Coaching FAQ’s2021-02-07T16:16:39-07:00
Finding a Mentor2020-11-27T15:16:44-07:00
  • What is mentorship and why you should consult with NUST Mentors?

 

Lots of seniors have spent years figuring out the best way to get things done. Just ask them!
And save yourself a LOT of trouble.

Whether it’s how to get a job, or land a scholarship, we have mentors for everything!

  • Is there a way to connect to alumnus/mentors of a specific field (lets say mechanical engineering)?

Yes, you can browse through our list of mentors (Coming soon) and search for a mentor offering specific guidance or working in a specific field.

Life in USA2020-11-27T15:15:13-07:00
  • What is ‘Halal’ food? How to avoid non-halal.
    • Learn the difference between Halal and Zabihah Halal. According to our subcontinent scholars, we should only have Zabiha Halal.
    • Use the ubiquitous android/apple app: ‘scanhalal’
    • Look for “Halal” logo on packaging of food items. 
    • Other helpful logos to look at:
      • Kosher: signed (U) or (U)D sometimes qualifies as Halal but check for alcohol content because alcohol is Kosher
      • (V) vegetarian or (V) vegan
Personal and Professional Development2020-11-27T15:14:03-07:00
  1. Lean Six Sigma Principles (@shiraz bashir)

    • Robotic Process Automation (Software walee) is another important area and lots of jobs are being created in this area. UI Path, Blue Prism, Pega, Automation Anywhere are great players in this area.  For an intro look at:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AP-FhJuk1Vs
    •  Six Sigma/ Lean Green, Black, and Master Black Certification. Is losing importance but the content itself is useful. Mentoring is available if anyone is serious about learning this :
    • SAFe is gathering a lot of momentum and Roles like Product Owner and more elevated roles like RTE, Product Mgmt, System/ Enterprise Architects are good for Devs to get into. 
    • This is the Lean Agile Leadership framework and this is how software is getting delivered nowadays.

2. Digital Fluency (@shiraz bashir)

Digital Fluency- Understanding Azure DevOps: https://azuredevopslabs.com/

 

3. Quantum Computing

Quantum computing is the use of quantum-mechanical phenomena such as superposition and entanglement to perform computation. Computers that perform quantum computation are known as quantum computers. [1]:I-5 Quantum computers are believed to be able to solve certain computational problems, such as integer factorization (which underlies RSA encryption), substantially faster than classical computers. The study of quantum computing is a subfield of quantum information science.  (Wikipedia) 

An introductory video on quantum computing was recently shared by Professor Rashad Ramzan (NUCES Isb) ,which is also available on [1] Qiskit youtube channel (IBM Quantum Computing Programming) ,discussed later https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OWJCfOvochA&list=PLOFEBzvs-Vvrrrwy0NwQoonhYxMSHk0p6  

[2] I found the short videos of D-Wave Systems(canada) ,a Quantum Computing Company, explanatory with animations and real hardware labs which are also shared. 

“D-Wave was the world’s first company to sell computers to exploit quantum effects in their operation.D-Wave’s early customers include Lockheed Martin, University of Southern California, Google/NASA and Los Alamos National Lab”. wikipedia 

[3] An introductory lecture on google AI quantum computing team’s cirq (python framework) is also there . 

[4] Additionally there is a complete course on quantum mechanics by Professor Parvez HoodBhoy and another interesting separate video on quantum mechanics discussing Violation of First Law of Thermodynamics for a Short Period of Time and Misconceptions of Einstein .

————————————————————————— 

I did not attend the seminar but still there are resources available on the internet for the intro/programming on IBM Cloud Quantum Computers. 

From The Main Website https://quantum-computing.ibm.com/challenges “We would like to invite you to celebrate the fourth anniversary of IBM Quantum Experience with four quantum programming exercises to solve in four days. In four years, over 200,000 users, including 105 client partners, have collaborated with us to execute over 175 billion circuits on our 18 quantum systems and counting. 

