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This is the next segment of our blog series highlighting Microsoft Learn Student Ambassadors who achieved the Gold milestone and have recently graduated from university. Each blog in the series features a different student and highlights their accomplishments, their experience with the Student Ambassadors community, and what they’re up to now.
Today we meet Chetan Madan who is from India and just graduated from Gharati Vidyapeeth’s College of Engineering.
Responses have been edited for clarity and length.
When you joined the Student Ambassador community in the fall of 2019, did you have specific goals you wanted to reach, such as a particular skill or quality? How has the program impacted you in general?
My initial goal was to be able to reach a wide range of people to share my knowledge, to share opportunities, to provide a direction to young students for them to be able to gain new skills without having to rely on their schools or pay a hefty amount to gain a skill that they could have learnt themselves anyway. For myself, I wanted to work on my social skills. I wanted to be able to talk to a group of people without constantly worrying. The program definitely helped me achieve my goal since a large part of being in any community involves interacting with people you have never met before.
What are the accomplishments that you’re the proudest of and why?
The achievement that I am proudest of is the formation of the Microsoft Learn Student Ambassador chapter in my college. When I got selected into the program, there was just one other Ambassador from my college. We knew that every new Ambassador that enters the program has some questions about how to reach people, how to engage students, etc. I am focused on sharing knowledge and skills with others. Hence, the idea came up of a college chapter to support new Ambassadors as well as people who were planning to apply to the program.
I handled the whole process of arranging the permissions from the college authorities, convinced the current Student Ambassadors to join the chapter, talked to the program’s Community Program Managers, and handled the formalities. Once we were an official chapter, I held an introductory session for the new Student Ambassadors to familiarize them with the program. I also helped some Alpha Student Ambassadors to organize their first student engagement [editor’s note: this is one of the early milestones for Student Ambassadors; they are asked to host an event to move to the next level in the program]. I am really proud that we established the chapter, held events in collaboration, and have reached a level where the number of Student Ambassadors from my institute has doubled.
What do you have planned now that you’ve graduated? What’s next for you after the university?
My current plan is to work and gain some experience with software development, and after I get an idea of how things work in a professional environment, I plan to go for a master’s degree. I believe that some work experience will give me a better sense of how I want to pursue my post-graduation. In the long run, I hope to have a full-time career in machine learning and AI research, but for the time being, I think I’ll start with software engineering for now. Other than that, I have been associated with OpenMined as a mentor for their “Private AI Series” in a part-time role for a while now, and I plan to stay connected and work on some Open-Source privacy-preserving AI tools.
If you could redo your time as a Student Ambassador, is there anything you would have done differently?
I would probably try to make more friends in the community! I do regret treating the Student Ambassador community as a workplace instead of a general fun place to socialize with people. When I started with the community, being the introvert I am, I used to have very limited interaction with my fellow Student Ambassadors, particularly in the first six months or so. Of course, I wasn’t trying to hold back, but looking back, I think I should have been more socially active within the community.
If you were to describe the community to a student who is interested in joining, what would you say about it to convince him or her to join?
I would probably tell them about the kind of opportunities that the community offers. We have leagues covering almost every major technical and non-technical field, and with every field and team, you find people who are interested in the same things as you. I cannot think of any other platform where a student can develop their technical skills, soft skills, organizing skills, and grow as a person. And you get to share your journey with a community of amazingly supportive program managers who are there to support you in every step of your journey and your fellow Ambassadors who are growing with you. It completes your student journey and gives you everything that a school or a university doesn’t.
What advice would you give to new Student Ambassadors?
I would very strongly recommend joining all the regional and the “All hands” calls, which highlight the very essence of the community.
Secondly, I would advise any new member to focus on their growth rather than just doing the bare minimum that they have to do to advance through the program. Set goals for yourself and have a clear idea of what you want to achieve. This will make it easier to track your progress and keep you from feeling lost or directionless.
What is your motto in life, your guiding principle?
Never restrict yourself! Never place an upper limit on what you think you are capable of. I believe that everyone is capable of achieving amazing things and reaching incredible heights. This has been my guiding principle, and all my achievements have been a direct result of its application. Do not be afraid of trying out something, even if you feel you will fail. Not trying is way worse than not succeeding.
What is one random fact about you that few people are aware of?
I am a music lover. I literally charge myself with music to function through the day. Music to me serves the same purpose that coffee serves for a lot of people.
Good luck to you in the future, Chetan!
Brought to you by Dr. Ware, Microsoft Office 365 Silver Partner, Charleston SC.