JEE rank not good? Relax, here’s how you can still get into a great institute

There is a reason the JEE is considered one of the toughest examinations in India, if not the world. The difficulty level of the papers in the exam is not the only reason though. The sheer competitiveness of the exam, owing to a massive number of applicants, is also a factor. When you look at the numbers, you realise how. Over 1.2 million applicants gave JEE Main; the first phase of this really tough exam. Just 2.2 lakh applicants qualified for the next exam – JEE Advanced. That’s a qualifying rate of 18%, roughly equating to 1 in 6 candidates.

Now consider another fact. IITs in India – that take in students qualifying this exam only have a total of a little over 10,500 seats. The qualifying rate is now further reduced to 5%, roughly equating to 1 in 20 students. To put this in perspective, only the top 1% of all applicants actually make it to the IITs.

It’s no wonder why engineering aspirants were eagerly waiting for June 11, 2017. Many of them did it though with a sense of nervousness and apprehension. And when the moment of reckoning did arrive, it filled many hearts with joy while breaking countless more.

According to Rajshekhar Ratrey, VP educational content,, an educational learning platform, candidates with an insufficient AIR (all-India rank) should not lose hope as IITs are not the only way to achieve one’s dreams. Kishore Vaigyanik Protsahan Yojana (KVPY, a scholarship programme funded by the department of science and technology) scores and Olympiad (such as the one conducted by IIT Bombay) count too. Success is a journey and not a milestone. There is more than one way to travel this journey. If candidates haven’t managed to make it to the IITs, here’s Ratrey’s advice on some alternatives they can consider:


Not just IIT,s here are some other institutes you can opt for

1.NITs: Candidates can pursue a career in computer science, electronics, mechanical or chemical engineering in the National Institutes of Technology. Older colleges like Warangal, Trichy and Suratkal are better than some of the newer colleges. Regardless, all NITs will consider JEE Main scores and AIR for admissions.

2.IIITs: Candidates can pursue a career in electronics or computer science in the Indian Institutes of Information Technology. All IIIT colleges consider JEE Main scores with AIR, KVPY and Olympiad scores for admissions. Of them, Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Ahmedabad are some of the good ones to aim for.

3.IIST: If it’s a career in space technology that one seeks, then the Indian Institute of Space Technology is a great choice. Directly managed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), candidates can directly apply for the five-year dual-degree programme with masters, that bolsters their chances of entering ISRO. IIST considers a candidate’s JEE Advanced Score and AIR for admissions.

4.IISc: The Indian Institute of Science, also known as the Tata Institute, is another great option for those contemplating a career in pure sciences and research. These courses are also highly beneficial for those who wish to pursue higher studies. Located in Bengaluru, this institute assesses a candidate’s JEE Main, JEE Advanced, KVPY and Olympiad scores; depending on how many exams the candidate has given.

5.IISER: Another great option for pure sciences and research is the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research in Pune. This institution has published 900 research papers and helps candidates aspiring for a PhD. IISER assesses the JEE Advanced score, state-board percentage of each candidate. If the candidate has given the KVPY exam, its score is considered too.

6.State-funded Institutes: If candidates are unable to get into any of the above national institutions, there are various state institutions that they can apply for.

After completing one of the above courses, candidates can choose to opt for higher studies:


1. IIT and IISER: Candidates get a second shot at IIT which offers an integrated MS + PhD course. They can alternatively choose to pursue this course at IISER.

2. GATE Exam: Candidates can choose to give the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering for admission to postgraduate programmes at IITs, NITs and various other state-funded engineering colleges.


1. M.S: Candidates can pursue their masters from an overseas university. Admissions are granted on the basis of their academic performance and a language test like IELTS or TOEFL. Universities in USA also require GRE and GMAT.

2. Ph.D: Candidates can also choose to pursue a PhD over a master’s degree.

3. Integrated courses (MS + PhD): Candidates can instead of for integrated courses that combine both of the above, at overseas universities.