We would like to invite you to celebrate the fourth anniversary of IBM Quantum Experience with four quantum programming” 

—————————————————————————— 

[1] Programming using Qiskit ( for IBM Q Quantum Processors) https://qiskit.org/  

9 shorts lectures on how to install ,Hello world etc etc. https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOFEBzvs-Vvp2xg9-POLJhQwtVktlYGbY  

Qiskit Book https://qiskit.org/textbook/preface.html  

Main Qiskit Youtube Channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UClBNq7mCMf5xm8baE_VMl3A/playlists  ———————————————————————————- 

[2] D-waves (short videos on Quantum Computers) 

(i) The Infrastructure of the D-Wave Quantum Computer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDotDiK2UuY  

(ii) Inside the D-Wave Fridge 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VfxNdBTH8wY 

(iii) The D-Wave Processor https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AGByZoYUlU0  

QUANTUM ANNEALING 4 LECTURES https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zvfkXjzzYOo&list=PLPvKnT7dgEsvVQwGgrlUVXBa2J6PAW8a4 

—————————————————————————————————— 

[3] Google AI Quantum Team – Programming a quantum computer with Cirq (QuantumCasts) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=16ZfkPRVf2w ————————————————————————————————— 

[4] Professor Pervez Hoodbhoy Explains Quantum Mechanics in URDU https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jaxxR6jHZe0 

Teach Yourself Quantum Mechanics – (12 Lectures) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TSqAtS7jVKo&list=PL6LdaanzFU_XA7UvWBbrFpMVtrU2i1Ow9 

Immigration queries2020-11-27T15:13:03-07:00
  • What is the fastest & practicable route (other than marrying a US citizen) to immigrating to the US?

 

  1. H-1B via employer route: 

You arrive here on a student visa (F-1) and then get a work permit and then get an H-1B (6 years non immigrant work visa) and then make your employer apply for the green card

    • Or an employer can give you a job and apply for your H-1B while you are in another country. That can also happen
    • For managerial level positions they can directly apply for your green card as well while you are outside the country
  1. Green card via PhD route: National Interest Waiver Program (Link to gov website)
    • For this route you need good publications in reputable journals, preferably as first author, and receive independent citations for your publication. Note that this requirement focus on quality vs quantity. Citations are received for quality work. 
    • Patents are also helpful. Become involved in a research project that has the potential to be patented or invent something on your own.
    • Both your PhD research and your research internships can be great opportunities to produce quality work. 
    • This process (getting quality publications/patents) will take years to complete so this target should be kept in mind from the beginning of your doctoral program.
    • You will apply for your Green Card somewhere around the end of your PhD program when you have enough to show on your CV.
    • Hiring a lawyer for the process is helpful. 
Employment/Internships2020-11-27T15:08:33-07:00
  • There are limited internship opportunities available to international students, but they do exist and are well worth pursuing because they pay better than RA/TAship and also improve your overall profile. The reason for writing this point was to make sure that students are aware of the limitations and not take rejection from a few employers as a sign of unemployability. Make sure to target employers that hire international students.
  • Opting to pursue an internship, while being very worthwhile for your overall career, may possibly (not necessarily) slow you down in your research because you are using your time to pursue something outside of your research plan. Just something to be aware of. 
  • The best internships are the ones where the advisor’s research interests also align and you can make them part of your research thesis or accomplish publication-worthy work with your employer and your advisor. 
  • International students are not allowed to work beyond 20hr/week.
    • To go beyond the 20hr/week limit, students can choose to get approved for CPT. (Details about CPT on dhs.gov website). 
    • Students can get a total of 12 months worth of CPT hours for the duration of their studies (This could be 2-2.5 yrs of MS or 3-6yrs of PhD)
    • You can use your CPT hours to work for 40hr/week in the summer full-time
    • If you wish, you can supplement your 20hr/week RA/TAship during your regular semester with another job through the CPT hours.
    • This will all depend on the relationship you have with your advisor.
  • Internships can lead to jobs after graduation or even during studies where the employers asks you to be employed part-time. This is a great opportunity to enmesh yourself in the company culture if the company goals/culture align with yours.
  • Look beyond your assigned tasks for smaller tasks in the group/company that you could pursue as an intern but full-time employees have no time for, and that will place you in the limelight. 
Fulbright2020-11-27T15:19:22-07:00
  • After completion of your degree, can you serve your time in any other country outside of the US or does it have to be specifically your home country?

