Episode Notes | Episode Transcript

Episode Notes

Episode Title: Dr Subhasish Dasgupta. In pursuit of a passion from Calcutta to George Washington University.

Episode summary introduction: Dr Subhasish Dasgupta was smitten by a nascent field called Information Systems, while doing his MBA at University of Calcutta. Dr Dasgupta traces his journey of how he transformed that passion into a career in academia at George Washington University.

In particular, we discuss the following with him:

  • Being a PhD student at Baruch College, NY
  • The dive into academia
  • How students have changed over the last few decades
  • What is George Washington University looking for in their students

Topics discussed in this episode:

  • Calcutta Beginnings [2:32]
  • Picking Baruch College, NY for PhD [5:26]
  • The Baruch Years [10:01]
  • Research in Group Decision Making and AI [14:07]
  • The Academia Plunge! [16:14]
  • The 1st Job: Fairleigh Dickinson University [20:27]
  • The Move to George Washington University [22:20]
  • Teaching Load at GW [27:16]
  • Research and Teaching Areas at GW [29:18]
  • Looking back at Students at GW over the years [33:02]
  • What does GW look for in their students? [36:33]
  • Parting Thoughts: Pick Colleges with the “right” criteria [39:08]

Our Guest: Dr. Subhasish Dasgupta is an Associate Professor of Information Systems in the School of Business at George Washington University, USA. Prior to that Dr Dasgupta was an Assistant Professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University.

Memorable Quote: "It’s absolutely fine to change your mind!

Episode Transcript: Please visit almamatters.io/podcasts.


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Episode Transcript

Transcript of the episode’s audio.

Venkat  0:12

Most of us may have found a passion or two, in our teenage years.

More often than not, these passions turn out to be a passing fancy, that runs its course before we make it out of the teens.

Hello & Welcome to another episode of College Matters. Alma Matters.

Dr Subhasish Dasgupta was unique, in that he pursued his passion for Information Systems (IS for short) and made a career out of it.

He liked it enough to get a PhD, and is now sharing his passion with the future generations, through his teaching and research at George Washington University.

So, without any delay, Let’s hear his story directly from Dr Dasgupta!

Venkat  1:07  

Hello, Dr. Subhasish Dasgupta?

Dr Dasgupta 1:13

Yes Venkat.

Venkat 1:14

Hi, how are you?

Dr Dasgupta 1:16

Good. Thank you. Good. Thank you.

Venkat 1:18

Welcome to our podcast, College Matters. Alma Matters. Thank you for making the time.

So I thought it would be great opportunity to have you reflect and share your professional journey for our audience. So we are basically catering to international aspirants who typically are looking at studying in the US, Canada, that sort of thing. But typically we are focused on students who are looking to come to the US mainly undergraduate programs at this point.

And so I thought it'd be a great idea to have them hear directly from people like you who are in the system and have been part of the faculty. So I thought it'd be very interesting to sort of talk to you about that.

Dr Dasgupta 2:12

Thank you for having me.

Venkat 2:14

Sure thing.

So maybe the best way to get started is from the beginning as they say. And so, you know, maybe you could share your professional background, and what motivated you to come to the US for your studies.

Dr Dasgupta 2:32 [Calcutta Beginnings]

Well, I came to the US about 30 years ago for my graduate work, my for my doctoral work PhD in Information Systems. And if I go back, in my educational career, I started off with a Bachelor of Science a BS or BSc, as they call it in India, BSc in Physics and then and an MBA In information systems and operations research. It was it was at that time after I finished the MBA in Information Systems, I, I realized that that was what I wanted to do with my life. I wanted to work in the area of information systems, but this was in the mid 1980s. So which is very early on in this the computing revolution, the information revolution, as we see.

And after finishing my MBA, I worked for a year for Wipro Technologies in India. And I realized that I wanted to study further and in, in the area of information systems, and then that it seemed like that the PhD was the next logical step. And that's when I started exploring, coming to the US for a doctor for doctoral work.

There's also a very interesting story - On my family side. My dad, who is, who was an electrical engineer by profession. And he had seen computers come into, he worked for a multinational firms, computers come into his firm. And they were primarily, these were like these huge machines that took up a lot of space. They were mainframes, and all they would do is, you know, crunch numbers, right? And they would print paychecks. And given his background electrical engineering, he thought these machines have no future.

