Hi. I am Sandip Dev. I am doing my MBA at IIM Ahmedabad. I did my B.Tech in Computer Engineering from NIT Surat.
I belong to Guwahati in Assam though I had spent nearly my entire childhood at Tezpur which is a town near the banks of Brahmaputra in Assam.I am a Bengali which explains my love for spicy food and the radius of my waist. I did my primary and secondary schooling at Don Bosco School, which is known both for its academics as well as hooliganism; and somehow I preferred the latter. As a kid, I loved playing cricket and had an interest in chess.
I developed an interest in computers at an early age and emotionally blackmailed my parents to buy a PC when I was in my 7th Standard. The first programming language I learnt at school in my 5th class was Basic (GWBasic to be precise). After that I picked up a few other languages, particularly C, Java and a bit of C++. My dad subscribed to a lot of Computer and Electronics mags, and so I picked up stuff from there too. That was how I got introduced to Linux and the very first Linux that I installed was Red Hat Linux 5.1. As we only had dial up connections those days, it was not possible to download other Linuxes and Red Hat was my distro for quite some time, until Fedora 3. I also used OpenSuse for quite sometime before switching permanently to Ubuntu. In the mean while I tried various other distros that came along with magazines, like Mandrake (now Mandriva), Debian (hated the poor hardware support), Suse (worked sometime and sometimes not), PCQ Linux (do they still have it?). I also tried Solaris, Xenix and Caldera Unix and Caldera Linux at my dad’s office as they were kind enough to let a kid play with their servers.
In around 2000, I formed a Linux Users Group (LUG) at Tezpur. I was its head and also the youngest member; the oldest member was nearly twice my age. At that time I was really in awe of WINE (WINdows Emulator and not a reference to underage drinking) and wanted the LUG to work towards improving it and getting more software to work on WINE. We took it up and we were planning stuff when my 9th final exams results dropped like a bomb. My mom, as all moms are expected to behave, promptly called up all the members of my club and informed them that the club is closed and rationed my computer time. She cooled down in a few weeks but the club could never be formed again.
Now lets fast forward to my life at NIT Surat (Everything that happened after I passed 10th standard and before I joined NIT Surat is boring. Suffice it to say that I did my 11th and 12th at Darrang College, Tezpur, and then went to Bansal Classes at Kota to prepare for entrance exams). I joined NIT Surat with a desire to study and get good grades. I had high hopes about the computer science education that I was about to receive. After all it was an “institute of national importance” and supposed to be among the best in the country right after the IITs. The dream didn’t take long to break. The way of imparting education here was still very much the same as it was at school. Rote, and then write the “correct” answer to the question. Second year too didn’t prove to be any better and I somehow managed to stay afloat. Meanwhile I was inducted into the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) chapter at NIT Surat and that’s where I found solace. The seniors at ACM, particularly Ankur and Sunayana, proved to be really helpful and deeply interested in computing. In the beginning of second year I formally restarted Bharat Linux Users Group, one of the oldest LUGs in India from NIT Surat, and renamed it as GNU/Linux Users Group of SVNIT, a name suggested by none other than Richard Stallman. That year I delivered my first talk on Linux at NIT Surat. I remember it for two reasons. The second most important reason being the fact that until then I had been a shy person and not comfortable speaking in public and yet on that day I was compelled to do exactly that in front of a crowd of more than 100 students and I was shaking; and yet the whole thing turned out really well and since then I had never been worried about public speaking.
In my third year, as the Chairperson of ACM, I devised Quest, a two day computing event. The event didn’t really succeed and was my biggest disappointment in ACM. Nevertheless, I put it behind me and moved on. In my 6th sem I got selected as a Sun Campus Ambassador and that marked a new journey in life. It was fun to get paid for doing something I had always done, talk about technology and evangelize free software. And working for Sun was really prestigious. Sun offered me an internship and I got to work on HPC with researchers at their Asia Pacific Science and Technology Centre (APSTC). I loved Sun’s work culture, the easy going charm of the workplace, the love for technology. Sadly, it was also the year when Sun was looking for a buyer. Oracle bought Sun in November and by January 2010, I and the entire team in which I worked was laid off. My association with Sun continued and I worked on another HPC project but this time I and my team failed to deliver. We aimed for something very ambitious and couldn’t pull it off in time before graduating from NIT Surat. Had I succeeded, it would have really been a great product for the HPC community and Sun in particular. Last I heard, that project has been shelved.
Meanwhile I was lucky to get an admission into IIM Ahmedabad, and while I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to do an MBA, I decided to go for it and get a feel of what an MBA degree has to offer. Besides, the lure of a fat salary was there too. But coming here, I have been exposed to an entirely new world. Management, after all ain’t bad. The life here is hectic and you have to study daily. Everyone here is seriously smart and driven to achieve. The faculty is super awesome and will leave you in awe. First trimester ends in 3 weeks. Looking forward to becoming 1/6 th of an MBA.