manipal is place like no other, and with students from across the country and cultures, one gets to meet a lot of different people-each one with their own understanding of fun and enjoyment. Manipal is a place where no one judges you, “to each his/her own” and the degree of freedom and safety that I don’t think is present in any other college. Coming to Manipal is/was hands down the best decision of my life. As far as getting good jobs is concerned, after the 4 years of unending fun, it is the exposure that we as students get at Manipal, be it handling college fests to club activities or even clubbing with a variety of people. The people here are out-spoken and that is what gets us to where we want to be along with decent academics. When I think about Manipal, I feel happy.

With respect to my field (Graphic Design), when you look at the world stage there is a lot of competition with designers creating something beautiful every moment, but in India, currently there is boom in demand for designers and illustrators. Loads of startups are sprouting upevery day, each with a unique idea and future, all with a hunger for designers. Added to it engineers who are designers are more sought after as these are the people who know the time crunch.

It’s in first year when we don’t have idea about what we would like to be a part of and end up joining a huge number of clubs. I was decent with Photoshop (that does not mean designing), drawing, public speaking and acting when I joined college. At that time there used to a Category called the Media Team during the fests and I happened to volunteer for that. That’s where I met the most amazing seniors who led me to more amazing people. I worked as an illustrator for the team. There was a TEDx Manipal event too that TechTatva, and I ended up making the introduction video for it. With such an exposure in the 1st semester itself, I was inspired to learn and do more. Then I ended up joining Aaina and IECSE. Joining Aaina and performing streetplays gave me a boost in confidence. Aaina is a family, where people greet each other by hugging every time we meet.Practicingday and night with such wonderful people makes one wonderful too. That feeling after we win any play is priceless. At IECSE I was encouraged to make posters and other graphics which I got good at with time. Taking a number of workshops and teaching people design helped me a lot at making me what I am. That feeling when you see a group of people eager to learn is what I found at IECSE, and to be a part of it is what makes me happy. Also I remember the short film making competition we won last Revels. All of these activities helped me in some way or other to get to where I am and making the perfect portfolio for getting what I wanted.

My GPA did not affect my placement. That’s only because the company didn’t care about GPA, but about skills. This is true these days for most of the companies. Not that I would suggest people not to worry about GPA. It’s a balance between what you love and what you’ve to do to get to where you want to be that you’ve to maintain. Schedule your priorities and thenprioritizeyour schedule. Having a decent GPA will take off the load of your back so that you’ve time to do what you love. To all those wanting to know, my CGPA had always been between 6.5-7.0. If you are good at what you do, you should try to become the best.

Designing comes to me as an extension of myself. Coming to personal experience, during my 3rd semester’s end semester examinations, I happened to redesign the Facebook app UI because that’s when creativity is at its peak. I posted the design online for people to see so that I could get some feedback. Later that night I received an email from a designer in Germany that he really liked my design, followed by a few emails from people all around. When I enquiredas to where did they see my design, I was surprised to know that a famous German tech news website had published an article on my design! And that’s when I realized that just by doing what we love we can get to places we’ve not even thought of, it’s just the balance that one needs to find between what you love to do and what you need to do. For those interested in designing, I’ll just say that find time and do what you like to, it’s only by practising and giving time that you’ll become good at it. I know a lot of people who have achieved a lot just by continuing to try and try. For any help, I can be contacted on Facebook or mail.

Neelank Sachan, Batch of 2016

Neelank Sachan has been a part of IECSE, AAINA and has carved a niche with his extraordinary skills in Graphic Design. Currently he is associated with a startup called Cleartax.in and can be reached out on


If you want to make your hobby your profession, look out for him!

“We cry about it a lot (and for the right reasons, read ION), but I’ve seen people’s jaws drop to the floor when I casually tell them about Manipal’s infrastructure. And even though we live in perpetual gloom during the odd sem, there are other perks no one else can boast of! The location (proximity to the Arabian sea and Agumbe) and the fact that we get to live in a university town, with the majority of the population from the same age-group. All these things give Manipal a unique culture. Thus, the coolest asset that you can find here are the people. Interacting with people from all parts of the country teaches you a lot and opens you up to accept all cultures. This leads to an overall development of your personality and sets the foundation for your professional life. You tend to be more confident and out-going compared to people from other places. I’ve found these traits quite common among Manipal alumni! This is what makes me happy about coming to Manipal and getting a chance to be friends with and learn from those around me. If you want to pursue things on your own, the sheer number of people increases the probability of running into someone you can start projects with. A lot of my friends ran into their co-founders in Manipal and are now doing great things at places such as Fracktal Works and Gyan Lab.

