What Matters in College: Part 1/5

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.

Here’s Part 1 where Akshat Singh talks of his achievements while he juggled a student team and academics- and somehow managed to carve a great future out of it.

Akshat Singh speaks about his extraordinary experience


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 [email protected]

...And here's the car

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