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MOTIVATING THE STUDENT

TO WORK UP TO FULL POTENTIAL


FOR SUCCESS IN ENGINEERING STUDY

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MOTIVATING THE STUDENT TO WORK UP TO FULL
POTENTIAL FOR SUCCESS IN ENGINEERING STUDY

1 • INTRODUCTION
• We aren’t born knowing how to be effective.
We learn how. We learn from our parents,
from our teachers, from our peers, and from
supervisors and mentors. We learn from
workshops and seminars, from reading books,
from trial and error.
• Developing our effectiveness is a life – long
process.
• When we join an organization as a
professional, we generally receive lots of help.
The organization benefits if we are effective
and so it takes steps to ensure that we are. 2
• Industry executives are well aware that new
engineering graduates have a long way to go before
they can ‘earn their salary’. New engineering hires
are thus provided with the formal training, on- the –
job training, close supervision, progressively more
challenging assignments and time to mature.
• If new engineering graduates need orientation,
training, monitoring and time to mature to be
effective, how is it that as engineering educators we
expect our students to know how to go about the task
of engineering study the day they arrive?
• Strangely, when new students (or, in fact, new
faculty) join the engineering college, they are left
primarily on their own to figure out how to be
effective and successful. 3
• Engineering colleges seem to be more interested in
evaluating their newest members (students/ new
faculty) than in doing things to ensure that they
become effective and successful.
• Within engineering education, this ‘Sink or Swim’
approach is not working.
• Many of the engineering students fail to work up to
their full potential.
• The good news, however, is that the process of
engineering education initiated recently a shift from
the ‘Sink or Swim’ paradigm to one of ‘Student
Development’. The engineering curriculum is getting
revised with the primary goal of enhancing student
success. 4
2 • KEYS TO SUCCESS IN ENGINEERING STUDY

• What makes the difference?


One student with seemingly limited ability and
poor initial preparation succeeds in getting
meritorious engineering degree. Another
student with outstanding ability and excellent
preparation fails. How can that happen? What
are the keys to success in engineering study?
• Three primary factors differentiate
successful engineering students from
those who fail.
Determination Don’t give up!
(Most Important)

Effort Work hard


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Approach Work smart
3 • DETERMINATION

Determination means having an unwavering


commitment to the goal of graduating meritoriously
in engineering (Firmness of purpose) – To persist
even in the face of adversity. People who succeed
are people who when they get ‘knocked down’ by
some adversity, they get up; whereas, people who
fail are people who when they get knocked down,
they stay down.
The most likely reason you will fail to do well in
engineering study is that you have difficulty with
subjects or with teachers or a personal problem, a
relationship problem, or a health problem. You will
encounter some adversity and use it as a reason
(an ‘excuse’) for failing to do well.
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The Importance of Goal Setting:

 How can you ever expect to get somewhere


if you don’t know where you want to go?

Acquiring a meritorious B.Tech.


Degree is the Primary Goal
 Setting goals is the easy part. Achieving the goal is
the real challenge.
 You must make your day-to-day decisions and
choices based on whether a particular action
supports your goal (i.e., moves you closer to your
goal) or conflicts with your goal (i.e., moves you
further away from your goal).
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Feelings leading to Thoughts leading to Action

 Once the primary goal is set, you can begin to place value
judgements on the things you do (actions), the attitudes you
hold (thoughts), and the feelings you have (feelings).
 Productive Actions: Actions that support or move you closer
to your goal.
Non-productive Actions: Actions that tend to move you away
from reaching your goal.
 Positive Thoughts: Thoughts that would cause you to take
productive actions
Negative thoughts: Thoughts that would cause you to take
non-productive actions.
 Positive feelings: Feelings that produce positive thoughts
which in turn produce productive actions.
Negative feelings: Feelings that produce negative thoughts
which in turn lead to non-productive actions. 8
Examples of Negative Thoughts and the resulting
Non-productive Actions.

Negative Thought Non-Productive Action


I’m so far behind, I don’t get Cut class
anything out of my teacher’s
lectures.
I learn better by studying by Spend time studying alone and
myself. not able to follow thoroughly

Subject is too hard; I just can’t do Procrastinate; put off studying


it.
Teachers don’t seem to want to Avoid seeking help from teachers
help me. They make me feel outside of class
stupid.
I don’t like having my life run as Waste time by not scheduling
per a prepared plan. your time
I don’t have time for student Avoid participation in student
organizations. organizations
I’m not good at writing and don’t Avoid opportunities to develop
like doing it. writing skills. 9
 And how do you keep adversity from stopping
you?
 How can you keep failures from discouraging
you?

