This is an interview of Takshak Desai, former student of DJ Sanghvi College of Engineering, (Computer Department) who is currently pursuing his PhD at the University of Texas, Dallas.
Here are a few excerpts from an interview we had with him.
Which degree are you pursuing and why?
I am doing my PhD in Computer Science. It was my third year of engineering when I realised that research excited me and that realisation helped me to reach where I am today. I thought why not give it a shot.
Which internships did you undertake?
Frankly, I didn’t take any!
Do you mind sharing with us the papers you published and also the conferences you published?
I published in two journals and presented one paper
The most important one was on hybrid approach which included detection of plagiarism using natural language processing. I published this when I was in my fourth year of engineering at ACM under the guidance of my honourable teacher professor Laxmi Kurup. Then I presented it at a conference in Udaipur. The other two were on machine learning.
What were your GRE,TOEFL scores and CGPA?
I scored a 326 on the GRE exam, 114 on my TOEFL and my CGPA was 9.8
Can you provide your statement of purpose or samples from it?
Yes of course! I would like to suggest that one should be very brief and to the point about what are u writing Don’t exaggerate at all. Just prove yourself in your SOP. Don’t forget to mention about your projects , extracurriculars, CGPA and internships you undertook. Last, but not the least, also add a paragraph on how you can be an asset for the institute and what potential you can provide to the institute. Just explain why the university needs you.
What advice you would like to give to your juniors?
For people who want to pursue MS, any university would first try to see that you fit in every aspect. They would scope out your entire profile. Your CGPA, GRE scores both should be up to the mark. Imbalance with respect to any aspect can result into undesirable results. They will also acknowledge your research, internships and projects. Also, you should always search for the institute that can provide you with the scholarships or else try to find work on campus….be it of any sort – teaching assistant, gym worker – it doesn’t matter because at the end of the day you are getting paid and that can really help you out to cope up with expenses.
For juniors in general my advice is always think beyond your curriculum, work on projects, keep practicing, always make your profile unique, and make sure you stand out amongst other candidates.
What is the current scenario in the field you are working on?
I am currently researching on Natural Language Processing; my last project was at the Centre for Text Mining under the guidance of my professor. I had also researched on similarity of documents, Logic networks and extended word net using a tool called NLTK (Natural Language Processing Tool Kit).