Many thanks for agreeing to speak to do this interview. To start things off, could you first tell me a little bit about your current job role and what you are responsible for?
Currently I am awaiting a confirmation for Masters Program. To keep myself occupied, I work with a few local teams guiding them technically and helping them understand the importance of Project and Time Management. Apart from this, I have worked closely with the University which I graduated from, for preparing a plan for an Anchor Institute for FTP’s (Faculty Training Program) & Industrial Research.
Could you describe your background, qualification and how you got involved in Formula Student?
I come from a family with history in business but my passion for cars was the reason I ended up in automobile engineering. I happened to be an active member of the SAE Collegiate Club at my college, which kept me informed on all the collegiate events taking place around the globe. I came across a similar event (Supra) happening in India but it had its own rulebook which made it different from the rest of the FSAE/FS events. Back in 2013, there weren’t many teams from India participating abroad. Through the forums online, I got to know about similar event to be held in India which will be following the international rulebook and I knew that this was the opportunity to grab. I volunteered at Supra ’14 to get a better insight of the competition and FSI 15 was my first participation as a student. I also participated later in Supra 2015 and FSI 2016.
I currently maintain a Whatsapp Group “Student Formula Teams INDIA” which has Team members from over 100 Teams.
If you could go back in time, what would you tell your past self as a student?
I would like to share two lessons that I learnt very lately and the hard way around. If I could avoid these two, majority of the problems I faced would be solved.
- Respect Time – At the start of each event cycle, one needs to sit down with the team and have a rigorous brainstorming session on what the car will be like and then develop a strategic timeline to make that happen. All team members must equally contribute in this process and once the decisions are made, they need to be WRITTEN down and followed by all the team members. Keep the timeline as practical as possible considering all factors affecting your working hours.
- Always have a Contingency Plan – Make sure you always have a Plan B & a Plan C in place. It can and it will happen that your Plan A fails. Having something pre-planned will save you lot of time and keep the morale of team high. A few examples: don’t rely on a single member of the team to get the job done, always have contacts with multiple vendors for procurement, and machining services outside your workshop, etc.
What advice would you give to a graduating team member?
The event is not just about building a race car. After your graduation, when you will be out working in some company, this is how things are going to be. Consider your team as a small company – you have expectations, deadlines, a set of restrictions and a chain of command. Other then the engineering aspect, you must also focus on learning project management and being a team member. Companies want to hire people who can work with others as a team and deliver results.