In Conversation – the Michigan MITian

We, The MIT Quill are happy to present our  column – “In Conversation” , where we interview people within the college who we believe posses experiences and thoughts to be shared, right from the security guards to our seniors so as to create an healthy bonding in the campus which would be of interests to our readers.

In this session, we have Deepika Baskar, an senior pursing her Master of Science from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, who passed out from the Department of Aerospace Engineering in 2018.


1.Can you tell us about yourself?

A 2018 passed out from the Department of Aerospace Engineering, MIT and a current student in University of Michigan and a lifetime learner, passionate about aviation.


2.What made you choose aeronautical engineering?

In my childhood it was because of Kalpana Chawla and Kalam Sir just like anybody else. But in the later stages, I was driven more towards making indigenous contributions for aviation in India and that’s why I haven’t changed my field yet despite the suggestions of many.


3.Can you please tell us the basic steps in applying for a MS degree?

Shortlist the colleges based on your research interests and finance available.

a. Set a target score.


c. Finally, people spread a lot of false news. If you need to know about something do your own research and/or ask it to the right person.


4.Would you like to share some tips on how one should prep to get into UMich? Was your CGPA only important or there was anything else?

I would personally suggest not to prepare for a particular college. Be clear with what you want (research wise) and tell them in you SOP. If you get accepted, go for it. But since I’m also obliged to answer your question, I would say apart from good scores and quality research work give some focus to community or outreach activities that shows some of your qualities. If you don’t have any, prove how valuable you are through your academic contributions. Always remember, there is no single factor that fetches you an admit here. It’s cumulative, spread over your resume and statement of purpose. Scores do matter. But they are just like a visiting card. It is your job to impress them in those 1000 words you jot down. Choose them well.


5.When do you think is the right time to take up a GRE/TOEFL test and how should one prepare for the same?

Late October to November mid. Lots of resources (for free or at nominal rates) are available on the net. Use them. Practice very well. And group study with a friend helps too. Helped for me!


6.How is UMich different from MIT and what is it like to do an MS degree there?

A lot! This scenario applies to all American Institutions I guess. You will have a lot to do and learn but in the end everything comes into a beautiful picture. You need to be very disciplined and organized to be more productive. But that applies to everything in life I guess! (Haha)


7.Tell us about the initial difficulties you had there?

I had read and known all the concepts and was aware of the technologies (quite vague but should serve the meaning) available presently in the market. But I lacked the knowledge that bridges the gap between the two. That hugely slowed down my work initially when I worked at the research group and a racing team. But at the end of the day, you can always learn new things with a good foundation and MIT did give me that.


8.What would you recommend, study in Abroad or India? And why?

If you really have the finance to support you (self/scholarship) or you have a plan to support yourself to some extent, I would suggest you to go abroad. Pick a university wisely and give your best if you are really passionate about something. Even if you want to go back to India and serve there, studying abroad teaches you a lot. Apart from that, in my experience (although little) I felt my work gets more recognition over here than there.


9.What are your future plans?

I’d probably join an industry (preferrably a growing start – up). Let’s hope for the best.


10.Do you have any message for your juniors or to the one reading this?

Focus on fundamentals and try expanding your horizon on what’s happening in the field presently. Most importantly, keep improving your interpersonal and communication skills side by side and MIT provides great arenas for that. Use them!

If you are really dedicated to something, don’t lose hope on it. If it doesn’t go well, divert your efforts into something else. Because what might feel right for a short span might not help for a longer run. All the best.


Interviewed by Sai Sudharshan, Second Year, Automobile Engineering and Pradeepkumar, Second Year, Aerospace Engineering. 

For the initial article from the column, click on the link below:




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