And, and he when, when I surprised him by saying that in my MBA that I loved coding and I wanted to do Information Systems. He basically looked at me and thought that I was I was unemployable. And he this, this kid is not going to get employed in India. So he wants to go abroad, maybe let him go. And that's when he told me that, you know, yeah, wherever you want to go, you go ahead and do it.

And then it was, and but we have have come a long way. Look where computer he couldn't he couldn't have predicted what, what happened to computing and the internet after that.

Venkat 5:15

So you come to the US and, so how did you pick Baruch College? Or? And, you know, how was that experience once you got here?

Dr Dasgupta 5:26 [Picking Baruch College, NY for PhD]

I think picking the college was an important process. Although at that time there was no internet and the way we got access to information about colleges was writing to them directly or to go to the local US Educational Foundation in India, the US EFI and they had these huge libraries and the in the US library centers and things like that, and the US EFI center so I was in Kolkata at that time, at the time called Calcutta and I used to go to this library and spend the entire day going through these books, mostly they were the Peterson’s Guide.

Yeah, they're still around, but maybe in modern electronic form, and go over all of them and, and the things that that drove the selection of colleges, when you look at this big thick book, and you want to reduce the number of colleges that you can apply to that, you know, that you cannot apply to many of them because you just have to work with maybe five or 10 colleges at the most. And you're looking at five colleges, because even those application fees were very expensive.

And so then reducing that list you go by discipline first and you take all the Information Systems and going to a Ph. D program, it was a little easier for me because there are 3000 odd colleges in the US. Look at only the doctoral granting institutions that might just bring it down to I don't know the exact number, but I'm just showing up at that time could have been maybe 200 to 250 giving, giving doctoral in the in, in the Information Systems area.

 So then reducing it to that, that and then then looking for the good schools then of course, the obvious names, the big names, the ivy League's. Yeah, you know, the Columbias  and and then you know the and the non Ivy's also but good state schools like the, like University of Virginia and others.

So we looked at all these, all these, I looked at all these things and all these colleges and reduced the number that I probably could apply to, to a subset of, you know, to a number of around 2025.

 Forgive me It's been a long time. So I'm trying to Oh, yeah. And, and then, and then came down to a list of about 15 that I wrote to. And to say that I'm interested in that I'm sure program I want to look at the curriculum and you know, I want to and then what was the most important thing at the time and I'm sure it is even now, as you know, what kind of financial aid do you provide? You know, tuition waivers or graduate assistantships and, and things that can help me with my, with my studies. And that's how I restricted the list down to five. Actually, about five or seven colleges, and I remember exactly the number and then I applied to those colleges. Among those colleges, I think it got it was very competitive, I thought, or maybe my selection was maybe I was reaching too high. And I got admission to two colleges. I don't remember the second one offhand. But it was a state school. I think it was in Iowa, Iowa State, one of those colleges and in the doctoral program and that was Baruch and I also had a cousin who had just moved to New Jersey at the time, and of course, the attraction of New York. Yeah.  

And the reason I decide on Baruch was the they gave me a full, full aid, a free ride for for four years. And that clinched the decision for me.

Although, you know, these are things that I think most students should or aspiring candidates should look at is that, you know, first of all, the brand that you're applying to, you know, what kind of aid is available? And then, you know, there are other aspects to look at, but we can discuss that further.

Venkat 9:48

So, um, so once you're in Baruch, how was that experience? I mean, obviously, big change, but how does your reflect look back, How did you feel that went?

Dr Dasgupta  10:01  [The Baruch Years]

That was interesting because, New York at that time, and this way, I'm talking about the late 80s until 19 88, 89. So New York is was very different from what it is. Now. You might even argue that New York is the same was 30 years ago. But yes, sometimes most of it is the same. But But the thing is that it was it was a, it was a different city in a way.

Because when I came here, one thing that really helped me in in being an engineer, and let me talk about the location first and then actually talk about Baruch is that the fact that my cousin my first cousin had moved to New Jersey and been there I had some family to pick me up from the airport and you know, take them take me home and then help me find an apartment in New York City. So that helped a lot, and that that extended network And not everyone has that can be really helpful.

