IIT Madras Toppers Choose Research, Academics Over Fat Pay Cheque

For the current crop of IIT-Madras toppers, it is not money and a big corporate lifestyle that is the dream, it is research and academia.

Published: 25th July 2015 04:23 AM  |   Last Updated: 25th July 2015 04:23 AM   |  A+A-

CHENNAI:How many times have we been told -- go to IIT, get a cushy job and earn loads of money? That might well be the case for most. But for this current crop of IIT-Madras toppers, it isn’t money and a big corporate lifestyle that is the dream, it is research and academia.

Three of the four students at the top of the 52nd graduating batch of IIT-M are on their way to PhDs in subjects like molecular biology and genetic research, cryptography and some very exciting applied physics. The fourth  will be off to crack the secrets to more intelligent software at Google.

Sample what Aravindabharathi R, passing out on top of the bio-technology class in IIT-M wants to do when he steps into the halls of the University of Michigan in a few months. “My interests are almost exclusively in the way biology defines our life. For example, one of the things I’d love to end up studying would be how the process of aging works. Everything ages, we don’t really understand how,” he pointed out.

The same goes for the born theoretician of the lot -- Srinivasan R. A graduate of computer science engineering, he finds himself more at home dreaming up abstract mathematical concepts and working on cryptography. “A lot of what I work on will probably be tossed aside as pretty useless by most people. It’s almost entirely theoretical,” laughed the Carnatic vocalist and musician. He thinks he will probably end up in some university dreaming up more abstract concepts and mathematical models.

For Akshay Krishna, one of the few who took engineering physics -- with subjects ranging from astrophysics to electrical engineering, the world has opened up. “I don’t really know what I want to do. But I’m going for a PhD in Princeton University now,” he said. “I will find out what I want to specialise in or do, once I’m done with my PhD,” he smiled.

The only one not going on to do a PhD, Babbula Spandana Raj, has her own dream to doing path-breaking research. Off to one of Google’s offices in Europe, she will be doing some serious work in making software more intelligent. “I will be using some of the models that Srinivasan used for his work in hypergraph charting. I am interested in data mining and how to make search engines like Google more intelligent -- it is like making the search engine into a person you speak to,” she said.

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