Career Options after BE/B.Tech. Metallurgy
4 years of Bachelors in Metallurgy: What’s next?
I took a special interest in starting to compose this blog post because “I felt the need for it”. Since the Day-1, students think what the future of studying in this less exalted branch of most universities is. Well, the purpose of this article is to make you feel that the prospects are just the same as other branches of engineering, if not better.
Metallurgy, being a subject mainly inclined towards processing and manufacturing (as far as job prospects are concerned) at the post-bachelors stage, even the salaries/packages of most jobs are at par with the other esteemed branches like computer science engineering, mechanical, electrical, production or civil.
The only hurdle that lies on the way is clearing off-campus exams, as on-campus jobs are rarefying with each passing year. This article will throw some light on the future prospects of this prestigious 4-year course. You will also get to know of some internships and some common industrial training in the later part of this article.
Career Options after BE/B.Tech. Metallurgy
At the post-bachelor’s level, we can broadly classify “future prospects” into three:
- On-Campus or Off-Campus jobs
- Higher Studies e.g. MS/PhD
We will try discussing the topics vividly, one by one:
1. On-Campus or Off-Campus Jobs:
On-Campus Jobs: A myth for our department!
It is unpredictable and is mostly expected to be gloom every year. However, companies like M N Dastur, IOCL, GAIL, MJunction, Schneider, Haldia Petrochemicals, AlGhurair Steel Plant, Tata Steel, JSPL, Eletrosteel, JSW, Reliance Industries, etc. have recruited students from campus.
Their agreement to come for on-campus placements mostly depends on vacancies present to suit our profile and also slightly on our mode of convincing. There are companies like L&T which allow us to sit for placement every year and never recruit us.
Again there are companies like Reliance which allow us to sit for filling up Mechanical Engineering vacancies and recruit 4 people. So, it is difficult to predict the final scenario of placement on campus. You must also be aware that there is a form of campusing called pool campusing where a company visits another university and you must have official permission from your parent university to go there and sit for placement, provided the company at all allows; JSW placements in 2014 is such an example.
Other companies that recruit students from Metallurgy from other non-IIT colleges are Tata Motors, Usha Martin, JCAP, Rio Tinto, DRDO, Mukund Steel, ISMT, Vedanta. Some companies (core) recruiting metallurgy graduates from IITs are Schlumberger, L&T Hydrocarbons, Hyundai, TVS, Essar Steel, Rio Tinto, etc.
Off-Campus Jobs: GATE opens the first gate towards off-campus jobs.
Yes, the country’s one of the most exalted PSUs, IOCL do take metallurgists through GATE. But you need a good rank, say, in the Top 50s to get a call comfortably, for interview. SAIL, Vizag Steel, NALCO (Aluminium) and HCL (Copper). Marine (Indian Navy), Air Force, Coast Guard are the other companies that recruit students from Metallurgical Engineering, but less in number.
You must be aware and on the lookout for notifications for these jobs – applications, exams, and recruitment procedure right from the end of the third-year second-semester exam (6th sem), though the core companies usually recruit at a much later period. But you need to prepare tough, right?
The fact that they recruit less number of students from Metallurgical Engineering must not be a constraint as the number of students pursuing this subject are too less, and “at most” you can expect 2000 students as your competitors.
Lastly, for students who think Metallurgy cannot earn their bread, but they need to have jobs at the end of Bachelor’s, you must be aware of exams for banks, and civil services or UPSCs. For these kinds of jobs, you need to look out for notifications and application right from the end of your third-year second-semester exams (6th sem).
P.S.: For getting jobs in any company, be it core or non-core, you must be strong in aptitude tests; all companies, irrespective of their profile have aptitude test rounds and mass screening occurs there.
Secondly, you must be strong at group discussions and personal interview – these known as soft skills like your speaking skills and your ability to logically answer questions, you have to gradually develop them.
“Regarding the PSU exams like SAIL and NALCO, on the face of it, they should be a cakewalk for students from our department who are so good technically. Unfortunately, these exams also have other sections like verbal where we are found wanting. There is a need to prepare better for these sections. A lot of questions in these exams are repetitive and are set from a few well-known books. So you should try to get your hands on such books and question banks.Start your preparations(for all exams) from the third year itself.” – A JU Metallurgy alumnus
2. Higher Studies:
Higher studies can be classified broadly into two types:
- Material Science & Nano-Technology
Each of these can be classified into two: In India and Outside India
Students faithful of their professors and departmental curriculum must go for core-metallurgical higher studies i.e. extractive metallurgy, physical metallurgy, mechanical metallurgy, corrosion, hydrometallurgy, metal forming processes, welding. If you find less interest in these and want to explore new areas, you can pursue your higher studies in material science or nanotechnology. You must know one thing that metallurgy is a part of material science; so by “pursuing higher studies in material science”, I mean you can study ceramics, polymers, etc.