New York, Baruch was excellent. Baruch was excellent in the sense that it was it had a very strong research component in their program that strong researchers from some top some top researchers in the areas of information systems so then I had all these well known professors who I could work with, and explore my interests because even within Information Systems, I had to choose a sub area to specialize in. So then in the doctoral program after doing a set of coursework, of course, but, but that helped a lot. They're having such such brilliant people around me and my fellow students as well. So it was Baruch was an excellent experience in terms of academic side.

The, the thing that I, that Baruch could not provide was the fact that it was not campus-based school and so it was a lot in, in in the US as you are aware. There are, you know,most of the big, most of the schools, well, I should not say most of the schools, a large number of the schools are in rural areas. Not in metropolitan cities.

Now, that is a decision I think most applicants should make, they should decide whether they want to go to the to a metropolitan area to do their studies, or should they go to a to a state school in a location where they are further away from the big metropolitan center advantages to each one of them.  

[In] Metropolitan area, though I had a full scholarship and all that, but I quickly realized that being in New York City even that's full scholarship could only take me so much, you know, could do so much for me. And, and basically, it's very expensive.

Everything is expensive in New York. And as somebody had told me before I had left India to come to New York is that remember New York is New York, New York is not America. And it is it has its own vibe. It has its own pace in which things work and it is really, really are expensive, really expensive to find an apartment and things like that.

So, those are choices that students have to make, whether to be enrolled in the rural areas, you can you can live you know, the cost of living is much lower as compared to to the more expensive metropolitan cities. But the thing to consider is once you finish your degree, then you might want to move into this bigger cities or the suburbs or bigger cities where the jobs are.

Venkat  13:55  

So then, so what did you end up specializing in I mean, as you went through your Ph. D program, or was it pretty broad? Or did you get very focused?

Dr Dasgupta 14:07  [Research in Group Decision Making and AI]

Well, you'll be surprised, because at that time and when I talk about 30 years ago, or 25 years ago when I finished my PhD, right, some of the things that we were working on people are working on now. And and my dissertation was on Group Decision making and Artificial Intelligence. Wow. So if you think about artificial intelligence that has come a long way, because it was 25 years ago, I was working on that same area. And at that time, we didn't have the kind of versatile computers the speed of computing the ability to store large amounts of data that we have now.

And and but some of the concepts that are being used now had been developed 2030 years ago, and and there was a lot of talk about artificial intelligence taking on you know, taking over the world and all that. But it did not take off in there was a lot of venture capital and, and a lot of interest in the business community at the time, but it's somehow the research could never catch up with the commercialization of that concept. What, that is one thing that has changed now 25 years later, so my dissertation was on Decision Support Systems and, and Artificial intelligence.

Venkat 15:40

No, that's I mean, you know, you're absolutely right. And I think part of the AI boom is also thanks to availability of lots of data, lots of interactions, thanks to the mobile devices and all that. So it's a combination of things, but certainly, certainly way ahead of its time in the early 90s, for sure.

Venkat 15:53

So, once you finished your PhD I guess you decided to go into academics. So what did you, you know, so how did that decision happen? And how is your next step in that journey?

Dr Dasgupta  16:14  [The Academia Plunge!]

Well, that is one thing that I probably should have thought about much before I applied for my doctoral program. And I think that is something that most of, most students and applicants should consider. And, and that's one one of my, the lessons that I learned and maybe it was a little too late by the time we realized it was.

Remember I mentioned that when I was applying for programs I thought I had an MBA and I asked I want to do more studies I want to know more in this area. So the next logical thing was doing a doctoral program once what I did not realize or did not catch in my in my, excuse me in my, in my research of all the institutions and the field in general is that most doctoral programs are research oriented. They prepare people for jobs in academia where they can teach, do not prepare prepare people for jobs in industry, at least there are there are more steps I shouldn't say all but most IS doctoral programs, PhD programs, prepare people for jobs in, in academia and not in industry because most of our researches academic research were trained in that were trained to teach and things like that.

