Driving towards a sustainable future

Tariq Kareemulla  

I remember reading a feature on a hydrogen fuel car back in 2007-08 in The Hindu’s Science & Technology column. That was one of the first things that inspired me to pursue a career in automotive engineering. Having enrolled in the bachelor's programme in mechatronics at Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Technology, Hyderabad, by the third year, I had decided to head to the U.S. and took my GRE in late 2010. But my score and grades were insufficient to secure a place in the top automotive programmes offered with financial support. I then sought Germany, but again my grades were insufficient (I had 66 per cent aggregate at the start of my last semester, which was when I started applying). This was way too low for an inexperienced fresher seeking a top notch programme, as toppers or experienced engineers are usually preferred.

I was quite depressed after this and had almost given up, until my friend Masroor told me about a two-year master's programme in France jointly offered by the Universities of Orleans and Bourgogne.

After reading the course contents, my inner-self was reverberating with excitement. It was a course to learn about reducing the fuel consumption and emissions in conventional and alternative vehicles.

It was exactly what I had been looking for ever since my undergraduate days. This course debuted in 2011, and, when I joined in 2012, ours was the second batch.

Learn French

Life in France is delightful. The people are courteous and always helpful to foreigners, especially students. Knowing the native tongue, though, is a must if one intends to pursue education here.

It is better to learn the basics of French beforehand. The shock of seeing hardly anyone speaking English on the streets will be rather huge.

I had enrolled myself for two basic-level courses at Alliance Francaise before taking off and that helped me enormously. Despite the fact that the course is entirely taught in English and most of the work in the industry is documented mainly in English, it is essential that one learns French for day-to-day interaction with colleagues and native students.

The facilities at both the universities are brilliant. One gets to do multiple practical projects and lab-work (almost for every theoretical course, a compulsory practical one follows). The teaching approach and the structure of the course make it a fascinating experience.

Towards the end, in the final semester, it is mandatory to carry out an industrial internship which the university helps in arranging.

This provides a hands-on opportunity that acts as a foundation platform, paving the way for a bright career in sustainable automotive R&D.

The writer is currently a researcher in sustainable motorsport (Lamera Cup, Le Mans 24) and pursuing his Ph.D (CIFRE) at LAMIH, University of Valenciennes.

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Printable version | Jun 15, 2021 7:15:27 PM |

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