July 18, 2014

Success story : Mitali Bhasin (IIT-K)

We are glad to publish to success story of Mitali Bhasin, who would be joining IIT-K for her MDes this year. She has even shared the work sample that the aspirants will find quite useful.

Hi.
 I write this while sitting in the train, en route to IIT Kanpur to start with my M.Des. degree very soon. About eight months ago, I was sitting in some corner of my room frantically scribbling sketch after sketch, unsure of whether my hard work would bear any fruit. Without a doubt I credit most of my success in CEED to TeaCup blog, without which my admission to Communication Design at IITK would be impossible.
This was my second attempt at CEED (CEED attempt number 1 was definitely a booster and an eye opener) in which I secured a decent rank (though, believe me, rank makes a very minor difference in the final rounds).

I need not waste your time about how to prepare for CEED, because the blog has enough material to get you through the process perfectly. Though I do have one tip out of my experience: Always mould your answer to show an ability that may be different than the rest. Frankly, I’m not that great at sketching. But I have the ability to write. As a profession and even as a hobby, I have pursued writing for years. In the CEED exam I used witty dialogue boxes, captions and one-liners to explain my work which made my mediocre drawing a little fun to evaluate. Everyone likes a good laugh in the middle of work. One need not be shy of using cheesy or corny explanations, if they make sense, because I’ve seen at IIT they do not judge you for your thoughts and ideas (only if they’re good). So be as crazy in your thinking as possible.
Also, I did my rough work (for each question) properly too. One obviously can’t come up with a great idea in one go. So I prefer mapping my thoughts on paper with keywords and quick doodles. It has absolutely no marks but I think it shows that the idea is thought over and that you’ve considered different options. Like I said, you may not have the best sketching and ideas, but you can show other skills hidden in an answer that make it different than the rest. But that said, please don’t ignore your main work in the exam. TIME IS NEVER ENOUGH FOR A DESIGN QUESTION.

The Interview:

Unlike IIT Bombay, IIT Kanpur did not have a written aptitude test. Instead, they tested our intelligence and creativity on the spot, in the interview itself. One must be alert and quick in such situations. The point is to test if you can have fun with design and be inventive QUICKLY. Spontaneity is the key.
A guy, who wrote acting as his hobby in the portfolio, was asked to enact a given situation. A girl, who knew German, was asked to speak with one of the interview panelists (who apparently knew German) in the language. One guy, interested in product design, was given a wire and asked to create a cello-tape cutter with it in ten minutes. Architecture and Engineering pass-outs were asked to plot graphs pertaining to their field of work. One girl was asked, “What do you think early man used to clean his ears, before ear-buds were created?” There is no right answer to such questions. Only imaginative answers. Like I said, fun and inventiveness is important. Practice lateral thinking puzzles to open your head.

As for me, my portfolio had an application design assignment of an app to help cook Indian food. Somewhere the word ‘khichri’ came up. I was asked to explain quickly how a khichri is made and even the side-dishes that go with (yes we’re talking raitas, paapad and all). Maybe they wanted to test if I even knew the subject before creating an app about it. Then I was given a blank paper and asked to draw a visual, in 10 minutes, for ‘How To Make Khichri’ for a foreigner who has never tasted the dish. No, my drawing wasn’t even close to good (my plate of khichri looked like goo and my pressure cooker
resembled a balloon) BUT I put an element of humour in with witty headlines and small information
boxes. I addressed khichri as ‘the real 2-min meal’ as a pun on Maggie Noodles. I made a fun-fact box
explaining how the word ‘khichri’ is used synonymous with confusion in hindi and that the coalition
govt. system in India is called a ‘khichri sarkaar’. I even made a box about health benefits, of the same. I
assumed a foreigner might like to know more than just the recipe of an Indian dish. Trivia always
captures people’s interest.

All in all, just remember to enjoy the whole process, right from exam to the final interview. Only a happy
designer can create happy solutions to problems. Be quick and try being creative on a daily basis. Stop
wasting time on which college is the best and what the alumni are doing and how much they’re earning.
Ultimately, it’s what you make of the design degree. Not what the degree makes out of you.

Cheers.

Mitali Bhasin








4 comments:

Indrajit said...

awesome thoughts.. I like the last sentence "Ultimately, it’s what you make of the design degree. Not what the degree makes out of you."

Prasanna Gadkari (M.Des in Product Design from I.I.Sc. ) said...

Even i liked that line :)

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