Chitraang Murdia of Udaipur has cracked admissions to some top universities across the United States – Harvard, Caltech, Stanford, Princeton, and UC Berkeley.
The 2014 IIT-JEE All India Rank 1, opted to drop out of IIT, and took up graduation in Physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the US. He is graduating from MIT in June this year with a double major in physics and mathematics, and a minor in economics. He has chosen to go ahead with M.S.-Ph.D. in Physics with University of California, Berkeley. Having applied at the top schools, namely Harvard, Caltech, Stanford, Princeton, and UC Berkeley – it was no surprise that the pure science driven Chitraang was offered an admission with a research fellowship and stipend from all the institutes. It was the year 2014 when Chitraang Murdia, a student of Delhi Public School, Udaipur took to cracking the coveted IIT entrance exam. A brilliant student with the KVPY fellowship, NTSE scholarship, and a gold medal in the International Physics Olympiad already under his belt, it was no surprise when he got AIR 1 in the IIT-JEE. Chitraang can never forget the important role played by the then principal Ms. Neeru Tandon.
As was the trend, Chitrang took up Computer Science at IIT Bombay. However, after a year with India’s best engineering college, he was discontented with the setup at IIT. His passion for physics and pure sciences was nudging him to action. The environment at IIT, says Chitraang was more driven towards start-ups and management.The research aspect was lacking there and Pure Sciences was an ignored domain.
His decision to change lines took place after six months of deliberation and discussions. Chitraang says that Prof. Vijay Singh, who was the National Coordinator for the Indian Science Olympiads, was major driving force behind his decision to quit IIT and look at opting for MIT. According to Chitraang the process of application and selection at MIT was primarily subjective as compared to the IIT’s objective application process. In the Indian context, selection to a premium institute is a matter of marks and rank, whereas in the US, selection is very case-specific and is based on the personality of an individual. A lot of essays, a comprehensive CV, varied interest areas, academic and extracurricular achievements, and the entire past journey is taken into consideration. Vineet Baya of ProTalent was a guiding force in the entire journey. His selection to MIT did not result in losing one year as the time spent at IIT counted. He opted for the physics major. Chitraang thereby chose to graduate in pure science rather than be an engineer from the IIT. He was topper at IIT Bombay in his first year too.
The media shy Chitraang, in his interaction with UdaipurTimes, said that students need to be motivated to perform. Every individual has an interest area, a passion. What keeps him away is his peer group pressures, herd mentality, funding situations and lack of proper counseling and mentoring. “I would be happy if students follow their passions and stay happy. A good career is defined when you are doing what you like, are trained at good institutes and guided by teachers who share your passion.” he adds.
On being asked why he chose UC Berkeley, Chitraang explained that there are a few aspects one needs to consider to choose a school when pursuing a Masters and a Doctorate. It takes a minimum of five years to complete. He said that the research environment, the credentials of the Ph.D. advisor, the financial aspect – several factors needed to be taken into consideration before choosing a school. His selection of Berkeley was due to the fact that it provided the best parameters. Chitraang will be pursuing his Masters and Doctorate in High Energy Particle Physics.