Atul Rana is an innovator in the online tutoring space. He worked in several prestigious engineering positions before committing himself fully to his passion of teaching.
1. What is one sentence you would use to describe who you are and what you do?
I am a professional online tutor, teaching school level maths and Science to pupils all over the world.
2. Did you take the GRE? If so, what was your experience studying for the GRE like?
I did my graduate school in the UK and we don’t have the GRE test. Since I got a good degree and knew the academics at my university, it was easy to get started on a PhD.
3. Why did you decide to go to grad school? What program did you attend? How did you choose your specific program?
I had applied for some Engineering jobs at the time but my heart was just not in it. I wanted to stay at university, study more and make the best of academia for a little while longer, even if it meant opting out of highly paid jobs that my peers were doing!
4. How do you feel your graduate degree has impacted your career?
It has made me a really independent person who can self manage and run a business in the gig economy. During my PhD years I learnt to self manage, conduct research with guidance from my supervisor, write papers, present at conferences and juggle it all with a bunch of hobbies, including singing in a rock group at university. I used video and photography equipment in my PhD research and also to film my group. This was in the early 2000s. It is no surprise that when it came to teaching online I was already well versed and comfortable in using technology. All these skills, when put together, have made me the online tutor that I am today.
5. Do you have any advice for someone interested in pursuing a PhD in Engineering?
A PhD is going to be hard work and you will be alone a lot of the time in the work you do. There is a chronic shortage of Engineers in the UK, so whatever you do, just stick at it all the way to the end and a world of opportunity will open up.