 

Answer by Umar: There are two parties: the US govt and the Pakistan govt. For a masters student, there is no hard-binding guarantee (as is the case with Ph.D. students who have to present property of the amount of scholarship which can be sold in case of abandoning) and so even if you don’t come back no one can enforce. So Pakistan govt is not a big issue for masters students. And as for the US govt, you can just apply for the waiver, and most times you should be able to get i.. 

Answer by Arsalan: The time has to be specified in the home country. It cannot be served in any other country.

 

  • How likely it is that an employer will take you onboard in the US and get your bond rescinded by honoring its terms?

 

Answer by Arsalan: I know of someone on Fulbright who had an employer willing to work on getting the bond rescinded, but eventually he also had to get back to Pakistan and fulfil the 2-year residency requirement.

Application Process2020-11-27T15:19:13-07:00
  • Which Session is best to start the admission process in the US?
  • Which Session is best to seek funding Fall or Spring?

Fall. For Phd it depends on whenever funding is made available so you have to be more constantly proactive. However, some universities only accept admissions to PhD in Fall cycle especially for international students.

Contacting Professors

  • How to develop networking and contact a Professor?

Answer by Arsalan: The best way is to get a (good) publication in a good conference. It is easier to start a discussion with a professor in one’s area and one can start a discussion on email as well. It is also good to have a reasonable online presence.
Online presence : Github profile,StackOverflow profile/ strong profile on relevant websites

 

  • How to properly tailor email and initiate contact to a Professor and Graduate Coordinator?


  • How to properly tailor CV/Resume and match research with the faculty?
  • What is the best way to contact a Professor for PhD if you don’t have a publication, but have lab experience?

Direct Admissions

  • How to prepare your application package for “Direct Admissions” and use online university portals?

 

Answer by Arsalan: The application package requirements usually vary from one university to the other (and is mentioned on the university’s website). Generally, it contains the following documents. (Mentors please add if I am missing any)

  • Statement of Purpose
  • GRE
  • TOEFL
  • Degree (preferably HEC attested, but it varies where one is applying)
  • Transcripts (preferably HEC attested, but it varies where one is applying)
  • Research Statement (not required by all universities.)
IELTS/TOEFL2020-11-27T15:19:06-07:00
  • What’s a good score?

Below a IELTS band 6 is considered a fail.

  • Which English Language testing TOEFL-IBT or  IELTS is better to get admission and TA/RA position in GRAD Schools?

Look at the particular university and program’s website. Relevant blogs usually have updated information.

For example, at the University of Minnesota, a TOEFL score of 23+ in each category is required for admission and 27+ in each category for TA appointments.

