IIT(ISM)- An Honest Opinion
Note: I will talk only about general rank range because for other categories, the stats are highly dynamic for each year and can’t be predicted.
Disclaimer: The opinions here are strictly mine and are based on times when ISM have abolished its own test and take only GATE qualified students, i.e., after becoming an IIT officially. I don’t belong to this institute anymore as I joined it on purpose with a state PSU job procedure going side by side just to be on safe side and be in an IIT (everyone wants to be) and hence refrain from saying that I am glorifying my college because it is not mine now. Whatever mentioned here, good or bad, are true facts.
So, here it is:
Ideal for: General rank above 600 who:
- Could not go to top 3 NITs (believe me to take ISM over NIT, Calicut. There is a huge gap between top 3 NITs (NIT T/W/S) and the 4th one).
- Could not make it to IIT B RA due to average coding or other IIT D/K/M MS programs either due to interview rejection or lack of interest in MS.
- Could not get into IIIT H/B/D and BITS due to inability to crack their selection process or financial issues.
While some of the options above are really better than ISM, and some cannot be specifically mentioned as better or worse but all the options mentioned above are safe options in terms of reaping better future returns like placements and alumni base.
The teaching here at ISM for CS is ordinary with only 3 professors in the department and the rest being assistant or associate. Don’t worry, all are PhDs though. But, for someone like me who studied B.Tech from a university (central) where even seeing professors in class was actually a rare event (forget about course completion), the teachers here at ISM seemed very good. They might not know the subjects in deep but they know what they are talking about in class. They are open to questions which they might or might not be sure to answer at the very moment but it happened several times with me, that after few days of raising question in the class, the professor did get back to me with a satisfactory answer on their own. So in short, knowing that they now teach at an IIT and not ISM, they do maintain some minimum standards. You want to do research in a field in which no one specializes in the department or participate in some event (like ACM); you will still find someone in the department who will be ready to be your guide. So, they all might not be as knowledgeable as you would imagine professors of an IIT to be, but they won’t pull your legs if you’re trying. But yes, having said that remember this is India. You can’t openly be mean to someone in power. Maintaining amiable relations with professors are necessary. Annoying them can be problematic but if you take it this way that even though they are not much knowledgeable, they are still knowledgeable and can at least teach you what you don’t want to end up as in your life. :P
There is a dearth of professors in the department and now being an IIT, the recruitment just got tougher. But recruitments are being done. So, you might not be able to choose any elective. Electives here are pre-decided like Machine Learning and Cryptography in my case. But, I don’t regret learning both. Having less choices can both be a bad or good thing. Again, don’t expect much from professors. They will only do the bare minimum for exams. But if you really put your own efforts and then knock their doors, they will never deny help (at least this happened to me).
ISM is a premier institute for B.Tech as it takes student from JEE from more than 15 years or so. So, opportunities are in abundance because almost all opportunities that come for B.Tech are open to M.Tech as well. Conferences (national, international), chapters of IEEE and ACM are few examples. This is an area where ISM, being a really old premier institute, is way above new IITs.
This is one area which is changing for better after ISM being converted to an IIT. Now, it is compulsory to publish 1 paper each in 3rd and 4th semester. The numbers of papers being published has gone high after ISM being an IIT both from student and teacher’s end.
As mentioned above, everything open for B.Tech is open to M.Tech. All major giants come for hiring here to campus along with the regular ones and startups. With ISM being converted to an IIT, the package offered by companies have gone up. The past trends of placements in M.Tech here at ISM have been erratic and the blame is only on the students. There are alumni (of M.Tech) working at top notch companies while you can find some of them bad mouthing ISM on social media. The reason is that through its own test, ISM used to admit a lot of GATE non-qualified students. How could you expect a non-GATE qualified candidate to fare well against JEE qualified ones or the one with no skill at competitive coding stand against the ones who have been coding since year 1? JEE is a lot tougher exam than GATE as it requires continuous efforts of 2 years or even more. Everything is open, you should be equipped enough to claim what is yours.
