Hailing from UP’s Moradabad district, Prashant Varshney’s happiness knew no bounds when he was informed about securing the All Indian Rank (AIR) 1 in GATE 2018 chemical engineering paper. While he was confident of his good preparation strategy but grabbing the top rank was unexpected. He said, “When I was informed about my scores, I was indeed happy but thought there might be someone else who would have scored better. Later on, after knowing the complete result, I was on cloud nine.”
Varshney’s father owns a mobile phone shop and mother is a homemaker. His interest in science is credited to his two elder sisters — one is a professor at Hindu University and had done her Ph D from IIT Roorkee and other is an assistant professor at TMU, Moradabad.
Prashant took coaching for engineering entrance examinations from Kota. He then pursued B Tech chemical engineering from HBTI, Kanpur. Immediately after his graduation, he got placed with Reliance Industries and currently holds the position of a manager. He was also selected for the ‘Teach for India’ fellowship but dropped the offer to obtain a corporate work experience.
Love for science
“I was in class 6 when I made up my mind to opt for the science subject in future. All my relatives and siblings were in this field and this made me curious about it. I wanted to explore this subject more and study about it. A day came when it became my favourite subject and I decided to pursue a career in this field,” an elated Prashant said.
Prashant wants to pursue M Tech from IISc Bangalore. But talking about the future, his only aim is to become a professor and teach students, especially from weaker backgrounds. Speaking about his teaching interest, he said, “I have been teaching my juniors and other students. I would also like to run my own coaching institute if all goes as planned. Many students are either unable to get their concepts cleared or find difficult to approach their mentor. I can recognise such students and help them with that.”
Prashant never took coaching for the GATE preparation but had a guide mentoring him. As all his B Tech concepts were clear, he started studying seriously only three months before the exam. He spoke about his busy schedule and said,”I had my office in the morning and used to study at night for four hours. If I had any doubts, I used to drop a message to my guide and he used to call or message me back when free. Just 20 days before the exam I took a sabbatical from my office and devoted 10-12 hours with dedication. I used to sleep throughout the morning and study at late night”. In his free time, Prashant liked to sing and play cricket.
Important topics to focus on and advice for aspirants
Five major topics which an aspirant should focus on in chemical engineering paper are:
— Mass transfer operation
— Chemical reaction engineering
— Chemical engineering thermodynamics
— Heat transfer operation
— Process control and dynamics
Boosting the morale of future aspirants, Prashant said, “Do not feel disheartened if you couldn’t perform well this time. Maintain a positive attitude, work on your weak areas and study for the next exam with full dedication.”