Not so good: London School of Economics among low-ranked UK varsities

A new official system that ranks UK universities according to their teaching quality has given the thumbs down to some of the most known centres of higher education – including those better known in India such as the London School of Economics (LSE).

The first Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) instituted by the apex Higher Education Funding Council of England released on Thursday is intended to help students make informed choices. A separate Research Excellence Framework ranks the quality of research.

London School of Economics

Many local and international students, including from India, choose universities for their degree courses based on such rankings, which may vary based on differences in criteria used, but drive student numbers in a sector facing major funding cuts in recent years.

The TEF, which has attracted some criticism from the sector, allocates three markers of quality at the undergraduate level: gold, silver and bronze, based on three criteria: teaching quality, learning environment and student outcomes.

Of the 295 universities, colleges and alternative providers of education assessed, 59 were rated as gold, 116 silver and 56 bronze, including LSE.

Also in the bronze category was the School of Oriental and African Studies (Soas), Liverpool, Southampton and Goldsmiths.

The ancient universities of Oxford and Cambridge were given the gold rating.

The LSE, which is popular among Indian students particularly for postgraduate courses, responded to its bronze rating in a statement: “Rigorous academic standards and independence critical analysis are an essential part of undergraduate education at LSE. We recognise that we have work to do but we are confidence that the education initiatives that we have underway will lead to improvements for our students.”

“However, the challenges around TEF and the limits to the measures it employs are also well-documented,” it added.

Madeleine Atkins, Hefce chief executive, said: “Students invest significant amounts of time and money in their higher education. They rightly expect a high-quality learning experience and outcomes that reflect their potential.”

“The UK already has a high bar for quality and standards, which all universities and colleges must meet. But the TEF judges excellence above and beyond this, clearly showing the highest levels across the sector”.


Telecom Sector Woes Do Not Pose Systemic Threat To Banks, Says Fitch

Mumbai: In the wake of recent liquidity crisis at Reliance Communications, global rating agency Fitch Ratings today said though the country’s banks do not have large exposure to the telecom sector, but defaults could affect lenders with weak financials.

“Indian banks’ exposure to troubled telecom companies is not large enough to pose a systemic threat, but defaults could add to problems at banks with weak balance sheets,” the rating agency said in a note here today.

According to Reserve Bank, total debt owed by telcos to banks is only Rs. 91,300 crore, accounting for just 1.4 per cent of all bank loans.

Telecom Sector Woes Do Not Pose Systemic Threat To Banks, Says Fitch

Anil Ambani-led Reliance Communications is struggling to repay Rs. 45,000 crore of debt to its lenders.

Due to weak operating performance and liquidity condition the company and its various debt instruments were downgraded by multiple rating agency including Fitch Ratings.

Last week, the lenders to Reliance Communications agreed to restructure its debt under strategic debt restructuring of Reserve Bank of India. The lenders have given the company a seven month breather to repay a part of the debt.

Fitch further said the credit profiles of the country’s telcos are under pressure from fierce competition stemming from the entry into the market of Reliance Jio last year and rising capex required for the roll-out of 4G services.

“Some companies could find it difficult to service their debt and we have the sector on a negative outlook,” it said.

The banks already have significant asset quality issues that could be made worse by stress in the telco sector.

It, however, said exposure to other troubled sectors is much larger. Lending to iron and steel companies, for example, accounts for 4.7 per cent of total lending. The power sector accounts for 8.7 per cent and the road sector for 2.7 per cent.

The agency said loans to telcos are also generally backed by spectrum assets, which should provide a better chance of recovery than, for example, a steel factory operating below capacity or a power plant that lacks a power purchase agreement.

“That said, the sale of spectrum assets might take longer than banks expect and not fetch full value, given that the top-three telcos now have sufficient spectrum to run their operations for the medium term,” the report said.