In your third year, however, you will come to know what the broad term “material science” means. With least knowledge in nanotechnology I cannot elaborate much on this subject, but what I know is carbon nanotubes, graphene are some examples of applications of nanotechnology and now you know how interesting it is!
“If you ever think you are missing coding, mathematics after joining metallurgy, then computational materials science is your subject. Yes, FEM, Monte Carlo Simulations, Dislocation dynamics, Phase-field, Crystal plasticity, and Molecular dynamics are the new cool tools finding huge applications in materials science.” – Alumnus (JU, IISc, Colorado School of Mines)
“Finally the new craze in today’s research is in interdisciplinary areas like batteries, cells, fluids, solid mechanics, etc. Your graduation is just a platform to build your engineering base. Learn ….are you good with experiments and intuitions or with theoretical work (eventually numerical)? That will decide a lot of your future.” – Alumnus (JU, University of Illinois at Chicago)
You must choose your interest not by listening to others but rather by deciding on the knowledge you gather from your classes during your 4 years B.E. course. All the areas are interesting in their own ways, and all have vast technological application. Also, do try thinking in which subject you can make an impact on the field, I mean, everything in life must be judged on the basis of your ability to make an impact. And its application!
A brief comparison between MS/PhD in USA and M.Tech in India:
If you want to get systematic, quality education with the best research thesis and you have enough money (~ 3Lacs as of 2014) to invest initially, do land up with funded MS or PhD programs in US/Canada. You may go for European colleges too but Masters are most often not funded there. In the US too it is a rare event of getting funded Masters but you may still afford to get one only through intense search and LUCK.
An MS/PhD degree from the US adds to the importance as they are recognized worldwide whereas those from India are mainly favored inside India only. Also, foreign MS/PhDs come off with a commendable stipend. Next, you will like to do there because of the climate, though too cold, it is comfortable for research and study. Finally, the best universities of the world are concentrated in US/Canada.
However, to bring notice, Germany, Austria, England, and Belgium are ahead of the US in terms of mainstream metallurgy. While US/Canadian universities are well heard of here and there, European universities are a bit less heard of: they are RWTH Aachen, TU Eindhoven, Max Planck, Karlsruhe, TU Munich, TU Delft, ETH Zurich, Cambridge, Oxford, Leuven etc.
However, getting into their PhD programs is very competitive and vacancy-based. In the US, while most universities deal with Materials and Nano-technology, a few colleges which always have metallurgical research in them are Carnegie Mellon, Colorado School of Mines, Pittsburg, Utah, Alabama, Idaho, Nevada Reno, Dakota, etc. In Canada, you can go for Waterloo, Toronto, UBC, Alberta, McGill, Windsor, Queen’s etc.
You can search for these colleges on the basis of college rankings or on the basis of projects running there, whatever you feel or on the basis of credentials you have. Finally, to enter these colleges, you need to appear for GRE and IELTS/TOEFL. While for European universities, you need only IELTS/TOEFL and for US universities, you require both. Read fall 2020 deadlines and GRE requirements for MS in USA.
If you have the intention of doing higher studies abroad just after your Bachelor’s you need to be concerned from the end of the second year second-semester examination (4th sem). And start preparing for it accordingly.
In India, GATE is the main exam to enter different colleges and academic organizations. GATE usually takes place in Feb-March and you need not be much aware of when applications are coming out as everyone will be applying and you will know easily. You can enter any of the IITs or IISc or even go for jobs through this exam. Now, some CSIR institutes like NML, CGCRI are recruiting their JRFs (Junior research fellows) and trainee scientists through GATE scores.
Applications are out as soon as GATE results are out. Also, BARC, IGCAR, and RRCAT recruit through GATE scores. Google is the best source to know of their recruitment procedures as they keep on changing their vacancy status and criteria every year as per their requirements.
One may shift for their Ph.D. abroad after pursuing Masters from the IITs; in fact, you may go for better colleges than you may go to after your graduation, if you have good recommendations, good GPA and a good Masters thesis.
Firstly, the decision to do an MBA should be made pretty early as toying with the idea without any concrete effort might jeopardize your chances. The best time to begin preparation is the 3rd year of your graduation course. One can enroll for the classroom program in any of the top institutes in the city like TIME, Career Launcher or Vista Mind depending on your convenience.