So, for me, it was a logical move when I finished my doctoral program and all my faculty and, and and my professors, they were all helping me find academic jobs. That's what's the logical because I was prepared for that kind of a career.

I should have probably talked about this much earlier. Well, before I applied for the doctoral program, what does this degree prepare me for? Because I probably would not have gone into academia had somebody asked me that question four years before I finished. So because if I had known that I probably would not have come for a doctoral for doctoral studies, I probably would have come for something like an MS and in computer science or IT.

So that's how the transition happened, to from, from finishing my doctoral program to moving into academia that seemed to illogical and I can't complain in the sense that I still I love doing what I was doing. I love doing research I learned how to teach while being an apprentice in The doctoral program.

But I never thought about, you know, I always thought that I should have been in industry and I've never really thought about a career in academia before I went into the doctoral program. So those are things that people should consider. What is this degree preparing me for? Is this something that I want to do for maybe the next 10 years? Maybe that next 15 years and not and for me, maybe my entire career?

Venkat 19:25

Sure, sure. Yeah, but lots of times, lots of times good, You know, good things happen when you don't, you know, over over-engineer it.

Dr Dasgupta  19:37  

That's true, Yeah.

Venkat  19:39  

Yeah. So you know, you never know.

Dr Dasgupta 19:40

I can’t, I can't complain. I think about it. It is also a backdoor. I'm, I'm an academic, but I also consult a lot now. So I did get back into my industry side of, that I wanted to do, I do a lot of consulting also in the delivery of educational programs in the design of master's programs and the delivery of those programs. So I did get back into that. eventually, after, after finishing my doctoral work and starting my academic career,

Venkat  20:18  

So, there you go. You got the best of both worlds.

Dr Dasgupta 20:20

Thank You!

Venkat  20:28  

Okay, so how was your first teaching experience, then once you finished your PhD? You went to Fairleigh right?

Dr Dasgupta  20:27  [The 1st Job: Fairleigh Dickinson University]

Yeah, yeah, I was at Fairleigh Dickinson University, that is a private school in New Jersey. It's about, let's see about 20 miles 15-20 miles west of Manhattan and New York and it's in Manhattan it's across, on the New Jersey side across the river of the Hudson River on today in the New Jersey side. And so technically considered to be a suburb of it's in Teaneck, one campus is in Teaneck, which is considered to be a suburb of of New York. And there was another campus in Madison, New Jersey, which was the Floral Park, New Jersey, which happened to be the headquarters of Bell Labs back in the days. Where most of the research took place.

And that's when it started first, that was my first job, first academic job and the market. There was a market downturn at that time, so it was very difficult to get jobs. And so that was my first job. And I worked there for three years.

And then my son was born in 1999. And that is when I applied to and got a job at George Washington University in Washington, DC. And then I've been there since 19, and I've been here at Washington DC at George Washington since 1999.

Venkat  22:03  

So tell me a little bit about... So yeah, so now you go from a small school to slightly biggish school. So how is that transition? And then, yeah, let's start there and then sort of dive into GW.

Dr Dasgupta  22:20  [The Move to George Washington University]

Yeah, I think in terms of schools they were very different.

For the first job, it was a good one because Fairleigh Dickinson was more of a teaching institution and in academia, but the way they look at jobs is that where is this university in terms of its research component, teaching component of the service component. So if you start thinking about academic jobs, in a professor's jobs and any, any university, it's basically three parts you're in your job consists of three parts. One is the research. And the second is the teaching. And the third is service services.

You know, advising students and And you know going to committees, planning on because most universities are self governed universities you know they don't so there's a lot of emphasis is on faculty, staff, making the decisions, coming up with policies, and self-governing their institution. And, and, research and teaching are self explanatory. You know, those are the ones that drive the main components of our jobs.

So the emphasis that is placed on research, teaching and service differs by the university. So if I was Fairleigh Dickinson the emphasis was more on teaching, because it's more of a teaching institution. And so we had more classes to teach, but the expectations on the research side was lower. So if I put down in percentages, I would say the research was 90% teaching was, was about 40% and, and the other 40% was service. Ok? Maybe you can even say the teaching was 50%. And service was 30%. But the research was relatively research was a lower priority, small, smaller emphasis on research and teaching.

