Alumni Shirish N. Potu shares his Experience

The first thing that comes to mind when anyone asks me how I feel about contribution of UPES to my growth and future is the memory of a 19-year old standing in front of the CoES Dean, asking permission to pursue a subject of another branch in addition to his current courses, just so he could have the joy of learning that subject and, as a side benefit, have a stronger application to make when he applied for a Master’s degree abroad.

Yes, I had crazy ideas. I wanted to be different. The Dean looked at me, smiled and after a brief chat about why I really wanted to do that, agreed. No credits, but it would be recognized. He arranged for a Letter of Appreciation at the end of that semester.

Another time, in the very same year, my Thermal Engineering Professor called me into his office to disclose a competition that UPES wished to be a part of, involving US Defence giant Lockheed Martin. He asked me to form a team and pitch my idea for that competition. It turned into the biggest project of my undergraduate life, including sponsored trips to the Indian Air Force, multiple presentations in front of numerous Lockheed, DRDO, IAF and NDRF officials in New Delhi. For two and a half years, the Department of Aerospace Engineering had my back, agreeing to every proposal I made. And at the end, we won.

Another memory is when I wanted to pursue an international competition to design and race student-built cars. This is something that every Automotive Design Engineering student in UPES would love to do. I pitched it before the Department of Mechanical Engineering. They had my back again, for two years. We had success half way through, but I failed to deliver at the end. The Department did not discourage me at all, instead, they encouraged other students to complete the manufacturing process so that we can race the said car in foreign competitions.

And there is one more when I told my Department that I didn’t want to pursue an industrial Internship. That I wanted to stay back and research on Race Car Aerodynamics. I owe so much to the departments of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering. Everything that I have learned has been because of these two departments only.

So what did UPES contribute?

They listened. To ideas, thoughts, ambitions. They nurtured. Encouraged. And if what I wanted was way beyond the observable Universe, they gently brought me down to reality. Only last week, a personnel from a renowned Race Team here in the UK offered me a work experience opportunity with them, commenting on a quality he felt I had. Perseverance. If I had that before my four years in college, what UPES did was find it, and make it flourish.

It’s so much more than just the four walls in a classroom. Learn from the blackboard, and then get out and explore the real world. What UPES does is give an amazing taste of it. Four years are worth it. You’ll never be the same again. And I say that in the most positive way that I can imagine.

I take this opportunity to thank my alma mater for everything that they’ve done for me. Specific persons amongst the faculty that I’ve had the pleasure to learn from. And thousand people that I met, befriended and learned from. Thank you.


About the Author

Shirish did his B.Tech in Automotive Design Engineering from UPES. A pass out of 2016 batch, he is currently pursuing his post graduation majoring in Motorsport Engineering from Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, U.K.

This article has been contributed by Sreeparna Das, B.Tech Electrical Engineering (2014-18).

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