Health warnings women in 20s should not ignore

Women in their 20s experience some significant changes in their body. Emotional imbalances, hormonal changes and issues ‘down there’ trouble almost every woman. But tackling them appropriately could help in coping with these new challenges. We have listed a few common health warnings that you should not overlook.

Pain in pelvic

Pain in pelvic

Pelvic pain can be the result of various diseases and health conditions. If you experience this pain, do not neglect it as this can be associated with your reproduction system. Immediately see a gynaecologist and get yourself treated.



In your twenties, you ought to be extremely high on energy. But if this is not the case, then it’s a matter of concern. Facing constant fatigue could be an indication of anemia. Lack of physical activity, poor diet, anxiety or depression, could be some other possible reasons. Consult a doctor and know the root cause of extreme fatigue.

Pain while urinating

Pain while urinating

If your sex life is active and you experience itching or pain while urination, get yourself checked for sexually transmitted diseases. Early diagnosis and treatment could prevent complications and serious physical illness.

Tenderness or change in breasts

Tenderness or change in breasts

With growing age, women experience fluctuation in hormones. This could lead to change in size or in some cases, pain in breasts. You need to pay more attention if you feel lumps, swelling or pain in nipples. It is important to examine weird symptoms as they could lead to serious health issues.

Frequent mood swings

Frequent mood swings

Not many of us know that mental health issues can develop at any age. Even in your 20s, you may experience symptoms of bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and major depressive disorder. The feeling of social withdrawal and confused thoughts could also be the signs of mental illness. Women may also experience frequent mood swings. This could be the result of hormonal changes.

Constant headache

Constant headache

Constant headache is a serious problem that needs immediate medical attention. There is a possibility that you may be suffering from some infection in your central nervous system. Consult a doctor if you experience a constant headache. (Image Courtesy: Shutterstock/ Thinkstock)

CBSE also makes mistakes, should not have scrapped re-evaluation policy: Delhi HC

The Delhi High Court on Friday orally observed that the CBSE ought not have done away with its re-evaluation policy as it also makes mistakes in evaluation of answer sheets.

“You (CBSE) should not have done that. You too make mistakes,” Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva said while hearing a student’s plea for re-evaluation of her class 12 board exam answer sheets of English and Maths subjects.

In response, the lawyer for the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) said the re-evaluation policy was scrapped as there were only 0.21% mistakes out of the 10 lakh students who undertake the board exams across the country.


To this the court remarked that it would mean “careers of 2100 students are at stake”.

“We all know what happens on a fraction of a mark or percentage,” the court added.

While the court did not pass any order on the student’s plea for re-evaluation, it told CBSE that if she has made an application for a copy of the answer sheets it be provided to her.

Regarding the student’s plea for a direction to the board to carry out re-verification of her answer sheets, the CBSE lawyer said re-verification has been carried out and there is no change in her marks.

The lawyer said the outcome of re-verification would be uploaded on its website.

The court, thereafter, listed the matter for hearing on June 19 as the CBSE in another similar matter had submitted that it will on that date be challenging an Orissa High Court order directing it to re-evaluate answer sheets of 159 students of the state.

The Orissa High Court order had come after the CBSE lawyer there had submitted that re-evaluation can still be carried out.

In the other similar matter, the CBSE told the court that the submission made before the Orissa High Court was incorrect.


Vacations are not just fun anymore. They are healthy too!

One of the coolest things that city parents are gung-ho about this summer are wellness vacations for the family. Mumbaikars are taking off with their kids to wellness spas and resorts, where children along with their parents, are indulging in much more than just a fun-filled family time.
Bhavika Gada, who recently went abroad for a five-day wellness vacation with her children, says, “This summer, my husband and I decided to take the kids out on a different kind of holiday. The resort we went to had a wellness package that included yoga and zumba, swimming, different kinds of workshops, and organic meals. It helped introduce our children to healthy living.”
Outdoor yoga (Thinkstock)

A fun and activity-filled introduction to the concept of wellness is what is attracting Mumbaikars. Nikhil Kapur, founder-director of Atmantan Wellness Resort, says, “Programmes where the whole family and especially the children experience wellness in a fun and relaxed manner are in demand. These specialised programs are prepared in consultation with educational psychologists. Through these shared experiences, kids learn to see healthcare and wellness as a fun activity.”