The rule is simple- code and grab or sit and cry (or badmouth about ISM at social media). Within 10 days of my induction I had appeared for internships test for Flipkart, Amazon and Direct-i. Everyone was so busy about telling why not to join ISM last year at this time, no one told about these things. My advice is instead of asking questions on Facebook about which college to join and wasting time, code and study 3 subjects of your choice (preferably OS, C/DS, DBMS) these 2 months. Not only it will help in cracking MS/ RA/ BARC interviews but will let u grab internship opportunities. Just do your part and leave rest on the force that drives us all. :)
Many of my seniors are already placed with range of 7.5 LPA to 20 LPA (See, it all depends on your own abilities). Some of them are doing internships from major companies like Samsung, Siemens and startups. Now, around 20 of my batch-mates have already bagged full time intern opportunities. Around 15 of them have bagged interns at Intel and FYI, their average GATE rank was closer to 2000. So, while few were wasting time telling how bad the institute is and why juniors should not be joining it, some actually made their stay at ISM count.
This is the easiest part here at ISM. Getting a 7 pointer is necessary for claiming MHRD stipend or you lose it for 1 whole semester. The rule is harsh but getting a 7 pointer is way easy here. The whole credit is divided into quizzes, assignments, 1 sessional and final exam. All you need to do is be regular and attend classes because all that is asked is taught or talked about in class. I got a 10 pointer in my 1st semester and all I did was attend class regularly. Again, instead of sleeping at the back benches or laughing how the professor plotted the log graph wrong the first time and avoiding classes thinking that the professor knows nothing, attend lectures with intent to learn. This will save your time from trying to gather notes and books and trying to understand the concepts on your own from standard text or Youtube videos a night before examination, which is never going to happen. Quizzes are for namesake, no one takes them except for one. Assignments are rare and mostly given before end semester exams. So, just 1 sessional and 1 end term exam and that too 80% from copy and 20% application based. What easier than this do you expect from an IIT? Just be regular and your pointers will fall into place.
A lot, like literally a lot! Classes are in the second half. So, it is up to you that you want to waste your time sleeping or roaming or surfing mobile or you want to be at fully equipped labs open from 9 AM to 7 PM honing your coding skills or reading papers for your research or simply prepare for GATE. For some people, it is like IISc or old IITs or nothing. For those ISM is the place. Lots of free time, the course of 1st semester is a subset of GATE and stipend are all the plus points. Dropping full time is never easy. Some might even have financial issues and preparing with job in TCS/ Wipro is not that easy. My suggestion is to join a college where you at least get stipend so that you can manage your expenses. ISM is a much better option than lower or mid -level NITs for this purpose as it has better reputation, very low pressure of coursework and even if you fail to bag a rank to get into IISc or old IITs next year too, you will still pass out with IIT written on your degree. Believe me when I say low pressure of coursework because the coursework at all old IITs/ IISc and top 3 NITs (no idea about IIITs) is very much hectic with lots of assignments, quizzes and deadlines.
Infrastructure and Facilities:
Infrastructure is not something that you can build in a day. Again, new IITs do not stand a chance against ISM with these. ISM has every infrastructure whether for academics or recreation. It will be hosting Asia’s largest (or may be 2nd largest library) in a few days. The existing library is open from 9 AM to 11 PM (yes, right) and it is filled up to that time. The labs and workshops are all equipped and remain open to students till 7 PM. There are subscriptions to latest journals both offline and online. There are seminar, workshops and conferences by leading companies and under names of IEEE, ACM and CSE Society. There is one whole building for all kind of student clubs and sports. The clubs at ISM are really reputed ones and have proved their mettle at many places. There are awesome cultural and technical fests organized by departments and institute.
Government can build IITs but not ‘make’ one. An institute is as good as its students. Here at ISM, you can never be complacent if you have eyes opened and senses working because while being in M.Tech you copy paste codes from GeeksforGeeks, some guy in 2nd year might have made it to GSoc or ACM Asiads. There is so much to learn, but only if you want to. Everything is in here, all you have to do is put efforts on your own because no one else will do it for you. Don’t expect anything from professors, just go and demand. The institute is in a state from transformation from an IIT-like institute to an IIT. So, there are pros and cons (lies mostly with administration) but things are changing. Like, this year ISM is a part of COAP. Not only the entry fee has been reduced but this time the process will be more transparent.
Decide wisely! All the best!
Aiming for better, ISM has a new director. He was professor of IIT K (ex-HOD), has 24 years of teaching experience, MS and PhD from one of the most world famous University UCB and a Btech from IITK. He aims to implement all IIT standard rules here at ISM.