Ask an Alum: Hrishikesh Athalye

October 30, 2019

Hrishikesh is a recent graduate alumnus who decided to remain in Clemson IE after graduation working as a research intern for Dr. Tugce Isik in the area of stochastic modeling and optimization with a focus on the management of novel delivery channels for retail operations.

Hrishikesh Athalye

Year Graduated:

Degree from Clemson:
MS Industrial Engineering

What are you doing now?
I am currently doing a research internship in the Department of Industrial Engineering at Clemson University.

Can you tell us a little about your research?
I specialized in operations research field during my MS program. I am working under the guidance of Dr. Tugce Isik. I am working on optimization related to the recent advances in the retail industry particularly any service provider environment where people give their orders and receive service at a later point in time. I am working on developing a mathematical model of the system and characterizing the optimal operational decisions the service provider must take in order to reduce the total cost while completing all the orders and we consider many different factors to make it as realistic as possible. This, in my opinion, may lead to significant changes in the current systems in place.

How did your experience at Clemson University help you find your first position after graduation?
The courses offered at Clemson relevant to my area of specialization gave me the required knowledge for the research project I am working on. In addition to the courses, I was able to get to know the specific areas of research of the faculty which helped me narrow down who I wanted to work with and got an opportunity to apply my knowledge in a more application-based setting. The Clemson Career Fair helped me in networking with various companies.

If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently?
One important thing I would do differently is I would get involved with the various official organizations like IISE, ASQ and SME etc more. These organizations provide a useful platform for learning as well as personality development.

What would you look for if you were in the position to hire new graduates from Clemson?
I would focus on how much knowledge a student has relevant to the position he/she is applying for irrespective of the specific grades obtained on that subject. In addition to that, being a team player, the willingness to learn new things, communication and leadership skills are very vital. The student should have a good background in other areas apart from academics.

What advice would you give to current IE students?
1) Know what you like: Introspect and see which specialization you like and opt for the relevant courses so that you will have the required knowledge of your specific field. If you just opt for the easy and generic courses, it will be harder for you to sell your skillset to your prospective employer. Do not focus on taking easier courses just for good grades.
2) Get to know the various faculty members and get involved with various student and professional organizations. Networking is the key to a successful career.
3) Work on building your resume on all the different facets, not just academics.
4) Practical Experience: Start early and do as many internships and co-ops as possible – there is no substitute for practical training. Experience is the best teacher!

Can you tell us about your internships?
I did my first internship during my undergrad back in India. I got to work on the shop floor and installed a new mechanism designed and manufactured by my team, from scratch. I got to learn the problems faced when practically designing a machine. These problems cannot be understood just by learning theoretically about the concept of design. I understood all the concepts better once I applied them. We predominantly use rules of thumb in practice which arent covered in academics. My second internship here at Clemson was the research internship that I am still doing. I get to work on a real-life problem using the things I learned in class. I did not have time with my coursework and research to do multiple internships here in the U.S. unfortunately but I do wish I had managed things better and gotten some other practical experience.

What was your favorite part of your time at Clemson?
I really enjoyed learning from the excellent faculty here at Clemson. They made my experience enjoyable. I got an opportunity to work with the department of campus recreation at Clemson University for 2 years and that has been one of the most unique and rewarding experiences I have had. It really helped me grow and mature as a person in addition to the various learning opportunities I got. I cannot forget to mention the football experience – utterly amazing! Supporting these champions has been an absolute pleasure! Go Tigers!

What do you see for yourself in the future?
I see myself going into the industry and working in a position directly related to operations research and optimization. I really would like to apply myself in a creative problem-solving environment rather than a traditional job.

Follow Hrishikesh on social media! 

Facebook – Hrishikesh Athalye
Instagram – hrishi40
LinkedIn – Hrishikesh Athalye