This is the next segment of our blog series highlighting Microsoft Learn Student Ambassadors who achieved the Gold milestone, the highest level attainable, and have recently graduated from university. Each blog in the series features a different student and highlights their accomplishments, their experience with the Student Ambassador community, and what they’re up to now.
Today we meet Bhavuk Kalra who is from India and recently graduated from Thapar University of Engineering and Technology, Patiala, with a degree in computer engineering.
Responses have been edited for clarity and length.
When you joined the Student Ambassador community in 2019, did you have specific goals you wanted to reach, such as a particular skill or quality?
My primary goal was to create a local community inside my college and empower my colleagues with the tools and resources to enable them to achieve more. Others included building interpersonal and leadership skills and meeting like-minded people, expanding my network, and collaborating with them to make an impact.
After almost three years of being active in the program and reaching the Gold milestone, I can proudly say I achieved all my goals during my tenure:
- I created a local community in my college, Microsoft Learn Student Chapter with the assistance of amazing folks, and I fostered a collaborative tech culture.
- Organizing and speaking at 10+ events helped me develop my interpersonal skills and gain more confidence in my abilities.
- This also paved the way for me to meet some fantastic personalities I look up to, paving the way for my career such as when I was organizing Microsoft Dev Day at Microsoft Reactor Bangalore, India and met Srikanth Bhamidipati, a research and development manager at Microsoft with more than 10 years of experience. The most inspiring thing about Srikanth was that he wasn’t afraid of going down a less explored path or one that was contradictory to what normal intuition would suggest. There was one algorithm he was working on with his team, and he proposed a very conflicting approach to optimization when I asked how he could commit his time and team resources to it. He states that there are only two scenarios--either we will succeed or we will learn something new. This attitude of his was inspiring.
The community has played a significant role in enhancing my speaking and leadership skills, which have helped me not only in the outside world but also within my team at my workplace, for which I am forever grateful.
What were the accomplishments that you’re the proudest of and why?
There are two notable achievements that I am the proudest of:
- The first event I conducted as a Student Ambassador was in collaboration with my colleagues during my second year of engineering. It was about Machine Learning in which I covered the basics of Machine Learning as well as the KNN (K Nearest Neighbours) algorithm. It paved the way for me to have more confidence so I can make an impact in my community and upskill them and myself simultaneously. Someone said, “If you want to truly learn a topic in-depth, teach it to someone”. You will get insight you didn’t know existed.
- The second most notable achievement was creating a local chapter named Microsoft Learn Student Chapter with the assistance of my colleagues. We have grown it to a community of over 2500+ members. Seeing members get offers from major tech companies and watching them progress in their careers is the best feeling for me.
What are you doing now that you’ve graduated?
I plan to continue my career in tech and research. They have always been the guiding pillars for me. I love to research new ideas, no matter how crazy they might be, and use my technical skills to bring them to life.
I currently work at JP Morgan Chase & Co as a Full Stack developer. The current tech stack is Angular + SpringBoot. My team is responsible for handling the data and making it available to all users firmwide.
If you could redo your time as a Student Ambassador, is there anything you would have done differently?
No, I wouldn’t want it any other way. I adore the connections I have made throughout the three beautiful years of my journey. This program has made me more confident in myself professionally and personally and has been integral to my four years of university experience.
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?
This community will be the best thing that happens to you whilst at university. It will help you grow both technically and professionally. You will learn the latest technologies in the market, whether Angular, React, NuxtJS, or coding methodologies like Low Code development, DevOps--you name it. You will develop excellent interpersonal and leadership skills that will assist you in various ways throughout life, not just in tech. The community has you covered.
What advice would you give to new Student Ambassadors?
Alone we can do so little, but together we can achieve so much more. Stay active in the community, contribute, learn, and make new connections. You are in for a thrilling ride.
A few fellow Student Ambassadors
Do you have a motto in life, a guiding principle that drives you?
I don’t have a motto that I follow for doing anything, but what gets me out of bed excitedly in the morning would be any community event where I get to interact with like-minded folks, discuss ideas, and make new connections.
What is one random fact few people know about you?
These three things excite me: learning a new musical instrument, speedcubing (solving a 3X3 Rubik's cube as fast as possible), and chess. I follow all chess events happening worldwide, especially the ones where Viswanathan (Vishy) Anand is playing, as he is my favourite chess player. You can get an idea of how big of a fan I am, that I can name every world chess champion that existed throughout history at my fingertips.
Good luck to you in all your endeavors, Bhavuk!
Readers, you can find Bhavuk on LinkedIn, Github, his website, Twitter, and his blog.