Nikhil Pandey (‘12)
International Alumni Profiles
Degree: M.S. in Systems Engineering (with a concentration in System Automation and Operations Research Management)
Native Country: India
Why NYU Tandon?
I had earned my bachelor’s degree in India in Electronics and Communications Engineering (ECE), and I had long been interested in Robotics. I very much wanted to study with Professor Farshad Khorrami, who runs Tandon’s Control/Robotics Research Laboratory (CRRL), and everything ultimately fell into place.
Was it hard adjusting once you arrived?
New York City was a very different environment for me; in India, I had attended the Jaypee University of Information Technology, which is located in Himachal Pradesh, a beautiful and serene, but relatively outlying mountainous region. Still, I realized that every locale has its differences, and I adjusted very quickly. There are many resources at NYU that are helpful in that process.
What has your career been like?
While still a student, I worked as a graduate assistant for a year at one of NYU’s incubator companies, Zignage, developing low-cost “LED-based touch” screens. After that, I joined CRRL as a graduate assistant for a year, developing a palm-sized auto-pilot controller. I would recommend getting that kind of academic and industry experience to any student, and it was a great benefit having a thriving incubator system right here.
For the last several years I’ve worked at Cummins, a global power leader that designs, manufactures, sells and services diesel and alternative fuel engines from 2.8 to 95 liters, diesel and alternative-fueled electrical generator sets from 2.5 to 3,500 kW, as well as related components and technology. It’s a great company, and interestingly, I found the job at an annual career fair run by the student chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers. My field is very specialized, and I’m grateful that Cummins was recruiting there.
How did your Tandon education prepare you for success?
Everything I studied in the classroom has played a role in my career on a daily basis, and it has also helped that I got to work on a diverse array of projects during my time as a student. Still, while academics is important, it’s not the only thing. The exposure, sports, and extracurricular activities available at NYU have contributed to making me a well-rounded, balanced person.