10 Year Transformation - IIT Kharagpur to ISI Kolkata Convocation



More than once Indian Statistical Institute (ISI) had caught my attention, while I was 24*7 dreaming of getting into an IIT. Two things which I knew about ISI were, it's for Maths & getting in is 10 times tougher than IIT. Needless to say, I did my B.Tech from IIT Kharagpur. The mention of KGP in the above line, sounds quite underwhelming, such is the stature of ISI. Also, please keep aside the ISI jokes about certain intelligence agency in certain nearby nation.


When I was in class 9, I was only good in Maths and I had an enthusiasm about Biology. I wanted to become a doctor. Those days were quite formative and I could almost sense my line of thought now, on why I chose not to pursue medicine. I just couldn't let go of my Maths skills, having only gained a fair grip on the subject pretty late. Till Class 6, my Maths scores were unimpressive to say the least. Also, I wouldn't even count myself as a serious student. I have been and remain a day-dreamer, always lost in the sand-castles of my own. Ruminating and brooding are my allies.


It was around this time, that I decided to become an IITian as most people around me were successful in selling the brand IIT & its association with Math. To a 14 year old Class 9 student, that was not really difficult. The story thereafter, of how I went to IIT is something I have already documented in detail.

This post is not about IIT but about ISI, about the 10 years to ISI, about the 10 years of pain, about the endless attempts at landing onto a ship which sails my boat. You can watch the convocation video with campus tour below:


I worked in startups, taught kids, just read books and kept ruling out career options. Finally, better sense prevailed and my pillar, my wife stood there at a corner while I gave all I had for ISI preparation. I had read a bit of pop economics, pop psychology & pop statistics to pique my interest in Quant Economics at ISI Kolkata.


I can't speak for other programmes but a course in ISI gives you a new way of thinking, a new way of looking at data problems, a new appreciation for statistics. Statistics is not mere complex algebra with lots of numbers interspersed,  it's simply the language of experiments. Just like Mathematics is the language of Science; Statistics is the language of all empirical studies. 

Quantitative Economics course at ISI is meant for equipping economics students with Mathematics & Statistics tools. This makes this course quite specialised and this is not for everyone. And, this is not an alternative to MBA. This course required deep study and mere skimming concepts before exams won't help you in passing exams.
This is like tailor-cut for me. Almost!
I am not the best student when it comes to examinations. I only like examinations which have disproportionately high payoffs and don't require you to mug a lot. 




In the past 10 years, I know most of my batchmates would have completed their PHDs, MBA+Job+Promotion, Startup+Funding, & what have you. And, here I am, happy with my Masters in Quantitative Economics. Perhaps, things are not perfect they have to be made perfect!

Or in my wife's words, "दिन Perfect नही होता, उसे Perfect  बनाना होता है" which loosely translates to ,"Days are not perfect, you make them so"

I really cannot say that the ISI Convocation day was my happiest day, but it was the perfect day!