Instills healthy habits in kids

Sohini Shah, mother of a seven-year-old, says, “I want my child to embrace wellness right from a young age. I am glad resorts these days are offering something for children below 14.” Tuned-in parents today are looking at the same wellness techniques they’ve themselves relied upon, to nurture their children. Nikhil states, “There’s been a realisation that making long-term lifestyle changes are difficult. Thus, parents today are focussing on instilling healthy habits in their kids at an early age.” Research states that obesity in the age group of 9-16 has tripled in the last three decades. Children also face a lot of stress and challenges. Even more fragile than a child’s physical health is her/his mental health. Sourav Chedda, father of a ten-year-old girl, says, “As parents, it is our responsibility to bring up emotionally healthy children. That is the reason my wife and I opted for a wellness vacation this season.”

Outdoor yoga

A yoga session outdoor makes it a fun, interesting experience for kids. And it does make a difference, say professionals. Performing asanas and stretching one’s bodies while inhaling fresh air rejuvenates you.

Meditate by the sea

Morning meditation sessions amidst nature is really helpful. Children prefer the flexi options that wellness resorts offer.

Don’t dance on the road! 11 things you should not do in Dubai

Dubai is considered one of the most lenient and multi-ethnic places in UAE, but you do need to conduct yourself in a certain way. What is considered OK in your home country may be a punishable offence in Dubai. So it’s a good idea to be aware of the rules and regulations before travelling there. Here is a list of things to watch out for:

1. Drinking in public

There are strict dos and don’ts that you must follow when in Dubai. (Shutterstock)

Foreign nationals can drink alcohol in the house if they obtain the required license. You can also drink at hotels which have a license, but do remember that being drunk while in the public space is not a good idea. You can also be fined for it.

2. No drugs

Dubai has a no-tolerance policy towards drug possession and trade. Even certain prescribed medicines are considered illegal. There have also been cases when people have flown in to Dubai and have tested positive for marijuana which they took before the flight.

3. Don’t dance on the road

Shrill music and showing off your dance moves on the roads is something not to try in Dubai. Reserve your moonwalk for the dance floor.

4. Photography

People watching the sunset at Dubai Marina. (Shutterstock)

Be careful when taking photos. It is considered impolite to click photos of residents there, particularly women.

5. No PDA

A couple walking on the beach in Dubai with Burj Al Arab in the background. (Shutterstock)

Express love for that special one within the confines of your room. Some time back, a British couple was sent to jail for having sex on the beach (not the popular drink). However, even less intimate displays of affection can land you in trouble.

6. Mind your language

Don’t abuse in public as vulgar language can definitely land you in trouble. Also making derogatory comments about Islam can land you in jail. Avoid making negative comments about the ruling class.

7. Keep your clothes on

Camels and tourists on the beach of the Oasis Resort in the new Marina quarter. (Shutterstock)

On the beach or in the swimming pool, wearing suitable swimwear is allowed, but women must not go topless. Also men should have their T-shirts on when on the streets or even while working out in the park.

8. Clothing

Cover up… people, are you listening? (Shutterstock)

Dubai has a great sense of style with the best designer labels available, but you should avoid flashing too much skin in public.

9. LGBT issues

Cross dressing and having sexual relations outside of a conventional heterosexual wedding is illegal here.

10. Eating during Ramadan

You should not eat, drink or smoke publicly during Ramadan, when fasting is on from morning to evening.

11. The ‘Left Hand’

One should not greet people with a left hand shake, open doors with it or give people things with your left hand. And what if you’re a lefty? Well, we suggest you start practising with your right hand!


