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Interview with a PDEng trainee: Oindrila Ghosh

Why Oindrila Ghosh chose for a PDEng traineeship

The value of a PDEng traineeship

Who: Oindrila Ghosh
Country of origin: India
PDEng: Smart Buildings & Cities, Building Performance TU/e

Recently a new group of PDEng trainees started their two-year program. One of the trainees is Oindrila Ghosh from India. Her traineeship is at the building performance chair at Eindhoven University of Technology and involves the evaluation and enchancement of advanced control strategies for complex solar shading systems. The project is supervised by Prof. dr. ir J. Hensen and Dr. ir. R. Loonen. “I knew this group already and I kept track of their work because they are very reputed in my field of work. So when I found there was an opening for a PDEng position here in Eindhoven, I acted immediately and applied.”

From New Delhi, London and Singapore to Eindhoven
Moving to another country wasn’t new to Oindrila. Oindrila is an architect by training and holds a masters degree in Sustainable Environmental Design from the Architectural Association, London. Before her masters, she had also worked for a year as a registered architect in a multinational architectural firm in New Delhi, India. She has also worked as a researcher at the MIT-International Design Centre at Singapore University of Technology and Design. “In Singapore, I realized I didn’t want to be specifically in academia for the rest of my life. I want to work in a more industrial environment. This PDEng helps me achieve what I really want: getting back in the industry. My ideal job in the future would be at a building physics research department within a company where I can work on cutting edge technical issues and new challenges.”

After living in New Delhi, London and Singapore, living in Eindhoven is quite different. “Yes, Eindhoven has a smaller scale, but that also means it has a more relaxed pace. Singapore is so high tech and fast, you need to keep up. Eindhoven is on a humane level more easy-going. The people are very kind here. Of course, I lived in London before, so I knew the western European way of life a bit. I knew I could handle the gloomy weather in the fall and wintertime. I can say that my transfer to Eindhoven went seamless. The only difficult thing was finding a house. The housing market is quite crazy in Eindhoven. Luckily I was just in time to register for a studio when they came available online. Within 5 minutes both studios were gone.”

Improving different skills
Every faculty with a PDEng programme chooses its content for the two-year program. In some you work on projects with a group and in others, like Oindrila’s, you work on your own. “I work with all kinds of different disciplines. The work I´m doing is pushing the innovation bubble. Currently, I’m working for a startup on indoor shading with sun tracking. This also involves educating the market on indoor shading and the advances of it. I love finding solutions to improve a product for the market and looking at it from an entrepreneurial view. In my work, I’m well supported by my supervision advisor and PhD colleague.”

Oindrila also adds a lot to her skills set in all kinds of different workshops and courses. “At the start of my traineeship, I did a personality screening here at the university. It helps to take a good look at what skills you lack. For instance, I learned a lot in the workshop about time management and time planning. In the west, cultures are more monochronic with fixed plans and tight time schedules. The more you move to the south and east, the more polychronic a culture gets. So it helps me a lot to learn about the differences. A  workshop about working with people from different backgrounds gave me new insights.  I’m also learning Dutch. First the basics and later on more focused on my field of work. Most of the time bylaws are in Dutch and I want to be able to read them.”

Better job opportunities with a PDEng traineeship
“I’m sure my PDEng traineeship helps to get better job opportunities. To people who think about getting a bit more technological knowhow, have a hands-on mentality and want to work in the industry, a PDEng is something for them. If you are more into research and teaching, you are probably happier at a PhD position. With a PDEng you gain work experience in the field, which is definitely a plus in your future career.”

Interested in PDEng vacancies? Check the websites of Eindhoven University of Technology, Delft University of Technology and University of Twente