 The age - old saying:

We learn more from failures than we


do from our successes.

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• Learning to Overcome Adversity:
 The four Commandments for you to
persist even in the face of adversity are:

 You must be willing to risk failure


 You must passionately hate failure.
 Persistence is a necessity, just as the
willingness to acknowledge defeat and
move on.
 A measure of your potential to succeed
is how you handle adversity.

Believe in yourself. You can do it!


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4 • EFFORT

 The relative importance of Ability and Effort was


perhaps best put up by the famous American
inventor Thomas Edison:

Genius is one percent Inspiration


and ninetynine percent Perspiration
 Do you believe that people succeed because of
their ability (a natural quality that you have no
control over; that some people have it and other
people don’t)?
 It is a self – defeating belief. It can provide you
with a rationale to accept failure in yourself.
 Or, do you believe that people succeed because of
their effort? This belief is empowering because
the amount of effort you put in is in your direct
control. You can choose to put in more effort and
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in doing so reap greater success.
• Effort is both Time and Energy:
(“Energy” is used to mean ‘Intensity of Effort’ =
mental power)
 Poor academic performance can usually be traced
to insufficient effort.
 There are two distinct components to the effort you
devote to your studies– time and energy.
 Analogy: Distance Traveled = speed(rate) X time
 Completing a specific task requires that you devote
energy or mental power and spend time on the task
if you want to be both effective and efficient.
 Accomplishing an academic task will require you to
devote adequate time and to focus your energy.
 Your success in the study of engineering is to a
great extent in your control.

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5 • APPROACH:
 Although some tasks will depend solely on effort,
your effectiveness and efficiency in accomplishing
most tasks will depend on both effort and
approach.
 In other words, success in engineering study
requires not only that you work harder, but also
that you work ‘smarter’.
• Becoming a Meritorious Student:

 You realize that to become a Master of any play, you


need to spend time both playing and learning more
about the game through reading, taking lessons, or
watch experts play.
 To become a meritorious student you must not only
play the game- i.e., be a student - you must also devote
time and energy in acquiring the necessary academic
and non- academic skills, attitude and approach (soft
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skills).
• What is required to acquire a meritorious
B.Tech. Degree?

 You must develop a high level of


commitment and motivation so you are
willing to make necessary choices and
personal scarifies.
 You must learn how the educational system
works and learn how to be effective as a
student.
 Learning to be efficient and effective at the
task of studying engineering will have
enormous payoffs for you. Not only will it
enhance your success as a student, it will
provide you with skills you need to be
effective as a practising professional 15
engineer.
6 • MODELS FOR ASSESSING YOUR ENGINEERING
EDUCATION
• One most positive and unique aspect of your Engineering
Education is that you are working for yourself to prepare
yourself for your future.
• Consider the Saying.

No deposit (=investment), no return

• Your education will represent a tremendous deposit in


your future. Your return will be in direct relation to what
you put in.
• Whenever you make a conscious choice to avoid learning,
growing or developing, you are not getting away with
something – you are working against yourself!

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• Enhancing the quality of your Education:

 Three models (= frameworks) from which to


view and derive the best from your
engineering education are presented.
 The models will assist you in answering
such important questions as :

 What is the purpose of engineering education?


 What should I know when I graduate?
 How do I know if I am getting an excellent
education?
 How can I enhance the quality of education?
 Will I have the knowledge and skills to get my
dream job?
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• Self -Evaluation & Self – Development:

 These models are useful for self-evaluation


and development.
 You measure yourself against each aspect
on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being high).
 In areas you feel you are strong, just keep
doing what you have been doing.
 In areas you feel you need to improve,
map out a plan for self-improvement.