And then when I moved to GW, GW, George Washington is short called GW and every university has a small acronym that goes with it. So, sometimes you will get confused because people refer to it because if they are part of that Univrsity, they said, Oh, I went to UH. I said, of course, UH is... and what is that supposed to mean? So, it could be it could be the University of Hartford, University of Houston. Yeah. Yeah, University New Hampshire any one of those things. So...

So GW is, is a research one institution, so it's in Carnegie kind of classification. It's the highest classification of institutions. Since a Research One institution where the expectation for research is very high. So there, it was a big change from the friendly Dickens. But that was what I have been prepared for, in my doctoral program, more research with lesser teaching.

And so here [GW], I would say the research was about 40% of my time, and my expectation from teaching was about another 40% very little service requirement. So it was a big change. I had to teach less, but I had, to the quality of teaching definitely was expected was higher, whereas the research output was, was much, much higher. So that was a big change between institutions.

And the other big difference was, and I can talk about GW in general is, is that George Washington University is what, what I would call a Full-Service University which has on a And disciplines that you can take off. And there might be some that we may miss but maybe we don't have a dental school but we actually have an Engineering School and a School of Engineering, a School of Arts and Sciences. You know, for the Pure Sciences, then we have a Business School or a School of Business that handles all the business degrees we have a Law School, you have a med, Medical School.

So we have, it is basically a Full-Service University. So that was also a big difference from Fairleigh Dickinson which which didn't have all, the, all of them, but, but had some very good business school and and, the engineering school was pretty good over there. So tha,t that, that was the difference, and also George Washington happened to be in a metropolitan area. So my, my whole life that I was yearning for being in a campus kind of school in the rural areas that never happened for me!

So that's that's my, that's the difference between George Washington and Fairleigh Dickinson, the transition.

Venkat  27:16  [Teaching Load at GW]

So now when you said teaching, how much how's that divided across undergrad and graduate students? Or is that, how much have you been personally involved in teaching from a teaching point?

Dr Dasgupta  27:31

I teach, generally and in any given year, I think most of my teaching is at the graduate level. At this point. I teach about, we generally teach about four courses a year. And I teach one course in the summer, which is undergraduate whereas all my other courses are graduate courses.

And, but it was different when I first started as a junior professor as an Assistant Professor I first came in to George Washington, it was primarily undergraduates. And it was, I was teaching all my courses were undergraduate courses. And I taught that for about three years before I moved to teaching graduate courses.

And remember at that time, as, as 29 year old, 30 year old, most of my students were undergraduate students, were not not much younger than me and graduate students were a lot older than me. So I was, I used to be confused, and I walked into George Washington, walking to the library, I got carded a few times, once you know, they get carded means, they ask me show me a student, what are you doing? To convince them I was a member with my GW. So, so that's that's my load. It's mostly graduate class at this point.

Venkat  28:59  

What, A little bit about your what types of courses and specialization. I mean, obviously, what kind of courses did you teach? And what kind of research? You know, obviously, over the 20 years, a lot of lot would have changed. But just a quick sort of overview or thumbnail sketch of the types of things

Dr Dasgupta 29:18  [Research and Teaching Areas at GW]

In terms of teaching, I teach courses in Systems development and software development is my area of expertise. So and I think it goes back to that, that my research and in AI and Decision Support Systems and developing AI based systems, but I didn't do that in, in the in the classes I teach the two they are more traditional software development of traditional systems analysis and design what in engineering we call software engineering, and so that is my area of expertise.

Now I teach in recent years, I've been teaching web application development, cloud applications, most In the open source area, PHP, my SQL, basically the LAMP stack, as we call it. So I'm teaching more of the technical courses in that, in the area. That's my teaching expertise and what I've done.

In terms of research, my research is on the factors that it's more Management Oriented rather than technical. I've done some code, I've done research in the area of code quality of determining the quality of code, but that's a very open field. It has never been, no clear metric or no clear metrics yet for for code quality, and that's also because the area, the whole field is changing so fast that you know, the code quality concepts also keeping up with the new programming languages, the new technologies that come along, it's just playing catch up. That's one.