YouTube Is Down, It’s Not Just You

Image result for YouTube Is Down, It's Not Just You

Users around the world are reporting that YouTube is down. Website downforeveryoneorjustme reports that YouTube is indeed down, and Twitter is full of users reporting the same. When we tried to visit YouTube, we got the following error:

500 Internal Server Error

Sorry, something went wrong.

A team of highly trained monkeys has been dispatched to deal with this situation.

If you see them, send them this information as text (screenshots frighten them):


State Bank Of India Not Ruling Out Write-Offs Post Merger

New Delhi: The country’s largest lender SBI has said write-downs or write-offs on account of the merger of five associates cannot be entirely ruled out.

In the largest consolidation in the banking space, five associate banks and Bharatiya Mahila Bank were merged on April 1 with SBI, putting the lender in the league of top 50 global banks.

SBI is currently in the process of integrating the merged entities’ operations with its own to leverage cost and operational efficiencies.

State Bank Of India Not Ruling Out Write-Offs Post Merger

“There can be no assurance that the bank will not have to undertake write-downs or write-offs in connection with the merger, which could have a negative impact on its financial condition and results of operations,” said SBI’s offer document for the recently conducted Rs. 15,000 crore share sale through private placement while highlighting the risk factors.

The issue earlier this month was lapped up by foreign as well as domestic institutional investors.

In its annual report (2016-17), SBI had said the long-term benefits of the merger would significantly outweigh the near-term challenges.

“The resulting cost advantage, enhanced reach and economies of scale from this merger will help SBI sustain its mission of being an enduring value creator,” it said.

The offer document placed before the institutional investors further said the bank “may also incur additional costs” towards integrating operations and harmonising functions pursuant to the merger.

“In particular, the absorption of over 70,000 employees of the merged entities is expected to increase employee benefit expenses, mainly accruing out of liabilities with respect to provision of additional superannuation benefits,” it said.

Prior to the merger, SBI had 2,09,572 employees.


Women Entrepreneurs Are Not Victims of Our Choices

I’m a huge fan of Gimlet and love their new Brooklyn-based podcast Startup.

Yet, as a female tech entrepreneur (I’m the founder and CEO of Stride, a tech startup that’s self funded that my team and I have grown to 60 people in 3 years while I’ve battled cancer and raised 2 kids), a mother, and a New Yorker, I take serious issue with Season 5, Episode 4 — Running a Family and a Business.

In this episode, executive coach Jerry Colonna chats with Diana Lovett, a female founder and mother. Lovett finds navigating being a mom and entrepreneur challenging.

As much as I empathize with her, and agree that being a mom and an entrepreneur is challenging, this episode paints women entrepreneurs as victims of our busy lives.

Ummmmm — no. Communication like this is toxic.

Women entrepreneurs are not victims. We choose to be entrepreneurs. And most of the time, we choose to be parents. Lovett’s products are in 4000 stores around the globe, including Whole Foods. That’s amazing. I’m guessing it takes a ton of work to achieve such a feat. I’m certain that running my business takes a ton of work.

But here’s the thing. Women entrepreneurs choose what role we play in our business and how much time we invest in it as it scales. No doubt, being an entrepreneur is hard. That’s the deal we sign up for. Most startups fail. In fact, only 4% make it to $1M. Only 0.4% make it to $10M. Being an entrepreneur is a slog. It requires sacrifice. It requires grit.

Yet, being an entrepreneur is a choice.

Entrepreneurs can throw in the towel at any time and get a job instead of running our own business. We can also choose to sell our business, we can choose to decrease our expenses, we can choose to hire someone to run our business so that we can do something else. Yes, to be a successful entrepreneur you often have to put in long hours and it’s likely stressful. But… it is a choice.

Contrast this to so many working mothers out there who have significantly less empowerment and choice then women entrepreneurs, like single mothers raising children who have to punch the clock just to get food on the table. These women truly have little choice. Still, they do have choice but it is significantly less than a woman who runs her own business.