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7 •ATTRIBUTES MODEL (COMBINES INPUTS
FROM STUDENTS, FACULTY AND INDUSTRY)

• Institutional Assessment:
• In today’s tight fiscal climate, engineering institutes
are being urged to take up internal revenue
generation and are being held more accountable for
their productivity.
• Institutions are being asked to establish educational
objectives and outcomes and to show that these
objectives and outcomes are being met.
• Similar to the student assessment of the degree to
which the student meets the educational objectives or
expectations set by the University.
• Your engineering college may have a list of attributes
that it strives to impart to its students.
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• One engineering programme may emphasise proficiency in
technology, whereas another may require every student to
acquire ‘learn how to learn’ skill or cooperative education
experience working in industry.
• A set of 10 desirable attributes for a newly graduated
engineer combining inputs from students, faculty and
industry representatives:
1. Problem Solving (The ability to identify and define a
problem, develop and evaluate alternative solutions,
and effect one or more designs to solve the problem)
2. Technical skill (A broad and in-depth technical
background).
3. Communication skills (Effectiveness in
communicating ideas).
4. Mathematics/Science proficiency (A fundamental
understanding of mathematics, physical, life and
social sciences).
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1. Ethics and professionalism (High professional and
ethical standards).
2. Open Mind/Positive Attitude (A mature, responsible and
open mind with positive attitude towards life).
3. Computer literacy (The ability to use computers and
known software for communication, analysis of data etc).
4. Motivation to continue learning (The motivation and
capability to continue the learning experience).
5. Business Management Practices ( A knowledge of
business strategies and management practices.)
6. World Affairs and Cultures ( An appreciation for and
understanding of world affairs and cultures).

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• Relative Importance of these Attributes as ranked by
students, faculty and Industry Reps:
R STUDENTS FACULTY INDUSTRY REPS
ANK
1 Problem Solving Problem Solving Problem Solving

2 Computer Math/Science Communication


Literacy Proficiency Skills
3 Math/Science Communication Ethics and
Proficiency Skills Professionalism
4 Communication Technical skills Open
Skills Mind/Positive
Attitude
5 Technical skills Motivation to Math/Science
Continue Learning Proficiency
6 Motivation to Ethics and Technical skills
Continue Learning Professionalism
7 Open Open Mind/Positive Motivation to
Mind/Positive Attitude Continue
8 Attitude
Business Computer Literacy Learning
Business
Management Management
Practices Practices
9 Ethics and World Affairs and Computer
Professionalism Cultures Literacy
10. World Affairs and Business World Affairs
Cultures Management and Cultures
Practices
• The most important attribute as recognized by all the
categories is Problem Solving.
• Greatest gap between the view of Students and Industry:
Ethics and professionalism ranked #3 by Industry and # 9 22
by students.
8 • EMPLOYMENT MODEL
• The single most reason you have chosen to study
Engineering is the availability of jobs.
• In view of this, you need to consider what factors are
important to employers and work to develop yourself in
these areas. Employers look for the recruits with the
following qualifications:

1. Personal qualifications including maturity, initiative,


enthusiasm, poise, communication skills, appearance,
and the ability to work with people (attributes: 1, 3, 5 &
6)
2. Scholastic qualifications as shown by percentage of
marks / grades (attributes: 2, 4)
3. Specialized courses and industry training (attributes:
2,7)
4. Experience in campus activities, especially participation
and leadership in curricular and extracurricular life
(attributes: 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 & 10) 23
• How you fare in the interviews with prospective employers
will depend on how well you prepare yourself in the four
areas listed above.
• To be strong in each area, you must make a conscious
commitment to make it happen.

9. STUDENT INVOLVEMENT MODEL

• You want to get quality education – i.e., to have the


knowledge, skills and attributes that will result in your
being highly sought – after by employers.
• What do we mean by ‘quality’ or ‘excellence’ in
education?
• An excellent education is one that maximizes
student’s intellectual and personal development –
possible only through ‘Student Involvement’:

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• Definition of Student Involvement :

The amount of Physical and Psychological


Energy that the Student devotes to the Academic &
Co-academic Experiences.

• Five measures of Student Involvement:


1. Time and energy devoted to studying
2. Time spent on campus
3. Participation in student organizations
4. Interaction with faculty members
5. Interaction with other students
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Involved Student:
An involved student is one who devotes
considerable energy to studying, spends a lot of
time on campus, participates actively in student
organizations, and interacts frequently with faculty
members and other students.

