Mr. Sadanand Singh is currently working as a Principal Research Scientist. He had moved to San Francisco, USA to pursue his Ph.D., which is where he began his professional journey.
He has an impressive professional journey, with over 10+ years of experience with deep learning, machine learning, numerical modeling, and scientific computing in production environments. He also has an excellent publication record with 600+ citations in high-profile journals like Nature Materials.
Our team was interested in getting to know him better, understanding his path, and getting feedback on his experience working with GTX.
Read on for a glimpse into Sadanand’s journey.
Could you give us a brief about yourself?
I am currently the principal scientist at Micron India, after making my move back to India from the U.S. with the help of GTX.
I had shifted to the U.S. for my Ph.D., after which I worked at several reputed companies as well as with a couple of start-ups.
What made you choose the U.S. for pursuing higher education?
India is great for an undergrad degree, however, back in 2008, I felt the opportunities for higher studies were better in the west. I was seeking a high quality of education, which is why I moved.
How was your experience in the U.S. during your time there?
When you are young, new experiences are definitely exciting- personally as well as professionally. There were other Indians that I connected with as well.
One thing to mention was that the academic experience was both challenging as well as humbling for sure.
While in the West, did you feel anything was lacking? What made you consider a move back to the homeland?
Though I felt relatively satisfied professionally, I felt something missing in the personal aspect. Once you grow up and mature, you realize the importance of family and it dawns on you on a daily basis just how much you miss them. I felt very lonely at times. The family structure in the U.S. is nuclear, which is very different from what we’re used to back home. It hits harder once festivals like Diwali come around- you think you can just go back to visit, but how often can you do that, after all? I also really missed the food back home.
An obstacle that I faced in the U.S. was the terrible medical/healthcare system. Everything seems hunky dory till you fall ill, after which you can easily lose a majority of your savings- the American dream comes crashing.
How long did you plan for the move before actually taking the plunge?
We (my wife and I) had started contemplating the move back in 2019. Covid in 2020 gave us even more time to consider our priorities and think them through. I wasn’t sure about the opportunities available in India. Collectively, we were earning nearly half a million in the U.S. but I didn’t find such pay in India. Luckily, once GTX contacted me with an awesome role, the pace increased. After that, it just took 3-4 months.
How did you tackle this salary gap? How did you come to terms with what was being offered here?
I talked to a lot of people who work in India and have built impressive careers. It made me realize the quality of life that was possible with even the minimum that I was being offered back home. The lifestyle this kind of salary can get you is great and impressive. I live a lot better than I did in the U.S.
For example- I was renting a 2 bedroom house there, and paying triple the rent that I would have to here. Now, I am living in a 5-bedroom villa, and I can afford to hire a driver as well.
This kind of lifestyle is something I could not have even imagined in the West.
Do you think a lot of the NRIs scare away because of the salary discrepancies?
Definitely. I feel a lot of people, especially my generation, don’t realize the opportunities in India and the changes that have taken place. Just, for example, the UPI system is brilliant. India is booming – in fact, the U.S is still lacking in several aspects.
Did you face any hindrances/obstacles during your move back?
No, I didn’t. I really appreciate Micron for making the move easy for me- they helped in every regard. Global Talent Exchange helped immensely as well and made the cross-country moving process way easier.
What were you seeking out in the career opportunities in India?
I did set firm boundaries and operated my search within that. I was not willing to take a probational shortcut. I was also not willing to take any steps back, and my professional career should not be compromised. I wanted to remain in the research field. While I was applying, all I could think of were the IITs. It was a rigorous process- luckily, GTX approached me. It made the entire journey efficient and manageable.
Would you agree that a good opportunity requires some digging and patience?
I 100% agree! A lot of the NRIs are unaware of what steps MNCs are taking to grow their business in India. It’s also important to mention that a large number of people are under the impression that India is a “back office”. That’s not the case anymore at all. It’s also difficult to find something that aligns with the competencies of the NRIs that have good work experience and have built a strong skill set. Back then, even I didn’t think it would be possible to get the kind of role I got in Micron. GTX helped massively.
How was your experience working with the GTX team throughout the entire process?
From the time the team initially contacted me till the time I made my move back, they were very helpful. The recruiter helped me understand the title and walked me through the requirements and the company profile. Even though it was during Diwali (festival time), I noticed that there were efforts made to prevent any lapses from either end. After I was connected to Micron, I felt an instant “click”.
GTX made my life easier, I would say. They were very considerate about my schedule and time zone and planned the meetings at a time that was suitable for both. They enabled conversations and followed up regularly. I really appreciate your active involvement and efforts.
Could you talk about some of the myths that you were holding on to back in the U.S. about what life would be like back in India?
Definitely the lifestyle aspect- did not think such a luxurious life is possible. Also, I didn’t know India has the kind of opportunities that I now realize it does. I’ve got an impressive position back home.
There’s also no dearth of anything that you may want- in fact, the choices are endless. For example: If you feel like eating a homely meal, India has a wide variety of “dhabas” (small food joints) but also has stunning 5-star hotels where you could dine in luxury.
Also, I thought I wouldn’t be able to access nature walks and beaches as I did in the U.S. However, even in India, several people have gotten together to form backpacking groups, tour groups, etc. Everything is available, you just have to find it.
If you could convey any message to the NRIs that might be looking to move back, what would you say? What developments would you tell them about?
The digital payment system is very impressive and India is headed toward building a cashless economy. The developments in Southern India are something to be marveled at. Bangalore and Hyderabad are a few places that have no dearth of opportunities- in fact, they are at par with the U.S. I would say that there are several job opportunities similar to the San Francisco Bay Area.
I would definitely advise them to be open about it, and talk to a lot of people. I would urge them to not squash the feeling- if they have an inkling that they want to move back, they shouldn’t ignore it- the emotion is arising for a reason. I would recommend that they research, talk to friends and talk to family. Most importantly, I would recommend they talk to Global Talent Exchange!
Lastly, I would tell them that they can easily find what they seek, they just have to be patient.