Speaking from my awareness of STEM, competition today is ubiquitous. This is due to the sheer amount of qualified candidates. I’ve observed this on both sides of the industry. Be it the enterprise side (at VMware) or the start-up side (at Shippable). Don’t be intimidated! There are ways to safe-guard yourself and stand-out. You should try and intern at companies in the summers. That makes you aware of how things are done in the real-world. The experience also gives you content to speak about in interviews! If you end up at an enterprise company, try your best to switch to a team working on a high-impact project. Get your manager to sign you up for company trainings. Look out and search for opportunities to contribute around you! If you want to work for a start-up, you’ll need to start taking initiative. Keep up with latest trends in tech and be aware of the business aspect of things as well.

One of the most important thing will be your network. Maintain contact with your college seniors and never be afraid to cold-email them when the need arises!

The greatest thing about Manipal is the diversity. You could be into anything obscure, yet you’d find someone to share your interest with! The biggest influence on my personality were the people I met while working with MAFIA, Ed Board and being the Category Head of Finance (Revels). Some who still continue to inspire me and some of the type I have learned to stay away from.

Extra curriculars have more of an effect on how you perceive things, and how well you can communicate and get along with people. They give you a chance to face scenarios you wouldn’t normally be in. This way they don’t directly affect where you land but they do influence your personality. This matters in the long run and sets the foundation of your future-self.

Plus, college is the only time when all things are in perfect alignment. The people, the atmosphere and the activities. When the festivals arrive, it is comfortable to nap back in the hostels but working with a club on an event is going to teach you a lot of things you wouldn’t get a chance to learn any other way!

I’ll be blunt with this one. GPA matters. A lot. When companies visit the campus for recruitment, they place a cut-off for candidates. If your GPA meets the criterion, you get to appear for their placement process. With a great GPA (> 8.5), you’ll have the luxury to appear for almost all of them. Even more important, if you want to pursue your Master’s from a good school, a great GPA will take you places.

But everyone with a not-so-great GPA (which would have included yours truly), don’t despair! Most of the companies (CS/IT) usually have a cut-off around 7.5, so you might miss out on a few companies but you will get a shot at most of them.

I went through the same during my placement season. There were a couple of great companies I wanted to appear for (I remember Cisco being one of them) but couldn’t. I did interview with other companies that season before getting an internship offer from VMware.

This system sucks, I know. But recruiters aim at minimizing their risk and you can’t blame them for that. This is only going to affect the initial couple of years in the candidate’s career! Everything after that would be determined by your experience and skills. If you want to bypass all of this and want to pursue opportunities on your own, there hasn’t been a better time. With the start-up scene blooming in the country, there are a ton of awesome companies looking for people. These are the places who wouldn’t care about your GPA.

This is what I wish I had known in college.

Focus on building skills, work on side projects, go to hackathons, hangout at Linux Users Group meetings. Your projects do not have to be ultra-sophisticated systems. What matters is getting your hands dirty and exposing yourself to the technologies out there. Even a simple project that you pursue on your own will put you a cut above the rest.

I say this from personal experience and from observing everyone around me. If you have a dynamic personality, at some point during the four years you’re going to hit an all-time low. It could be with anything. Academics, placements, friends. But you should know that everything will eventually be okay. It’s easier said than done but you should learn as much as you can from it and know that this experience will change you for the better.

I appeared for more than half a dozen companies before I could get an offer. Once you’re two years into the industry you realize how trivial everything was. But when you’re in the moment and everyone around is secure with offers, it affects you a lot! Couple this with the fact that it’s the 7th semester and your college life is coming to an end, you get a rather strong cocktail of some intense emotions.

On a lighter note, I’d advise you to immerse yourself in your interests and hobbies. There won’t be a better time than this! I love metal and found friends in the scene who shared similar interests. This was a big part of my college life and my taste in music evolved tenfold!

