Adit Whorra studied in St Columbus and then graduated from Ashoka University in 2019 with a BSc Comp Science with Minor in Math. In his 4th year, he took an advanced major in Computer Science and concentration in Economics. Kritika Malhotra, Lead Counsellor at Inomi Learning interviewed him about this experience.
Adit is working now at Spotdraft in Bangalore as a Machine Learning Engineer in legal artificial intelligence
How did you choose Ashoka University?
I was applying abroad as well as applying in India for engineering universities. I didn’t really want to do engineering. I wanted a more liberal approach, where I could explore subjects before choosing. I did some research on Ashoka and liked the place and faculty when I went for the interview. I didn’t feel like going abroad, I will make that investment for my masters. I did feel it was a bit of a gamble initially because I was wondering whether this is a regular college experience, but all my batchmates and peers were very smart, all from different backgrounds and everyone was talented. So even though it was a new university, I had confidence that the brand name would pick up.
Were you unsure about what you wanted to pursue?
I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to do computers or economics even though I hadn’t studied economics at school. I wasn’t so keen on engineering as it was a bit daunting for me. Eventually I did computer science but got to do other courses as well. Did courses in philosophy, history- you get a sense of everything a little bit. You can do a foundation course before deciding your major. You get 3 semesters to decide but I was sure after 1 year that I wanted to do computer science.
What’s your favorite thing about Ashoka?
It is a very tight knit community which is what I appreciated. The university area is kind of small, so you’re always close to your batchmates. We all lived together and I learnt a lot from other people. You have access to your friends as they live right next to you. There were no time restrictions as such and you can spend time with your friends whenever you want to. The faculty was also really good but for me personally the closeness to my friends was more important.
What’s your least favorite thing about Ashoka?
It’s in the middle of nowhere, there is not much to do. It can get suffocating as we can’t go out much.
Are there study/ semester abroad options at Ashoka?
Yes, we do, I went to UCL London to do a course in data analytics and big data. It is not affiliated with Ashoka, but Ashoka is affiliated with some top universities- Berkeley, University of Michigan, King’s College.
What about Internships?
I did not do any internships through Ashoka although their internship cell is now very active. When I was there, the professors were open to interning with them though I did internships on my own. I did do an internship with a Professor from NYU which I got through Ashoka, it was a remote internship. I ended up working for him for an entire year.
What about jobs post Ashoka?
Ashoka has a placement cell. The placement committee has been good but for the computer science students, it is a bigger challenge. Companies who generally hire engineers are reluctant to hire CS graduates, therefore I did a 4th year to be more at par with the engineering students. In your last year, you can start applying for jobs. Ashoka was quite active in applying for jobs for students. They do help you through the process of getting a job, making the CV, polishing your interview skills. For me however, I did my research project with SpotDraft after which they offered me a job.
Tell me about the accommodation at Ashoka?
Accommodation is good, fancy, comfortable. You have a roommate who is randomly allocated in the first year. In second year, you can choose your roommate. There are no attached washrooms, there are washrooms on every floor which are very nice and clean.
Tell me about the faculty at Ashoka?
Computer Science faculty wasn’t initially so great. Over the years however the faculty got better. Since it is not a full time Engineering program, maybe computer Science faculty is difficult for them to get. The faculty in general is super for English, Economics and other courses I took. I’m not sure about the science courses and how the faculty is for them. There is also visiting faculty who are big names in their industries. Overall, the faculty is quite good and helpful.
How do you view computer science in a liberal arts college vs computer engineering?
1. One gets to explore your interests much more. Studying CS in a liberal arts university allows students to combine their interests and apply CS in different fields.
2. Along with all the technical skills and knowledge required for CS, a liberal arts education teaches so much more about other subjects and provides a holistic all-round development which I feel a lot of the engineering colleges lack.
3. Overall, I feel like engineering in India has become very mechanical. A liberal arts university like Ashoka focusses on making the students think.
1. As I mentioned before, there is that mindset because of which a CS degree from a liberal arts university might not be considered at par with a BTech degree.
2. The competitive programming culture is still being worked upon.
Would you recommend Ashoka to others?
Definitely, it was a great experience. Hopefully they will overcome some of the issues I’ve mentioned. A couple of things they have to work on. In general, they are on a good track and hopefully my degree will count for a lot in the future.
Tell me a fun fact about Ashoka...
Going to have tea at the Dhabba at 3 am or 4 am, there is quite a bit of work to be done so students are up many nights. Taking a break and going to the Dhabba on the edge of the campus was a fun experience, a very good memory, one of my first few memories from Ashoka.
Richa Dwivedi Saklani is a certified coach from UCLA and is an accredited MBTI trainer who has worked with over 10,000 people across career planning and as a behavioral trainer in companies. She is the CEO & Founder of Inomi Learning and author of “The Ultimate Guide to 21st Century Careers”.