Suyash Singh is a Y17 graduate student of IIT Kanpur in the Mechanical Engineering Department. In this blog, he shares his experience from the application process to being awarded the HONDA Y-E-S Award 2019.
“Everything starts with a dream. An idea. A thought. What goes on from there, is where we take it — that’s really what the Power of Dreams represents.”
— Steve Morikawa, VP, Corporate Community Relations, Honda
I read this fancy quote branding the Honda tagline - "The Power of Dreams" at the HCIL (Honda Cars India Ltd), Honda India Headquarters, Noida, when I was there for my final interview round for the Honda YES award. I write this here because it truly sums it all - My experience of the Honda YES journey.
Honda YES (and the additional YES plus) award is an academic-cum-research scholarship awarded to 14 selected students across the top IITs through a streamlined process consisting of 3 broad stages. Honestly, I never gave a thought to being among those 14 someday. When the mail regarding the scholarship announcement came in, I looked upon their website to see more. The group photo of the previous awardees, visible upfront upon opening the website, gave me the thought. I read more and found my interests inclined with the concept of Honda YES. I filled out the application form (more of a personal questionnaire) and submitted it moments before the deadline (Yes, I'm that 11.59 guy!). Next, everything just followed.
The Honda YES scholarship promotes students to study, explore, and research in the field of Eco-technology. The Eco-technology concept instantiates a philosophy of innovating solutions and building eco-friendly and sustainable mechanisms but not with a compromise on efficiency and performance. To relate better, consider the brimming EV revolution. IC engines, assumed the most complicated mechanical incarnations of human intelligence, with all their beauty and power and a history of more than 100 years, are now facing competition with brushless DC motors! Driven by batteries! The classic thermodynamic piston system is being replaced by a mechatronic motor device that was in front of our civilization all along. Eco-technology is much more than solar panels and wind turbines, and I feel my entire YES experience has not just been about facing interviews. I have realized a lot more in terms of subject knowledge and a futuristic vision that resonates with Eco-technology. So, all in all, if you happen to have rigor for the subject or the slightest interest in the field, I would definitely recommend you to apply for the Honda YES program, and then, there are other perks as well :)
Here on, I have detailed the selection process stage-wise, as it streamed in my case:
Stage 1: Application response form + CPI criteria
The shortlist for an on-spot essay round is released based on the application form responses and the CPI criteria. The form is usually a reflection of your profile and your views about yourself. Fill the form diligently as it counts even at the later stages of the process.
Stage 2: On-spot Essay round
The on-spot Essay round is based on a topic/current issue/phenomenon related to environmental conservation and strategies to develop eco-friendly solutions to those issues/topics/etc. The 1-hr Essay is yet another platform to express your opinions and concerns about the given topic and some workarounds or solutions to the problem posed. The only preparation that might be helpful is; framing your vision of the Eco-technology concept and updating yourself with the current developments in the field. You may prefer to mention some recent advancements made or refer to some research in the area to tackle the issues highlighted along with the essay topic. Again, write the Essay honestly, as it might turn out to be on the Interviewer's desk in the next stage!
Stage 3: Institute-level Interview round
This is the first interview round for the process and took place at Lucknow. The aim is to evaluate the candidate on the grounds of his technical knowledge and academic merit. At the same time, consider their perspective on Eco-technology as a field. There can be questions related to the candidate's motivation behind applying for the scholarship and their vision of the Eco-tech field, their professional career, and how these two go along. There can be questions on the Essay submitted in the On-spot Essay round and from the application form.
The preparation content is varied here, but having good knowledge of Eco-technology and related fields dramatically helps. Other than this, the usual preparation of one's resume and an in-depth review of one's own goals and aspirations will prove beneficial.
Stage 4: Final interview round (at HCIL, Honda India Headquarters, Noida)
Before the final stage, the candidate gets a hard copy of the Autobiography of Soichiro Honda, the founder of Honda. The book is truly inspiring and beautifully scripted. It is suggested that we go through the book before the final interview.
The final stage is a rich learning experience irrespective of anything. There is a lot that goes on, including a Media Interview, a Factory visit, a Project presentation, and then the Interview. Conclusion: travel and accommodation are handled by Honda, so you can't really decide whether to have fun or prepare! The best part is meeting and interacting with highly talented individuals from other IITs and building great connections along the way. Cutting short, the final round covers up everything that gets left out at Stage3. The panelist set is different, and the questions are more technical concerning the resume and the subject of Eco-technology. A few questions can be from the takeaways from the life of Soichiro Honda (which can be referenced from the Autobiography). The preparation for this round is not much different from Stage3 and should not be stressed upon much. Instead, I'll personally advise you to have your time well spent at the HCIL Headquarters!
The final ceremony!
This is something which, even I wish to, won't be able to put into words. And hence, I leave this for you to script on your own version of it after you successfully mark your presence among the fortunate 14 ;) Wishing you all the best!
“Looking back on my work, I feel that I was doing nothing more than mistakes, blunders, and serious omissions. But I am proud of the achievements. Although I made one mistake after another, my mistakes and failures never occurred for the same reasons.” – Soichiro Honda
Written by: SUYASH SINGH, Y17-ME (Honda Y-E-S 2019 Awardee)