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Abhishek Gutgutia – Life at Michigan, Ann Arbour

28 January 2009 4 Comments

Hi all,

Its my pleasure to invite my senior – Abhishek Gutgutia to share some information about life @ Michigan Ann Arbor. He pursued his Masters degree there. Gutgutia is now handing his family business back in India.

Thanks a lot Gutgut for this useful information.

Coffee With Abhishek Gutgutia

* Entry Criteria:
– Approx CGPA range
The CGPA criteria depends on the specialization you want to do. A CGPA of 8.5 or more is good for most branches but for the in-demand branches it can be 9 and more too.

– Research Experience at undergraduage level.
UMich is a basically a research institute. So any research done at the undergraduate level will be highly valued.

– Gre & Toefl scores range..
The GRE requirements also depend on the branch. 1400 and more should be good for most but in some cases it needs to be 1450 and more.

– Does the university require subject GRE?
No it does not require subject GRE.

– Typical Ranking range of the univeristy (just ranking is not a good idea.. it doesnt convey much)
Again, this depends on the specialization. For Mechanical engineering its in the top 5. For others its in the top 10. However, it is one of the few universities in the USA which is ranked in the top 10 for all its colleges (Engineering college, Medical school etc.).

* Aid scenario – #number of ppl who come in with aid, chances of aid after coming in, more details on RA/TA/small work around campus.
I think very few (maybe none) from India came with in aid. To be frank, getting aid in UMich is very difficult. Atleast in my time it was quite difficult. However, the reason behind this may be that Michigan as a state was doing quite badly then (and I suspect even now) and therefore the professors were not really getting funding for any projects. So if the profs don’t have funding, the students can’t get anything.

There is a lot of small work available around and they are fairly easy to get. You get anywhere between $8-$12 per hour for the work and this sum is sufficient to meet all your living expenditure. The jobs too are fairly simple ones like library assistant, grader for undergrads etc. I personally graded quite a few courses. The limit to your work is 25 hours per week (i think) in campus.

* how much money should one shell out for the entire course if it completely unfunded..
If you meet your living expense with part-time work and pay atleast 1 semester’s fee with an internship then you will need to shell out $30,000 (approx.) more. I advise that you take a loan after getting to the US where the rates are cheaper and its quite easy to get a loan there. Especially if you know someone who is a green card holder and is ready to sponsor you, then you can get the loan in 2 weeks flat. After the start of classes, you have 1 month to pay your tuition fees. Please note that tuition in UMich is one of the highest in the country.

* What are the living expenses?
$250 for rent, $25 for electricity, $25 for internet etc., $20 for mobile service, $150 for grocery etc. Overall you will end up spending anywhere between $600-$800 monthly depending on you lifestyle. Please note that living expenses in Ann Arbor on the higher side.

* Career opportunities after the course?
In my time, the outlook was not very good. Relative to the university we were studying in, it was quite a struggle to obtain a job. What is important to know is that location matters a lot in the US. So a lot of the Silicon Valley companies wouldn’t bother coming all the way to Michigan to recruit when they have a good enough talent pool in California. Only the top companies will come to your campus and so there’s quite a bit of struggle.

What also matters is of course what is the ranking of your specialization in the country. If your university is not strong in, say, signal processing, then the chances of companies coming there reduces drastically without regard to the ranking of the university.

* Typical Money made during internships?
you will get anywhere between $22 and $30 during internships and you can work 40 hours a week + overtime if the company allows. There are taxes too of course which will be deducted at source.
* How easy it is to switch departments?
Depends on the department head. In general, it is quite difficult.

* switch from Phd to MS?
Very easy. Everybody has to qualify for masters degree. So you can just take you masters degree and walk out.

* Any other issues/ inputs which will be helpful.
All I would say is that go to Michigan (atleast in Electronics) fore sure if you want to do research/do a phd. If you want a job after a quick MS, then be a bit more careful. It is not an easy place.




  • Kasthuri Rangan said:

    Real nice and informative read.
    The max allowed working hrs however nowadays is 20 hrs a week during the semester and 40 hours per week during the hols.

    Gr8 work Sundar. Your interviews are really nice 🙂

  • anand babu said:

    nice interview dude!to the point. i liked it!