The other is in the the management side of the factors that influence technology acceptance, you know, Why do I use iPhone? Why do I stream? you know, what, what and what makes me accept technology and you know, what are the factors that that govern that, you know, that helps me accept the technology and there are there are the obvious ones that is how useful it is. And and the and, and the fact is that you, that determines whether you use the technology or not. And the other factor there are also many psychological factors that we don't need to take into account. Things like branding that I need to be seen using this technology I need I need this Apple watch on my, on my wrist because it is not, it's not the question of it being useful to me, but other people should see that. I have So, you know, that kind of thing happened.

There's also psychological factors to it. So my the technological factors that influence technology, acceptance is also another area, I've also delved into organizational culture and how that influences acceptance of technology in organizations. And, and, and some of the, you know, open source acceptance or diffusion of open source technologies. So, those are my research areas, which are quite entrenched and the management principles.

Venkat  32:36  

So, so if you were to kind of look at students, you know, over the last 20 years, just how have students changed? How do you think, do you see, obviously, you, you know, I'm sure there's a difference between students from 1999 and 2020. So, what what do you think are the kinds of changes that you've seen, or how's that evolved?

Dr Dasgupta 33:02    [Looking back at Students at GW over the years]

I think universities have become global players just following the way in which corporations and, have become global. And you know, we have become a much smaller world in the last 20 years with, with terms of, and maybe because I don't know which one you know, but you know, you can talk about it as like the chicken and egg problem. But the increased air travel, the reduced tariffs, the increased movement of goods and services across nations. Did they drive companies becoming global or did companies become global and that and travel and movement of people followed after that?

But the fact is that as we have opened up, universities have become global as well. And in the last 20 years, we have seen different diversity of our student population has really increased. I think it's become a really an enriching experience for both the students as well as for the faculty. They have, they have students from they have students from all over the world, and they're coming for all kinds of degrees from undergraduate, graduate, as well as doctoral degrees.

And, and, you know, they bring with them, their, their culture, their educational systems, their their academic backgrounds, and, and it's a really, it's a melting pot within the university and in the US is considered to be the melting pot, but it's also within it's a university itself, it's maybe a smaller melting pot within this bigger melting pot.

And it's I would, I would and I'm digressing a little bit I would strongly recommend that individuals and especially students in their, in their teens and 20s, to spend some time abroad, it doesn't have to be the US, it doesn't have to be Canada or North America for that matter, but do get a degree abroad, because it can broaden your horizons because it can change the way you think about things. It can bring a different perspective, it can make you a global citizen.

And, and it doesn't matter whether you decide to stay there or you want to go back to your home country. It's just that it will make you a better individual and a much, much more complete individual, if I may say so.

So that, you know, the, in the 20 years I've seen the movement of students that, how our student our student population has become more international as well as within the US. very diverse and it is really an enriching experience.

Venkat  36:10

A couple of final thoughts I want to get from you. One is, now that you're steeped in the GW culture, wha,t what is, what do you think GW is looking for in undergraduate students? So, if there are students out there listening to this, what is, what is it that GW is looking for in incoming students undergraduates?

Dr Dasgupta  36:33  [What does GW look for in their students?]

I think GW is just like any other big private institution or public institution, which is, you know, a research oriented institution and in the US, is looking for students with strong academic credentials. That is for sure.

That is somebody who has done well in whichever program that they have been, they have been studying in. If they're coming in to GW as an undergraduate, they, whether it's a science background, with a science background or with, with an engineering background have done well in the relevant courses and academic preparation in their,their in the high schools and that, you know, kindergarten through 12 K through 12, education, whichever whatever they've done shift, so they have to have a strong academic background, because the foundations are very important.

Things move very quickly in our universities, we do not mean to as often a lot of work is given for the student to work on their own. So they have to be self-learners, but the most important thing is that they should, they should have a strong academic background.

The second aspect that I think we are looking for, as as they'd have to be well-rounded individuals, you know, they Have some extracurriculars they might be interested in music, they might be, you know, they might be participating in their, their local theatre group or the school theatre group or this play sports or the play cricket. It's not the fact that that cricket will bring them here and that we want somebody to play cricket in the US. But the fact is that the ability to share experience with others, other people, to work together in teams, all the things that sports teaches us, you know, sports, you know, playing organized sports teaches us that, you know, the ability to work as a team on a soccer field. All those things show a side of the of the students or the applicants character and and experience Yes, and that makes that that individual more complete, I think.

