Alumni Spotlight: Bharath Ramakrishnan, PhD ’19
After earning his PhD in mechanical engineering, he is working on data center thermal management for Microsoft
Bharath Ramakrishnan, PhD ’19, is a mechanical engineer working with Microsoft Corp. in Redmond, Wash., on Data Center Advanced Development. His research background is on data center thermal management with an emphasis on liquid cooling.
A native of Tamil Nadu, India, Ramakrishnan completed his bachelor of engineering in Coimbatore, India, in 2010; he completed his master of science degree at Auburn University in Alabama in 2014.
How did you find out about Binghamton University?
I went to Auburn for my master’s degree, and I was working on electronics thermal management as a part of my research work. I applied to Binghamton for my PhD because I knew it had a great research program, especially in my field of research.
What was your educational background in India?
I am from a very rural part of south India, close to Madurai (which is the biggest city next to where I grew up). I completed my high school there. I went to Coimbatore Institute of Technology for my undergrad degree in mechanical engineering. I had very good teachers throughout my academic career.
How was your experience at Binghamton? Were there any specific aspects that you particularly enjoyed?
My experience was fantastic. I lived my best life there both professionally and personally. I lived a sixth of my life at Binghamton.
I liked the research facility and the infrastructure there. We had great machine room facilities with access to so many things of interest. I also was fortunate enough to have great friends, teachers, colleagues and advisors. I had complete independence and trust from my team to do things.
How did you get into mechanical engineering?
I had a fascination for engines, power plants and other mechanized things growing up. Those things always intrigued me. I knew mechanical engineering had it all, and that branch of engineering is kind of evergreen.
At that time, especially in India, there were many opportunities for job candidates with a computer science/software background. But those things never struck me like mechanical engineering did.
In what ways did Binghamton prepare you for your first job? What aspects did you have to learn independently?
Binghamton gave me a platform to specialize in data center thermal management. I had my earlier research experience on liquid cooling — I just honed my skills further on that research topic at Binghamton University.
I had a good team and good advisors, which really helped when looking at things from a bigger scale or perspective. I was part of ES2 (Energy Smart Electronic Systems), a National Science Foundation initiative that gave me a platform to present my research data to a wider audience of industry experts, building contacts while also shedding inhibitions about presenting my work. Those aspects certainly helped in shaping my career. I am now working for Microsoft Corp., and all those things that I learned at Binghamton are helping me in my first job here.
What advice would you give other mechanical engineering students based on your experience?
Take pride in pursuing one of the oldest forms of engineering. Collaborate with other departments such as microbiology, biomedical technology or other branches of engineering. Everyone needs a mechanical engineer, so always reach out and learn.