Uninvolved Student:
An uninvolved student may neglect studies, spend
little time on campus, abstain from extracurricular
activities, and have little contact with faculty
members or other students.
• Which of these statements best describes you?
• In this way, you can assess the quality of the education
you are receiving
• Increasing your level of involvement and hence 26
enhancing the quality of your education is up to you.
• THE LAST WORD:

Each and Every One of you

can acquire a meritorious B.Tech Degree

If you work up to your full potential

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SELF – ASSESSMENT EXERCISE

TRAINING INSTRUMENT FOR MOTIVATING THE


STUDENT TO WORK UP TO FULL POTENTIAL
FOR SUCCESS IN ENGINEERING STUDY

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a. Rate yourself on a scale of 0 to 10 (10 being highest) on
the following:
Item Description Rating
Personal Importance
a Writing Skills    
b Oral Communication Skills    
c Ability to work with other People    
d Commitment to become an    
Engineer
e Personal and Ethical Standards    
f. Positive Attitude    
g Computer Skills    
h Proficiency in Mathematics and    
Science
i Participation in Student    
Organizations
j Degree you work Collaboratively    
with other students
k Time and Energy devoted to    
studying Engineering Subjects
l Time spent on Campus    
m Overall percentage of Marks     29
(Grade Point Average)
• Rate the items above on a scale of 0 to 10 (10 being high)
as to their relative importance.
• Develop a method for determining which of the items above
need your greatest attention? (Hint: Use 2 X 2 matrix below).
IV quadrant contains items that need your greatest
attention. III quadrant contains items that need least
attention.

Items needing Items needing


least attention greatest attention
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d. Pick the items that need your greatest attention
and the items that need your least attention.
Develop a plan for self-improvement for those
that need your greatest attention. Implement the
plan.
# Items needing greatest Items needing least
Attention attention

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NEW CAREER RULES

Rule 1 : There is no such thing as a permanent job.


Rule 2 : Always be on your toes; upgrade your skills
continuously.
Rule 3 : Be prepared for worst case scenario.
Rule 4 : Always ask yourself what value you are
adding to your company; you can’t be an
overhead.
Rule 5 : Age and experience will not be respected,
always be prepared for a young upstart who
can do things better.

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EMERGING CAREER OPTIONS

OPTIONS ON COMPLETION OF UG DEGREE


The following options present themselves to An
Engineering Graduate:

• Job: in private sector, public sector,


government (central/state), teaching, R&D
• Self-employment: as an entrepreneur.
• Training (Apprentice)
• Further studies: in India or abroad (external
brain drain); in technology or management or
business ( internal brain drain). For most post-
graduate admissions, an entrance examination
has to be cleared (GATE, CAT, GRE, GMAT…) 33
The major factors governing decision-making are :
availability, financial considerations, ambition,
aspirations, job satisfaction, job security, family
considerations, peer pressure (sheep mentality)

The major measures of success are related to :


job satisfaction; money; prestige; reputation;
image (as perceived by peers, society);
leisure activities; ambition and its fulfillment;
travel (particularly foreign travel);
independence; success of children.
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WHAT TO WATCH OUT FOR

Advice to prospective employees and job seekers:


(a) Hiring: Potential employers may reject you if you
show any of the following qualities:

• You want very clear job descriptions and very clear


lines of authority.
• You have experience in only one single function.
• Your work experience has all been in a single
industry sector.
• You have worked in big firms; you haven’t
experienced turbulent situations.
• You want permanent employment and not a
contract. 35
(b) Compensation: Your employer will be averse to
your asking for the following:

• A salary where the fixed component is high,


the performance-linked part low.
• A package which has the firm taking care of
issues like housing.
• The taxable component is low and the tax-free
component is high.
• A salary structure with a minimum fixed
increment every year.

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(c) Redundancy: You could end up losing your job
even if you are doing well because:

• Your company is merging with another


company.
• Your firm is moving into a new business, and
your department doesn’t fit in.
• Your firm has dropped its plans for a new
business and doesn’t need you.
• The work your department does can be
outsourced.
• Internal restructuring to reduce the
duplication in your company.

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THREE DISTINCT PHASES IN AN ENGINEER’S
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Professor Myron Tribus has identified three distinct


phases in an Engineer’s Professional Development:

(a) The ‘ICS’ Phase:

During his education, the emphasis is on:


acoustics, dynamics, electronics, hydraulics,
logistics, mathematics, mechanics, physics,
statistics, thermodynamics.

During this phase, the stress is on scientific,


analytic and academic characteristics with little
concern for human values and people issues.
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(b) The ‘ING’ Phase:

During his gainful employment, the emphasis


is on coping, creating, delivering, designing,
developing, managing, manufacturing,
planning, servicing.

Along with the “ICS” subjects, during this


phase, human relations and human values
matter.

For many Engineers, this is a traumatic


experience, but most of them overcome it in a
few years.

