KVPY Interview… December 2, 2009Posted by Sreyasi Nag Chowdhury in Me-myself-my life....
Tags: 2009, Engineering, kvpy, KVPY Fellowship, kvpy interview, KVPY interview pattern, KVPY project ideas
Now, there are certain very frightening stereotype ideas about KVPY interviews! I tried speaking to some KVPY Fellows prior to my interview, and the picture I got was terrifying! Attending the interview changed my idea which I’m going to share with everyone for the benefit of future KVPY applicants. The reason is that everyone heading for it wants to know how the general procedure is and the best way to find an answer now is Google. So they start searching frantically with as many various combinations of words as possible…I did too…but unfortunately did not come up with satisfactory results. Dr. Pranab Chatterjee showed up always (everyone who has googled with ‘kvpy’ will agree). Although his experience gave us some idea, it was specifically for candidates in the Medical stream and typically for the boys (sorry about this Pranab, but that’s what I felt. Although it is a fact that boys outnumber girls largely here, but you could have given equal footing to both. Anyway, I’ll do it.). He suggested I should write for the future Engineering candidates…so here I am…I hope you find this in time.
I’d say the interview was easy going…nothing to be tensed about it. It is more of a cordial discussion with the interview board regarding your work rather than a tightened question-answer round. For every one of us this time, we were asked to explain our project to the board. They just wanted to see how well we can deliver our work across the table. They listened very attentively when we spoke and cross-questioned here and there to clarify some points. We weren’t asked very probing questions or high level subject based questions…just the basics. When the Head of the KVPY Cell of IIT Bombay introduced us to the system at the beginning, he said that selecting a limited number of applications from the bulk was very careful and strict, but now all they want to figure out is whether the project is genuinely done by the candidate, how well he/she is versed with the work, and whether he/she possesses the potential for a career in research.
Now I want to clarify some biased conceptions about the interview.
- It is not a job interview. So how you dress doesn’t matter as long as you are decent enough to present yourself before the respected Professors. This is not what I have to say, but the Head of the KVPY Cell of IIT Bombay himself said this in his initial interaction with us. So, I need not have dressed in a formal suit, a decent salwar-kameez would have been ok…but, yes, respect for tradition is always preferred.
- Pranab Chatterjee wrote in his blog that the board has a hawk’s eye to everything about you-how you walk, talk, look etc. Maybe that is true for the Medical students, but believe me, for the Engineering people it’s just casual. Definitely a confident body language has its own merits, but that can’t be considered to be of utmost importance. What is important is your knowledge about your work and the genuineness of your project.
- Your English might not be fluent…so what? That shouldn’t crush your confidence! Professors themselves said we could be free to deliver in any language…not all though…it’s practically impossible to accommodate all Indian languages…but Hindi and most of South Indian languages were welcomed.
- The Professors in the interview board were very friendly and made us feel easy. There were smiles and jokes. In fact I was offered biscuits after my interview was over…so informal it is! Average time of interview per head was 20min. There was this guy from IIT Kharagpur, Sarbartha, who was the only one to stay in the board for 45min.
- Questions will be asked from your project only…at least that was the case this time. A KVPY scholar frightened me by saying that we may be interrogated from any field as varied as history and geography. This completely freaked me out! I was relieved to find out otherwise.
- Whatever I said was my experience at IIT Bombay. Venue of the Interview changes every year, and so might be everything related to it. I don’t mean to frighten you by saying this; I guess it’ll be more or less the same. My suggestion is that you should be extremely well versed with your project. The rest is a matter of chance.
Regarding project topics, application based simple projects rank higher than theoretical ones. So, think of your day-to-day life and how you can solve some problems often faced. For example, this time there was this guy Rohit, who worked on automatic drainage of waste that often plugs the basins and sinks in our house. Jose Dominic’s project was to improve the four legged walker for the crippled and aged to make it suitable to climb or descend a flight of stairs. Soujanya designed a soft keyboard for typing in Tamil. My project was a bit higher up…it was on how to store Hydrogen gas in a cost effective manner to use it as future fuel. Lakshmi’s was a similar project on bio-diesel. Ish had a theoretical project on optimisation of power for energy conservation…it just didn’t penetrate my brain box! Some guys like Utkarsh and GV had pure maths projects and they had one-to-one interview and the Professor somehow told them that they’ll get a Mentorship.
Anyway, the post is becoming too long, I’ll stop here. That’s all I had to say about the legendary KVPY interviews. All the best if you are an applicant. Probably I did not miss out on anything…if I did I promise to include it later on. All I’d say is make right use of the opportunity, enjoy, make friends and treasure them…this is a life-time experience…and a life changing one too. Take care!