A simple walk in the park, ever leave you pondering upon the working of a simple, everyday life machine like a stroller or a cycle? Or maybe cars appeal to you and their working excites you. If every small machine you see, probes your mind to think, envision what more can be done, then Mechanical is a branch which will surely interest you. We all know that one of the most important and earliest inventions of all time is the wheel. It truly changed transportation and can possibly be considered the beginning of mechanical engineering – the oldest branch of engineering out there.
Mechanical has got to be one of the most popular branches in NITK. Students either love it or hate it – there is no inbetween. A lot of your interest and drive shown depends on whether or not you came to NITK passionate about the branch or not. Rest assured the department is really great and full of opportunities if you show even the minimum amount of dedication and passion to the field. If you have heard stories from your seniors either glorifying this branch or villianifying it, pause your judgement till the end of the article.
What One Can Expect From This Branch
Mechanical engineering continues to remain as an evergreen branch. Despite great advances in computer science and electronics, a lot of the core and important aspects in manufacturing, design and energy generation continue to heavily rely on Mechanical Engineering. The branch consists of superior and experienced faculty who are accomplished across multiple domains. Multiple core companies come for placements and internships with average to decent placement packages for a starting graduate engineering trainee. It is also the largest branch in NITK in terms of maximum number of students. Recently even the number of sections in Mechanical was increased from 2 to 3. There is a significant amount of competition and a good number of students passionate about Mechanical Engineering and taking it forward as a career. There are multiple high quality and expensive equipment and software licenses which ensure learning from a more practical and hands on approach. At the end of 4 years, if you’re truly passionate about the branch, you’ll leave as a versatile mechanical engineer.
Courses in Mechanical can broadly be classified into one of 3 areas. Firstly we have Thermodynamics and Fluid Mechanics, which consists of courses ranging from IC engines and Turbomachinery to Computational Fluid Dynamics and Heat Transfer. Next we have manufacturing related courses like Metrology, Additive Manufacturing and Operations Research. Lastly we have courses related to design ranging from Engineering Drawing to Mechanics of Machines and Dynamics of Machines. There are also multiple electives in interdisciplinary fields like robotics, mechatronics, control systems and so on. Extensive research and interest in upcoming fields like MEMS, NEMS and more are also ensuring such modern and highly relevant courses of the future are part of the curriculum with experienced faculty with extensive research in the fields.
Despite being one of the oldest branches of engineering, the research in mechanical engineering is full of various disciplines making strides to solve a number of problems. The most prominent fields of research can be broken up into 2 parts – pure mechanical and interdisciplinary. Pure mechanical includes Computational Fluid Dynamics, Biomechanical Engineering and Additive Manufacturing. Interdisciplinary fields include upcoming and futuristic fields which bring the best of both worlds – the mechanics and dynamics of mechanical engineering coupled with the speed, response and control of electrical and computer systems. These fields include robotics, mechatronics, MEMS and NEMS to name a few. Multiple research papers and patents are filed and published year after year, not just by graduate and PhD students but by an increasing number of undergraduate students as well.
The department is supportive and encouraging to those students who are passionate about the field. A significant amount of workload exists which ensures that one often needs to give a good amount of time and effort. Some of the professors are strict about the rules and do not allow leeway in the same. However these rules are communicated well in advance ensuring that there is no genuine reason to complain as long as one pays enough attention and dedication. Letters of Recommendation and other documents are available without any extended periods of wait as well. Professors also tend to be extremely helpful if visited in person for doubts, projects or any other queries. Students who aren’t really interested in mechanical engineering tend to have a hard time given the immense workload and inability to be excited by the same. Thus it is highly advised that one is truly passionate and interested in the branch before joining or at least tries to find an area to excel in order to perform well.
Multiple companies like Exxon, Caterpillar, Dr. Reddy’s, Bajaj, Becton Dickinson, Garret Motion and more come for internships in core mechanical engineering. Mostly only mechanical engineering students sit for these companies though for some even chemical and metallurgy students are accepted as well. There are many software engineering companies like GoldmanSachs, Citi Bank, Standard Chartered and Uber offer a chance to all students from every branch to sit for their placements. Those students who intend to intern and enter the software domain have multiple opportunities for the same. Students who wish to enter other fields like business can search for and get plenty of off campus internships as well. Last but not the least, those students who intend to go for higher studies can acquire a number of research internships in prestigious institutions like IISc, IITs, Stanford and more. Multiple programs like DAAD, MITACS and NTU India Connect offer paid research internships to passionate and deserving students.
Opportunities in Employment and in Higher Studies
Multiple companies offer placements for final years across the fields of core mechanical, business and consultancy, software and more. With a superior placement percentage, most students who worked even a bare minimum in their 4 years can definitely land a placement in this branch. Year by year the placement statistics and package keep going up which is very promising for most students. With regard to higher studies, students have gotten admits from world renowned colleges like TU Delft, Stanford, Rice University, UIUC, Duke and more. As stated above, due to the highly accomplished and powerful professors in the department, strong LoRs help land the university of your dreams as long as you have a good GPA, projects and statement of purpose.
Applying for Higher Education
Going for masters ensures one needs a lot of prerequisites before starting off and thus starting early is advised and encouraged. Having a good CGPA can really help so maintaining the same from first year is highly recommended. Working on relevant projects as a part of technical exclusive and non exclusive clubs helps build one’s profile. Last but not the least working under professors and getting their goodwill assists in getting the LoRs which can completely change your fortune when applying to dream universities. Various competition clubs like BAJA, FSAE and CSD Robocon are good additions to one’s profile which also teaches one practical skills. They are also highly looked upon by those universities which have prominent teams participating in the event.
Preparing for Interviews
Interviews may seem daunting but when broken down, seem much simpler and seen as a task that can be overcome with some preparation. It is extremely important to know your resume inside out. Not knowing something on your resume is the easiest way to face rejection, so always put projects which you’re passionate and sure of.
In the case of written tests, aptitude and logical reasoning play a huge role. Apart from that, basics in mechanical is needed to ace the technical section of the tests.
Your knowledge takes you only till a certain round of the interview process. Behavioral questions and your overall confidence also make a huge difference. Feel free to ask seniors regarding their experience and take it as an opportunity to learn how to perform under stress and pressure.
Feel free to explore and learn about new fields and don’t back down from responsibilities and opportunities. Accepting the same can make all the difference. Build a lot of memories and friends in these 4 years. One of the best ways to study is with the help of friends and teachers. Don’t be intimidated by professors, they can be really helpful and guide you throughout your journey. At the end of the day, it’s all about learning. So, put your best foot forward, it’ll be a memorable three years in this department.