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(c) The ‘TION’ Phase:

This phase prepares the Engineers to play


significant roles in governance of complex
societal systems.

The emphasis is on communication, energy


conservation, environmental protection,
habitation, sanitation, transportation.

Human relations, societal concerns and


human values play an important role during
the phase.

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TEN COMMANDMENTS FOR A SUCCESSFUL CAREER
(Tips provided by “The Week (Feb 28, 1999)” for a
successful career in the Information Age)

• Develop skills: Do not use the college merely to collect a


degree. Discover what you can do well, and sharpen your
skills in these areas.
• Develop initiative and confidence: Invest time on
personality development.
• Network: The more people who know about your work
and skills, the better. Make networking a key component
of your career planning.
• Get some internet skills: To manage IT will be the key.
• Invest in your family: Give quality time to your family.
• Learn to manage others: Ability to work with others is
prized in today’s emphasis on non-hierarchical teamwork.
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Invest in developing your people skills.
• Be honest, never bluff: For long-time respect, get
some basic values.
• Be realistic in your expectations: Everything comes
with time; don’t expect miracles.
• Learn some marketing: A person’s career has to be
managed the same way as consumer brands.
• Master new skills: Obsolescence will be faster than
has been imagined. It will be important to gather new
tools, as one grows. Never allow yourself to stagnate.
It is not just what you learn, but how much value you
add to your learning.

Ultimately, it boils down to a huge change in the


mindset, since the very basis of our work is being re-
defined. The future belongs to the person who can
manage himself best. 42
AZIM PREMJI’S TEN GOLDEN RULES
(Advice to the graduates of IIT, Madras during the
convocation in 2000)

• Dare to Dream: People wonder if having unrealistic dreams


is foolish. My reply: dreams can never be realistic or safe. If
they were, they would not be dreams. But, one must have
strategies to execute dreams and slog to transform them
into reality.
• Define what you stand for, as early possible, and do not
compromise for any reason. You can’t enjoy the fruits of
success, if you have to argue with your own conscience.
• Never lose your zest and curiosity for learning.
• Always strive for excellence. In the world of tomorrow, and
with globalization, just being good is not good enough.
• Build self-confidence. Remember, no one can make you feel
inferior without your consent. 43
• Learn to work in teams. The challenges ahead are so
complex that no individual will be able to face them
alone.
• Take care of yourself. The stress a young person
faces today, while beginning his career, is the same
as what the last generation faced, at the time of
retirement. Along with alertness, physical fitness is
important..
• Persevere. It can make miracles happen.
• Have a broader social vision. While earning is
important, we must use it for the larger good of our
society.
• Never let success go to your head; for, whatever you
achieve is with the help of other factors, and people
outside us. The moment we become arrogant, we
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become vulnerable to making bad judgments.
AZIM PREMJI’S PRESCRIPTION FOR SUCCESS
(Given to the IIT, Roorkee graduates in 2003)

• Success = Customer Delight + Hard Work + Luck

• Learn to excel in everything that you do. Make


Excellence a Habit.

• Don’t lose heart if you lose; but don’t forget the


lessons learned.

• Iron doesn’t become steel without going through


fire; you must be prepared to undergo the test of
fire, if you want to succeed in life.

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BILL GATES ON 10 THINGS SCHOOLS DON’T TEACH
(Advice to the graduating class during a school convocation)

1. Life is not fair – get used to it.


2. The world won’t care about your self-esteem. The
world will expect you to accomplish something
before you feel good about yourself.
3. You will not make three lakh rupees a year right out
of high school. You won’t be a vice-president with a
car, phone until you earn both.
4. If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a
boss. He doesn’t have tenure.
5. If you mess up, it’s not your parent’s fault, so don’t
whine about your mistakes, learn from them.
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1. Before you were born, your parents weren’t as boring as
they are now. They got that way from paying your bills,
cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how
cool you are. So before you save the rain forest from the
parasites of your parent’s generation, try delousing the
closet in your own room.
2. Your school may have done away with winners and losers,
but life has not. In some schools they have abolished
failing grades and they’ll give you as many times as you
want, to get the right answer. This doesn’t bear the
slightest resemblance to anything in real life.
3. Life is not divided into semesters. You don’t get summers
off and very few employers are interested in helping you
find yourself. Do that on your own time.
4. Television is not real life. In real life people actually have
to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.
5. Be nice to nerds. Chances are you’ll end up working for
one. 47
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