I don't know I don't I'm not completely familiar with all aspects of undergraduate admissions. But, But the thing means that the more the individual does, both academically and otherwise outside, outside academics, the more complete picture the admissions departments have about the individual.

Venkat 39:08   [Parting Thoughts: Pick Colleges with the “right” criteria]

So, I think the last word from you would be I mean, I just you know, what, what, what would you like to share that either within cover from your journey, or some words of wisdom for students out there, or anything else that you want to share?

Dr Dasgupta  39:27

I think, I think we covered most of the things that I wanted to mention, but I think I want to reiterate the diversity in, in institutions in the US and the same in Canada and other parts of the world as well. Not only by location, is it rural? Is it, is it cities and metropolitan that might make a big difference. And when you're choosing schools look into that, look into the most important is your discipline, how good is the school in the discipline? That may be another thing to look into.

And, that is one, one other thing that I wanted to mention and that, that I don't think we had a chance to talk about -  is that, in places in certain parts of the world, let's put it that way, in places like India and other places. When we join an undergraduate program. It's kind of, it's very siloed. So we are once, we become, a join a medical school, we are we are going to finish as a doctor, right?

But it is here in the US. There's a lot of flexibility So do not when even though you apply to come here to become a doctor, or you apply as a as a pre-med, not to become a doctor, but as a pre med student, or you apply to engineering,  remember in this full service universities, you can easily move from engineering to business. Or you can move from business to engineering only that you'll, it'll maybe take you another extra semester to meet all the requirements because all the requirements are different, they're different in different schools within the university circuit.

That is one thing that we never think about, especially as undergraduates in India because once you join an engineering school, you will end up becoming an engineer at the end. But the fact is here, there's so much more flexibility. It is more focused on the student rather than on the institution.

So you can pick and choose what you want, you can switch majors and as they say, and this is completely anecdotal, which is 80% of undergraduates change their major at least three times, in their four years, that four or five years to finish the undergraduate. And it's absolutely fine.

Venkat 42:15

So, yeah, that's a, that's a great point. That's a great point, because I think the at the age of 17, 18, whatever that age is, a student has only so much exposure to, you know, different things that they could be doing or what they are good at, or what their interests might be, etc.

And so, this whole exploration, I think, is what you're talking about when they come to undergrad. And I think that's a fantastic point. And I thanks for bringing it up.

Dr Dasgupta 42:43

And you should be open to it and I think they should be, they should understand that is flexibility and it's absolutely fine change your mind. Right? It's nothing wrong. Like you mentioned, like 17, 18, you cannot decide what you're going to do with the rest of your life. And you could take a couple of classes in, later if you are in business and you're taking some classes in Econ, and then you realize that well, that, that coding course that the course in Python that I took, Oh, I love that, that area. It's absolutely fine to switch. You're not bound to stay in that.

So, so, those are things, that, that, that most applicants should look into!

Venkat  43:41  


So Dr. Dasgupta, this has been truly, truly insightful. And so thanks for sharing your reflections and I think it will be extremely valuable to students that are intending to come over, anywhere, study anywhere and like your point you made - Getting out of your home country and studying somewhere, I think, is a very, very good, great experience for someone to have. So thank you so much for your time.

Dr Dasgupta 43:59

Thank you so much for, thank you very much for having me.

Venkat 44:18

Hello again!

Hope you found Dr Subhasish Dasgupta’s journey in pursuit of his passion, inspiring and informative. In addition to some very good insights about Fairleigh Dickinson and George Washington Universities, there is some very good advice for college-bound students about the kinds of colleges to target.

Thank you all so much for listening to today's podcast.

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Summary Keywords

George Washington University, GW, IS, Information Systems, Baruch College, University of Calcutta, Doctoral Program, MBA, Artificial Intelligence, Group Decision Making, Fairleigh Dickinson University, Baruch College, New York.

Is College in US for you?