For people looking forward to follow their hobbies, I’d like to tell you about two of my friends who followed their interests and changed their streams. Madhur (https://www.facebook.com/TeZuk4) was one of the best guitarists Manipal has ever seen and is now pursuing his Master’s in Music Technology from the University of Miami. Ananth ( http://www.ananthpai.com/ ), while in the middle of his Mechatronics course, found a penchant for design and was involved in a design start-up called Poster Anna. He’s now pursuing his Master’s in Information Design at NID, Bangalore.

You should definitely pester these guys if you need specific advice on following your interests!

Our college provides a journey like no other. In today’s day and age, it’s not enough to score marks and finish a few courses. You need all round development, which Manipal provides, through a perfect balance of academics, extra-curricular and co-curricular activities, interaction with like-minded individuals from all over the country, and the world, and the freedom to decide how you want to shape your future. This overall development helps students from our college to stand out wherever they go. This, coupled with hard work and sheer determination, makes any Manipalite excel in his/her field. Coming to Manipal was a life changing experience, in an extremely positive and fruitful way. The learning has been endless, the experiences have been enduring, and the journey could not have been better.

The market is full of opportunities. India has seen exponential growth in the software industry over the past two decades, and the numbers of jobs are still growing. Companies like Uber are setting up new offices in India. Companies like Amazon, Microsoft, InMobi, Google are hiring more developers than ever before, with salaries higher than ever. So while the market is growing, there is a lot of focus of competency and overall development, since every company would like the best students/developers to join them. If you’re sound with your basics and have a well-rounded profile, then you will definitely get your opportunities.”

Pranay Pareek, Batch of 2014.

A fan of Death (RIP Chuck Schuldiner) and a lover of life, Pranay Pareekcurrently works as a Software Engineer at Shippable (Sep 2014 – Current) and has interned at VMware (Jan 2014 – July 2014).When he’s not busy working, or playing the drums, guitar or the bass,Pranay loves to spend his time reading.

Head over to http://pranay.xyz/orhttps://www.quora.com/profile/Pranay-Pareekorhttps://twitter.com/PranayPareekand say hi to him on our behalf!

“Manipal never fails to surprise you. I was put in various situations throughout the 3.5 years I spent here, both good and bad. Staying on my own, at a new place, for the first time really taught me a lot. My interactions with my peers and seniors at every stage went a long way into shaping my journey here at Manipal. Myfriendsand family are mysupport system. They tell me what I need to hear, not what I want to hear and they are there for me in the good and bad times. I was always interested in coding, and wanted to gain some first-hand management experience as well, so IEEE was a natural choice. I was a member of the Technical Resource Team as well as the Administrative body, and both groups, in their own different ways, taught me a lot, helping enhance my technical and managerial prowess. I also got a chance to be one of the heads of IEEE Student Branch Manipal, whilst representing IEEE Manipal in the IEEE Bangalore Section; this gave me invaluable management experience and exposure.

In my case, GPA did not affect much. It affected my selection for the internship at Amazon to a small extent, but my PPO depended only on my performance during my internship period. However, GPA is important, even though it isn’t the last word to campus placements. Companies do give importance to GPA in the initial rounds, but further into the final interviews, your concepts, knowledge and soft skills which get you over the line. It isn’t the end of the world if your GPA is bad. Neither are you guaranteed a good placement if you have a stellar GPA.

“Choose to have it all, and then make intelligent decisions to make it viable.” This means that you can have it all, the stellar GPA, the social life, and enough sleep. All you need to do is to prioritize everything and stick to your priorities. In addition, you’ll face a lot of ups and downs throughout the time you’re here. Make the most of it, work smart, and NEVER give up. And remember, you’ll never experience this again.”

Raunak Manjani, Batch of 2016.

An excellent student, Raunak Manjani has brought laurels to the college with his skills. From being IEEE Collaboration Platform Lead at the IEEE Bangalore Section, to being able to keep his grades soaring every semester, he has been able to manage it all. He has landed a Pre Placement Offer at the much coveted Amazon. He can be reached out on


This is just the tip of the iceberg. Indeed there are innumerable seniors who have perfected the balance between academics and extra curriculars and are ecstatic about the opportunities life has opened up for them. MTTN acknowledges the above-mentioned people who have been so forthcoming in providing the juniors with an insight into the real world and wishes everyone of them all the best in their future endeavors.

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