GRE2021-09-12T21:52:25-07:00

Webinar by NUSTIAN USA: GRE Panel Discussion

Webinar by NUSTIAN USA: Roadmap to GRE

  1. About GRE & Tips
    • GRE exam duration is about 3 hrs and 45 minutes and is conducted by ets.org
    • See the test structure at: https://www.ets.org/gre/institutions/about/general/structure/
    • See, how test is scored. Generally, the test has two main components
      • Quantitative – Math type questions
      • Verbal – Verbal assessment
    • Check Free GRE Practice Mock Tests
    • Before you begin preparing for the GRE exam, it is recommended that you take one of the free mock tests. Closest to the original one is ETS’s own free mock test, so that might be a good choice. However, remember to schedule these free mock tests such that you have one ETS mock test (out of 2 free mock tests that ETS provides) available to take two weeks before the exam.
    • First mock test will enable you to assess which areas need the most attention. Throughout your preparation, winning strategy is to Identify your strengths and weaknesses, work more on weaknesses and work towards a target score
      • e.g you could be very good at Statistics related questions but not so much on Geometry. That suggests you to distribute time such that Geometry gets more attention. If you use this approach, as you take another mock test (say after 2 weeks of preparation), you will note the change in your scores in Geometry.
  2. What’s a good score? The difference in score for Engineering, CS or Data Science?
    • Below  310 is mostly unacceptable for engineering graduates. However, each university has their own standard/average GRE score needed. 330/340 is considered a “perfect” score as scoring above it is very rare.For Engineering, CS programs Quant score carry more weightage than Verbal scores. So, the breakup of the scores is also important
  3. How much GRE score is required in order to score a fully funded position MS/PhD?
    • It depends on the particular program and the institute. Check out https://yocket.in/ for analytics of scores of profiles of selected students.
  4. Special note on PHD:
    • An established Professor has made it very clear that it doesn’t matter whether you have DEng or PhD for any academic career. “A doctorate is a doctorate. No one cares about the exact official name of the doctorate degree”.
      • Would it be possible to move into academia with DEng/Phd since I am getting so far that both are considered equal in terms of level of degree?
        • YES
  5. What’s the GRE cutoff for high and low ranked universities in the US?
    • It depends on specific requirement of each university. For general trends, see answer to Q2 above.
  6. Applying without GRE?
    • UMKC doesn’t require GRE for Nustians w/ GPA > 3.0

GRE Paid Prep Platforms

CV / Resume Preparation2021-09-15T20:39:03-07:00

MIT Sample Resume Formats: Access Here

Resume – Survive the 7 Seconds: NUSTIAN Webinar Here

LIVE Resume Review: NUSTIAN Webinar Here

Do’s

  1. Use STAR method under ‘experiences’ & ‘projects’ headings
  2. Use bullet points and be as concise as possible
  3. If you are a current student or a recent graduate having a limited number of experiences, use the projects you have done in your degree (2 or 3 biggest projects that are most relevant to the Job Description)
  4. Embed LinkedIn profile link, so that it is clickable and recruiter doesn’t have to copy and paste it
  5. Where content is not enough i.e for recent graduates and current students, lab projects, semester projects, side projects, and presentations are good ways to demonstrate their capability to fit into the job they are applying to.
  6. Simply listing the skills is not going to help much, list the Situation, Tasks, Actions involving specific skills and tools used, and the Quantifiable/Measurable result(s) produced
  7. It is fundamentally important to identify primary and secondary keywords used in the job description and then use those keywords within the bullet points in resume. If this step is skipped, there is a high chance that recruiters might not find you relevant, or your resume might not get past the shortlisting by Application Tracking Systems (ATS).
  8. In case you are targeting multiple roles, create multiple versions of resume, writing relevant projects & experiences in each. e.g one resume could be for electronics and embedded systems, and other can be communication engineering.

DON’Ts

  1. Do not add a picture to your resume, unless SPECIFICALLY required.
  2. Do not write references unless mentioned as required in the job post
  3. Do not include:
    1. CNIC number (highly sensitive)
    2. Date of birth (highly sensitive)
    3. Precise address (just write Rawalpindi, Pakistan) if you must
    4. Or any other PERSONALLY IDENTIFIABLE INFORMATION, because it can be used for identity theft
    5. Nationality, marital status, or religion
  4. For early career and recent graduates, avoid exceeding length beyond 1.5 pages (not a set rule but a good reference) with information or details/experiences not directly relevant to the job. Instead, you could create a heading at the end and write one bullet each for each irrelevant experience.
    • e.g for a Data Analyst Internship position
      • Other Experiences:
        • Freelance Content Writer – Part Time (Apr 2016-July 2018)
        • Network Operations Intern – 8 weeks (Jun 2017 – July 2017)
  5. Follow reverse chronological order i.e write most recent experience etc first then older and so on.
    1. Write highest level of education first, then lower, and so on.
    2. Writing month, year helps understand your journey and potential (for instance, you might have been a Volunteer at 2 organisations while working full-time but recruiter doesn’t know until they see month, year). Example: Data Scientist at Teradata (July 2018 – Nov 2020)

