In 2013, I led nine juniors as the collegiate team captain for EffiCycle – an SAE India competition to build a human-cum-electricity powered trike. We would be evaluated on design, performance, and business viability. However, working without any experienced mentors was challenging – we were the first team ever from our college.
As the captain, I managed the work distribution and handled all the ad-hoc tasks (accounting, permissions, arrangements, etc.). Based on my experience, I also helped my teammates to analyze the engineering/manufacturing ideas considering the viability and feasibility. I was also directly involved in designing and fabrication of the overall trike.
Fabrication was the toughest phase as only I had a previous experience in fabricating a vehicle. So, I took the lead and helped my teammates at every phase: deciding which parts to use, procurement, cost, manufacturing, etc. We did critical testings and made changes till we were satisfied with the trike performance. Then we transported the trike halfway across India to Chandigarh.
After struggles from researching to manufacturing, accounting to transportation, conflicts to collaborations, and breakdowns to contesting, we persisted to finish 22nd nationally. We were appreciated specifically for our design, steering and other innovations. After coming back to college, we donated our trike to the workshop for future teams.
As a captain, my goal was not just to fabricate a wonderful trike, but also that my teammates can make the best out of this lifetime learning experience. I was successful in doing so. After the competition, I was honored to select and mentor a new 2014 team. I decided to form 2014 team of sophomores, and requeted 2013 team to mentor 2014 team on-campus. They finished 11th. Even after I graduated, this cultural foundation of ‘team-mentoring-team-on-campus’ is intact. Last month, I visited my college to meet the current team that finished 6th and won the Best Innovation Award. At college, I intended to learn engineering, but I also learned the values of teamwork. I have enjoyed such engineering management experiences, and now I wish to deploy more such innovations.
On March 10, 2015, I represented my college at the Festival of Innovation at the President's House (Rashtrapati Bhavan) with a poster about our trike.
Team: Aasrith Kandula, Ashish Dhangar, Ashwani Upadhyay, Debajyoti Khawas, Chaithanya Chenna, M. Abhishikth, Manu Khandelwal (Captain), Naresh Jamnani, Prashant Singh, Prerit Rodney, Vaibhav Awachat (Vice Captain).
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