Mechanical Engineering

It is a natural human tendency to follow the herd. In times of utter confusion and dilemma, especially when a lot is at stake, we simply let go of our independent thinking abilities, and following the crowd seems the only viable option. Unfortunately, the same trait manifests itself in students who are capable enough of clearing one of the toughest entrances in the world – JEE (Advanced). Even these students tend to follow the herd mentality, which has been exemplified below:

Papa said, “ Beta, CS aur Electronics mein bahut scope hai, wahi bharna”. Some wise “Uncle” would advise, “Beta Civil/ Chemical lena, boom aane waala hai.” Someone else would advice, “Mechanical bhi consider karo, bahut scope hai.”

It is natural to get confused by such a plethora of advices, passed down by people who frankly have little idea what the student wants. They are just trying to flaunt their pseudo knowledge and trying to coax you into opting for a branch that doesn’t necessarily appeal to you. The decision has to be taken by you, the student. The rule of thumb is: You should take a branch solely on the basis of your personal genuine interest in that branch, not on the advice of anybody else, and also not on the basis of placements and average packages, which are just a function of the current economic scenario in the industry.

Well, I’ll discuss why I chose Mechanical Engineering at IIT (BHU) over my other options. This might make the picture clearer for you and help you choose an appropriate branch.  I asked myself these questions:

Why Mechanical Engineering?

My father worked at a television manufacturing unit. I remember my holidays spent with him at his factory, constantly bothering him how that machine worked? Why do you use these different panels? How were those TV cases made? Did you make it or were they assembled here only? My father though initially patient, finally got bored of my questions and I never saw that factory again.

In my case, a simple childhood memory pushed me towards mechanical engineering. My decision was helped by the fact that Mechanical Engineering is rightly called the “evergreen”  branch. The most appealing feature is that the application base of this field of study is extremely broad and diverse. Traditional manufacturing industries such as automobiles, aviation, shipping, aerospace, power plants and machinery manufacturing demand the expertise of mechanical engineers, along with newer fields such as nanotechnology, biomedical engineering, energy conservation and environmental engineering. There is also a great requirement for mechanical engineering consultants who have management skills along with technical proficiency. The primary role of such professionals is to manage both technology and people, and firms that provide engineering consultancy require such candidates. Hence, future prospects of your education in mechanical engineering are immense. According to a worldwide study, it has been found that 26% of the CEO’s of all the Forbes’s 500 companies have an education in mechanical engineering, just going on to highlight the exponential career growth and prospects of a capable and competent individual in this field.

With my rank, I have other respectable options at IIT Roorkee, IIT Guwahati and basically all the new IIT’s.  Previous years cutoffs indicate that many people preferred these over BHU. Why should I go for Mechanical at IIT (BHU)?

At the time of JEE counselling results, arises “What should I prefer, the branch or the college?”

Many wizened “Uncles” might advise you,”Beta Bombay mein Meta le lo. Why go to Varanasi? Bombay ka tag milega.” Well, they could not have been more wrong. First of all, if you go on to work at a company or go for higher studies abroad, it does not matter whether you went to IIT X or IIT Y. Since you are an IITian, the level expected from you is the same, immaterial of the fact that whether you went to Bombay or Varanasi.

What matters is this. Basically you are deciding what course you will be studying for the next four years of your life. Deciding what you want to study must be independent of where you want to study. Branch should ALWAYS have a higher priority as compared to the name of the college. As your college stays with you for four (or five) years but your branch stays with you forever. Engineering is a highly specialized field and requires utmost devotion and genuine interest, hence it is advised that students should always opt for a branch of their choice in a college of secondary preference college rather than choosing ANY course in a college of primary preference.

In previous years, students would choose any branch in other IITs just because this institute did not have the coveted IIT tag, disregarding the fact that IIT (BHU) has been admitting JEE qualified students for the last 40 years and has maintained its standards amongst the top 7-8 engineering colleges in India for over the past two decades, even with a modest UGC funding of 15 crores annually as compared to the MHRD funding of 150 crores annually which other IIT’s have been entitled to for years.

But, things are slowly changing, and the mindsets of students are gradually shifting to taking up courses of their interests rather than taking up any non-core branch in a more reputed IIT. This was clearly reflected in the paradigm shift in opening and closing ranks of Mechanical Engineering over the past two years.

What would I actually study if I choose Mechanical Engineering?

The course curriculum is broadly divided into the following-

  • Mathematics (mainly Calculus, Numerical Methods and Linear Algebra).
  • Statics and Dynamics.
  • Strength of Materials & Solid Mechanics.
  • Material Engineering, Composites.
  • Thermodynamics, Heat Transfer, Energy Conversion, HVAC etc.
  • Fuels & Combustion, Internal Combustion engines.
  • Fluids Mechanics & Machinery, Hydraulics and Pneumatics.
  • Mechanisms and Machine Design, Tool and Product Design.
  • Manufacturing Technology & Process Engineering.
  • Vibration, Control Systems and Control Engineering.
  • Mechatronics and Robotics.
  • Drafting, Computer Aided Design(CAD), Computer Aided Manufacturing(CAM).

These subjects encompass the knowledge of almost every industry under the sun. Students more interested in field work may find themselves working as a Production Engineers. Those with a flair for the creative may work in Product Design. Those with an interest in fluids may work in the Oil Sector. Moreover, basic courses in Electrical Engineering, Electronics Engineering and Computer Science and Engineering ensure you’re never short of opportunities. A mechanical engineer, with an adequate skill set, can work anywhere.

The department provides an Hons. degree in Machine Design, Thermal & Fluid Engineering, Production Engineering and Industrial Management streams to meritorious students. The complete course structure can be found here.

What is the scope and career prospects in Mechanical Engineering?

For most students, the only criteria of filling up the JEE counseling list is PLACEMENT. Students dutifully look up placement statistics on the internet, and accordingly fill up CSE first. Does interest even count?

Even if you are one of those people, Mechanical Engineering won’t disappoint you. CSE folks have their eyes on Facebook and Google, Mechanical guys (and girls, we always have :P) have DuPont and GE.

Being a student of this prestigious department, you can easily get the big bucks if you are committed towards studies and personality development. The major recruiters include: TATA, Larsen and Turbo, Toshiba, Hero Motor Corp., Maruti Suzuki, Havells, Dover, Eaton along with many other big names. Non Core companies like Financial firms and software giants also hire the deserving students for respected posts and positions

Scope hai yeh, samjhe?

What will I exactly do after graduation? What are the various job profiles of a mechanical engineer after campus recruitment?

If you look closely, Mechanical Engineers are literally everywhere. Automotives, Aeronautics, Aerospace, Shipping as well as Machinery. Mechanical Engineering graduates also work in product design and manufacturing consultancy.

Rigidly speaking, the job profile of mechanical engineers can be classified into the following functional segments:

  • Research and Development (R&D): Engineers whose role is to do research and then plan for new machines and their constituent parts.
  • Design: Professionals whose responsibility is to draft technical drawings, manually or with the aid of computers.
  • Production: Engineers who supervise the manufacturing of mechanical components and machines.
  • Analysis and Testing: Engineers who analyze and test different types of machines and their parts to ensure that they function flawlessly.
  • Installation: Professionals who install machines and mechanical parts at the client location.
  • Maintenance: Engineers whose primary role is to ensure that machinery is working as per specifications.

The Mechanical Engineering Department conducts its biennial Conference on Mechanical Engineering and Technology, COMET.

– Aman Amit Jain, Senior Undergraduate, Dept. of Mechanical Engineering

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