Headings You Could Use

  • Summary (Optional)
    • Bullet points explaining core capabilities
  • Experiences
    • Subheading 1, 2…
      • Bullet points explaining Situation, Tasks, Action and (quantifiable/measurable) Results (e.g 30% increase in sales or 35% reduction in cost etc)
  • Publication(s) (Optional)
  • Projects (3 best semester projects, if experiences are limited; otherwise projects on job or side-projects)
    • Subheading 1, 2…
      • Bullet points explaining Situation, Tasks, Action and (quantifiable/measurable) Results (e.g 30% increase in sales or 35% reduction in cost etc)
  • Skills
  • Other Expereinces (those not directly relevant to JD)
    • One bullet for each experience
  • Education
  • Volunteer

STAR Method

STAR Method - Resume

STAR Method – Resume

Example of STAR Method in Resume

ACME Canada, August 2012 to Sep 2014
  • Customer improvement software project at second largest widget producer in Canada – Situation
  • Project manager with a team of 7 members, responsible for delivery of software changes within time and budget – Task
  • Coordinated with internal and external stakeholders (including consultants of software supplier), delivering monthly project reporting to the project board. – Action
  • Took appropriate actions to control project budget while ensuring quality of the end result. – Action
  • Successfully delivered a new customer shop website with an improved User Interface (UI), resulting into 25% increase in sales due to an improved UI. – Result
  • Cross selling feature resulted into 30% extra sales of related products. – Result
Private: Self – Grooming and Guide for Freshmen2020-11-27T15:17:42-07:00

With the right guidance, Freshmen can plan out their 4 years to be multi-talented and very well-groomed  At the end of their degrees. This document aims to provide mention of productive skills and attitudes which freshmen should start learning. We also mention the resources needed to start learning.

 

AIM BIG:

  • With a CGPA >3 you can always aim for top 100 (for some schools its >3.5)
  • Everyone uses GPA to shortlist – but its more holistic than “ONLY CGPA”
  • 60-80% of jobs have a “preferred candidate “especially Oil and Gas -> Network with Seniors + Alumni 
  • Employers want to see what you did “beyond” the scope of the degree -? Internships, part time jobs, working in a lab etc.

 

Resources:

  • Google : every question you have, academic or not, just google it. You will be surprised at the quality of responses
  • MOOCs
  • Online calculators/solvers for all math courses
  • Free books/solution manuals
  • Social media for education (relevant groups etc)
  • Peers
  • Seniors
  • NAA (NUST Alumni association)

 

Soft Skills

  • Reading people’s personalities and attitudes
  • Communication skills
  • People skills
  • Conflict prevention
  • Conflict resolution

BOOKS for Self Grooming:

 You need to be very specific about what you want to learn e.g. “ How to win friends and influence people” . Top CEOs like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg are adamant that books are the best resources for learning even today.
E.G. Why you would read a given book:

 

  1. How to find what to do in life? +  (o give you a pattern of thinking. Knowing how to think is really important before thinking anything : Find your why By Simon sinek
  2. How to get rich? Think and Grow Rich by Napolean Hill
  3. What happens when you arent satisfied with what you have/arent rich? Overcoat by Ghulam Abbas (in URDU)
  4. How the rules to manage wealth are timeless and how to manage your finances? The richest man in Babylon  
  5. How to be a likable person?  How to win friends and influence people by Andrew Carnegie
  6. What is important in life and what isnt?  The little prince by Antoine De Saint Exupery
  7.  How to be highly productive and make efficient use of time? The 7 habits of highly effective people
  8. How to get a broader perspective on design? (Architects and designers) The Eyes of the skin
  9. How small actions can have a large influence in the world? The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
  10. What’s the difference in mentality of rich people and poor people?Do you really resonate with the idea of making money? Rich dad Poor day by Robert Kiyosaki
  11. How to work less and be successful in a digital, global world ? The 4 hour work-week by Tim Ferris
  12. Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom (It talks about a little wisdom on life. A very small read but it helps you a bit in diving deep in thinking process.) 
  13. Reclaim Your Heart (As most of boys and girls get into relationships and sexting sort of things; this book really helps one to understand the phenomena and revive oneself)

