Shishir with his proud family

Shishir with his proud family

Shishir hails from Udupi (Karnataka). He will be joining Qualcomm Research in Chennai. Here are excerpts of a brief interview with Shishir, where he highlights his journey through IIT Madras.

Tell us about your family background, early education

My father has an electrical shop, who had to drop out of college (+2) after his father’s death. My mother is a Carnatic music teacher.

I am from coastal Karnataka, where students are generally not encouraged to prepare for the IIT entrance exam. But my father always wanted to realize his dream through me and had me enrolled in one of the best schools. After I finished my Secondary School, I was aiming just to get into one of the NITs. But when I moved to Bangalore in my 12th standard, I realized my potential to crack IIT entrance, which helped me in getting a good rank in the entrance exam.

Were there any specific reasons you chose IIT Madras instead of other IITs?

No, I had filled my preferences naively based on the widespread notion of IIT rankings.

But given a chance, I would still have chosen IIT Madras back then, as it is a very well-established IIT and is in South India. (Although after my stay at IITM, I understood that IITs are diverse in nature, and one do not have to prefer an IIT based on its location)

Can you tell us about the influences that shaped you and your career path during your stay at IIT Madras?

My research advisor, Prof. David Koilpillai has had a major role in shaping and mentoring me during my stay at IITM.

Rewinding the time back to 2017, I had got an internship opportunity in a leading semiconductor design company. I was entering my third year and was not yet sure of the field/specialization that I was interested in. After accepting the offer, in the months leading to my internship, I started losing my interest in VLSI stream and was not enjoying the courses.

Meanwhile, I had enrolled in Prof. David’s “Wireless Communication” course. His calm and effective way of teaching, along with the pace at which I could grasp the concepts developed my interest in Communication And Signal Processing. My VLSI design internship did not go well, which was probably a blessing in disguise.

I was reluctant to make the decision of switching my specialization this late. But Prof. David convinced me on how Dual degree gives us that additional year to explore more and make a right decision, even if it takes time. I completed all the coursework related to Communication and Signal Processing in my 4th year and completed the Dual Degree Project under Prof. David. That one discussion I had with Prof. David at the end of my third year and his subsequent guidance was the defining moment that shaped my academic growth at IIT Madras.

If you were to do it all over again, would you choose IIT Madras? If so, why?

Yes and No.

Yes, because IIT Madras is the best institute in the country (Dominating the NIRF rankings time and time again is a testament). There are ample opportunities both in academics and extracurricular activities. The flora and fauna in the campus is the icing on the cake. Three most important things that I am taking with me from the institute are memories, memories, and memories.

No, because given that I have lived and cherished the institute life for 5 years, I want to explore other institutes as well.