There is some popular misconception about the entrance exams. Some people are of the opinion that the course for an MBA entrance is purely based on elemental maths and English and hence minimal preparation is enough. This is a complete MYTH.
Yes, it is true that CAT, XAT or other entrance exams do primarily emphasize fundamental concepts but a rigorous practice is required to ace the exams. Alongside the entrance exam score, most top B schools lay stress on the previous academic record of a student. Hence, having good scores in board exams and graduation is imperative.
In the run-up for the exams lay equal stress on both your quantitative ability and verbal ability, scoring well in both the sections is important as it would enhance for overall percentile. Focus on your strengths and develop your weak areas. Finally, to get into the top 20 B schools in the country a continuous, sincere and methodical approach is required. I advise every student to give the mock tests very seriously as the outcomes are a potential judge to what your final outcome is likely to be.
Most B schools have been trying to diversify the campus and hence additional weightage is given to students from non-engineering backgrounds and female students. However, if we go by statistics most of the students in the top B schools are engineering students. Thus, almost everyone has a fair chance. Post entrance exam the interviews are equally important.
In fact, it is often believed that cracking an interview is more difficult than cracking the CAT paper. In an interview, one should be honest and should possess a good understanding of his/her strengths and weaknesses. On an ending note, I wish all my juniors all the very best!” – Anirban Sinha, 2014 Passout: joining Reliance Industries Limited.
As far as the MBA is concerned, as a metallurgist, you do help in bringing diversity to any batch and B-school profs do appreciate this. Even recruiters prefer students from a manufacturing background. Hence, post your graduation, if you get some sort of experience in operations, it will be helpful in cracking MBA interviews.
Top Internships and Industrial Training for BE/B.Tech. Metallurgy Students
You can find some suggestions from me about the importance of internships, their requirements and their relevance in your future in details in the comment boxes below. I would rather like to mention the names of some prestigious summer fellowships and internships below. All these fellowships require a good GPA for getting selected, say 8.5+ (JU SGPA).
- IAS (Indian Academy of Sciences) Summer Research Fellowship: Applications in Oct-Nov of every year; for 2nd and 3rd-year students. (PAID Intern)
- INAE (Indian National Academy of Engineers) Summer Research Fellowship: Applications in Oct-Nov every year; for 3rd-year students only. (PAID Intern)
- IIT Madras Summer Research Fellowship: Applications in Dec-Jan every year; for 3rd year students only. (PAID Intern)
- IISc Bangalore Summer Fellowship: Application in Nov-Dec-Jan every year; for 3rd years students only. (PAID Intern)
- DAAD: Applications from September every year; 2 months paid internship in Germany for 3rd year students only. SGPA Required: 9.2+
- IIT Gandhinagar Summer Fellowship: Applications in Nov-Dec-Jan every year; for 3rd year students only. (PAID Intern)
- Students also go for industrial training in both second year and third year summers. Industries popular to our department are Vizag Steel, DSP + CMERI (Durgapur Steel Plant + Central Mechanical Engineering Research Institute), Bokaro Steel Plant. You can also go for other ferrous/non-ferrous plants/consultancies if you have personal contacts. Industrial training and internships are mostly non-funded. In the past, Tata Steel used to recruit 2-3 students for a paid internship at the end of the 3rd year (on-campus), but it is not popular in JU nowadays.
- Students may also prefer going to academic and research organizations like NML (National Metallurgical Laboratory), IIT Kharagpur, CGCRI and may get some stipend from professor’s/guide’s project funding; or you may go for non-funded too.
“If students are interested in Ph.D. after Bachelors so that juniors don’t make a mistake as we did and wait till the third year to get involved in projects/internships”
Whether projects/training matters a lot to get into foreign Ph.D. later:
“Yes most of us got offers with very few projects to show for in our resume/experience and not getting a shot at certain internships doesn’t really mean the end of the world; but I guess having a real-world knowledge of the opportunities outside one’s own university from the very beginning is a great asset… I didn’t have any unfortunately and it’s important to browse for such opportunities if you have an inkling of going into research in the future”
Featured Image Source: 911metallurgist.com
Author: Ankan Guria
Ankan holds a BE Metallurgical Engineering degree from Jadavpur University (Kolkata, India) and an MS degree in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Idaho (US). He is currently based out of Bangalore and works for Sandvik.
He is a business enthusiast with experience in the manufacturing industry having exposure across a gamut of functions e.g. sales, applications, product launching, and management.
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