Being an entrepreneur is never about playing the victim. Being an entrepreneur is about grit and slogging through complexity. It’s about how much you as the entrepreneur are willing to slog through to make a difference in what you believe is worth the sacrifice.

Women entrepreneur mothers are the Olympic athletes of business. Olympians sacrifice for their dream. When you hear them speak, you hear drive and passion. They recognize the sacrifice they make every day and are laser focused on the potential reward on the other side.

Women entrepreneurs who are mothers walk a similar path. If we paint the picture of working mother entrepreneurs as the poor victims of their environment, we are doing our society a great to disservice.

Telling women that in order to be a mother AND an entrepreneur means you have to suck it up and find the willpower to not be guilty is terrible.

We must change the story. My message to women who are mothers and entrepreneurs is — We control the story. We control what we choose to sacrifice for our dreams. We control how much time we want to spend building our businesses versus spending time with our loved ones.

It’s a mistake to pity ourselves and say “If only I had more time in the day.” There are 24 hours in the day. Always was, and there always will be.

The choice is up to you as to how to spend that time. The best we can do is choose to spend it wisely. If you’re looking for guidelines, I’m happy to share my process.

Here’s what I do: Every year, I make a list of my top three personal priorities and my top three work priorities. I write down annual goals for each and then list one or two outcomes for each.

Listen, this is real life, it’s not tinkerbell land. Every day I make choices and many of them are very hard. Some days I even cry.

Yet every day I wake up knowing that my life is my choice to make, my life is mine to live one day at a time.

I have a few rules that I set with myself and I feel good about them and they help me manage my time:

1. I exercise 2 to 4 times per week, 30 minutes each.

2. I spend time with my children’s school activities only if I get to also spend time with my children during these activities. So, I’ll chaperone a school trip because I get to spend the day with my son or daughter, but I won’t spend three hours setting up for a festival when the kids aren’t around.

3. I eat reasonably healthy yet I only cook once per week. I choose to buy a salad for lunch versus making one at home because the extra cost is worth the 30 minutes of time I get back.

4. Every year I take a weeklong vacation with my kids in the summer and a weeklong vacation with my kids in the winter.

5. I live within 20 minutes of my office so that I can see my kids every morning and night.

6. I limit late night work commitments to a max of two nights per week.

7. I attend all doctor appointments, all school plays, all parent-teacher meetings.

8. I spend quality one-on-one time with each of my kids every week.

9. Once a year, I take a two-day vacation all by myself.

We know that willpower is a finite resource. It is a mistake to think we can continuously make tradeoffs all day and overcome guilt. This will never happen and we are fighting a losing battle. Instead, make a small handful of rules with yourself and then keep to them the best you can. My rules have tradeoffs and I know that. For instance:

If I exercised more I might lose 5 pounds.

If I cooked more I might save a little money.

If I spent more time at the office I might grow my company faster.

If I lived farther away from work I could own a bigger house with a backyard.

If I came home from work sooner I could help my kids with homework.

But, I’m at peace with all of this. If I chose to worry every day I would constantly be guilty and I’d be teaching my kids that I could never be good enough. My children don’t need me taking them to 15 activities per week while I’m tied to my phone and thinking about work. What my kids need is my mental presence during the time that I do spend with them.

This is where Lovett got it wrong. Spending time with our kids does not in and of itself teach them empowerment. Spending time with our kids does not inherently mean we have unconditional love for them. The saying ‘actions speak louder than words’ existing for a reason. Taking our kid to the playground and then sitting on the side doing emails does not a quality afternoon make.

No, instead, what matters to them is that we are mentally present in their lives and that we have meaningful conversations and model the way when they need guidance.

So, to Lovett and all the other women mom entrepreneurs out there — be strong. And remember — we choose entrepreneurship. It is not something that happens to us. It is something we go after with gusto, and something which we fight for every single day, because it’s something we believe is worth fighting for.