 

In order to better understand the world:

  1. Pakistan in the 21st Century – Bilal Zahoor Folio Books (A collection of essays that talks about major Pakistan problems and their solutions)
  2. The Clash of Civilizations by Samuel P. Huntington (If someone does not want to read whole book he/she can refer to his essay published in 1993 foreign affairs magazine that talks about the future world order.)
  3. Lessons from the 21st Century (This book talks about the revolution being instigated by the infotech and biotech merger. It really blows your mind that the coming years are not at all relatable to the past centuries and they have some more crisp to offer to the policymakers and even the businessmen.)

 

Pro tip 

  • If you can find the summary of the book, watch it on youtube and THEN read the book. You should be taking notes of WHAT the book wants you to do.(softcopy notes are recommended)
  • Just reading is pointless, you have to implement it and see the results yourself
  • Audiobooks are available for some of these books on youtube, which are much easier to digest. But they still need your undivided attention

 

Local internship

  •  Think Industry-wise: Telco’s, Oil and Gas, Software houses, Fertiliser, Auto, Food,
  • There are some manufacturing/processing industries in Karachi, if possible to live there over the summer than apply there as well
  • Schlumberger/Shell/ PSO
  • P&G/Unilever
  • Engro
  • ICI Pakistan Ltd.
  • BAT
  • PMI
  • EBM 
  • IBM
  • Ufone Summer Internship Program /Jazz/Telenor/Zong/PTCL
  • Teradata (Data Analytics)
  • Synergy Technologies Lahore (IoT solutions)
  • Bentley Systems
  • Ebryx (security)
  • Netsol
  • CV feedback received?

Local Jobs

 

Local Masters(technical):

  • Some Local universities force you to work for the entire 4 years which is the maximum duration of a Masters and doesn’t allow you to graduate earlier. Even if you already have multiple research papers published since the professor’s course load is decreased when his master’s students are in the thesis phase and he gets 50k/student.
  • PIEAS offers a funded masters.

Master Check LIST

General guidelines for FYP(Final Year Project):

  • Don’t overdo it It’s 6  credit hours. Don’t spend so much time on it that it affects your studies
  • if the advisor doesn’t push AND give time then do not choose an impossible project
  • keep your goal in mind: masters abroad/Local job 
  • Don’t do everything unless REALLY motivated e.g. design and manufacture custom hardware and then write custom code for custom hardware,
  • Access list of last year’s FYPs -> discuss interesting ideas with faculty members + team
  • If there is a huge difference in how seriously team members take their FYP then there will be lot of conflict and tension. Ss expect this beforehand and be prepared in advance.

Freelancing :

  • The truth is there are NOT enough jobs in Pakistan for engineers. So it is highly advisable to learn a skill (for free mostly) and start freelancing. Few good options are Digiskils, Hisham Sarwar on youtube and Paid courses by Ashraf Chaudhary (purchase after due diligence). Here are some options you could look at (there are MANY more)
  • Autocad/solid works/matlab
  • translation/ transcription/ data entry
  • Programming (any language)
  • Virtual assistant
  • Web development
  • Graphic designing
  • SEO article writing (search engine optimization)

These are the common ones and we recommend you go for something you can happily spend atleast 4-5 hours doing. As a starting point use Hisham Sarwar’sfree course on Freelancing on youtube.

Building a CV, using extra Curriculars and exploring opportunities

International Internships you can apply for: (We have alumni for some of these)

  • Google summer of code
  • SUMMER at EPFL
  • CERN summer/ openlab
  • RUTGERS
  • TSinghua summer camp etc.

 

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