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La Trobe University

  • 24% international / 76% domestic

Bharat Ratan Sharma

I chose my further study course based on my experience as a telecom engineer.

What did you study at undergraduate level and when did you graduate? What are you studying now? Are you studying and working at the same time?

Initially, I came for my Master of Telecommunications Engineering and later upgraded to Masters of Telecommunications and Networks Engineering. I studied various subjects mostly related to telecommunications and networking which included telecommunication and networks design. Other subject that I studied were communication systems, broadband digital communications, wireless network engineering, advanced network engineering, digital control theory. I am not studying now and am just looking for a full-time work or a permanent role.  

What have been the most important stages of your life?

I studied at St. Cecilia's Public School back in New Delhi, India until my year 9. After which I moved to Kendriya Vidyalaya, Tagore Garden, New Delhi and finished my high school years 10, 11 and 12 with majors in science with biology, maths, physics, chemistry and computers. After which I was interested in graduating in science and moved to another state in India (Gulbarga, Karnataka) for my graduation in electronics & instrumentation engineering. It was a tough decision for me as the place was thousands of miles from my place and I didn't like the food or the place. But, there were a few students from my city and we had a good time together and finally graduated and finished few projects as a team for which we were awarded. I came back to my home town and finally landed a job with a telecommunications company as an RF engineer.

The core technology was CDMA so in almost 3 years CDMA became my expertise and I joined another company as a sr. engineer to execute a project and after this project was finished I joined ericsson as a sr. engineer to provide capacity related solutions for a US telecom operator. After almost 3 years I decided to pursue my masters of engineering as I had always wanted to pursue my masters and was admitted to La Trobe University and came to Melbourne, Australia. La Trobe is a multi cultural university and has a pretty big campus and we had students from various parts of the world working together. Sometimes during the weekends we would meet international students from various countries and share our culture, food, hobbies and experiences.

I was working part-time with few energy companies at the time on the VEET program and as soon as I graduated I got a part-time job with United Petroleum as a console operator. Soon, I got some experience laying the optical fiber network for NBN as a sub-contractor.

How did you get to your current (or most recent) job position and how long have you been working there?

I got my recent job position through a referral. Initially it was a small project and since I was able to execute it with the help of other team mates I got more work. I have been occupied with it for past year now.

What made you decide to progress with further study?

My graduation was a bit tough for me so after gaining some experience as an RF engineer and sr. RF engineer I decided to go for my postgrad. I also wanted to experience a different culture and country altogether so I decided to come to Australia as it had better living standards too when I applied for my postgrad degree. 

How did you choose your particular further study course (compared to others)? / Were you weighing up any alternative degrees or career pathways before choosing this qualification?

I chose my further study course based on my experience as a telecom engineer. I was weighing up doing an MBA from a few prestigious universities in Europe and Australia but decided to do it from La Trobe as my application was approved there earlier and there was an early start for the session. 

What was the process to get accepted into your course? What were the prerequisites?

There was an application process that I had to go through. After my application was sucessful I applied for an expression of interest to come to Australia as a postgradute student. My application was successful and I was granted a student visa to come and complete my postgraduate study in Melbourne, Australia. There were few pre-requisites like experience, IELTS score and a bachelor's in related field or engineering. 

What does your study involve? Can you describe a typical day? (if it’s difficult to describe a typical day, tell us about the last thing you worked on?)

My study involved network design and various other subjects. A typical day would be attending lectures and practical work and understanding how various software worked and implementing them in network solutions. The design part was really difficult as it all had to be designed and simulations run over and over again to get the desired results. Most of the time was spent in removing errors or achieving better results.

Will this course be beneficial in your career? Where could you or others in your position go from here? Please explain your answer.

The course was a bit beneficial in my career as after I graduated I was in a different industry altogether but was working part time in another job related to my field of expertise and yes it did help me in day-to-day life as I was able to do few things myself from what I learnt at the university and wasn't in need of an expert to do the job for me.

What do you love the most about your course?

I loved the practical classes in my group wherein one could design the network and see the results on simulations. The various projects that we finished as a group were also beneficial as we learned a lot from each other and how to work as a team. There were hours of studies and collaboration before examinations which sometimes left us exhausted and finishing the exams successfully was the best part as we saw and realised our efforts were being rewarded.

What are the limitations of your course?

There were hardly any internships or hiring procedures for the course I was in. Though, there were few companies for which one had to apply for but, they had very limited internships and am not even sure if someone got any. Another limitation is that it is a purely technical course so if someone wants to get into the management side after completing this course it can be a bit difficult for them which shouldn't be the intention initially as it is a master of engineering and is designed to make specialists in the field or industry.

Which three pieces of advice would you give to a current undergraduate student? They don’t necessarily have to be related to your studies, or even to one’s professional life.

To look for internships if they can find one with a good company. Pursue your course diligently. Some students get into the trap of part-time jobs to pay their tuition fees etc. which can sometimes hinder their learning and education and keep them from rewards they can achieve after completing their course successfully. A balance between their work and student life can help them achieve better results on both fronts.