Navigating Through The World Of Internships: LEAD Talk
LEAD, an initiative by the Hourglass Club of NIT Rourkela in collaboration with the Student Counselling Program (SCP) organized its first session of ‘LEAD’ talks on 22nd January 2019 at LA-117. Its maiden session primarily focused on familiarising the students of NIT Rourkela about various industrial and research internships available in India as well as abroad along with the pros and cons involved in pursuing the same. The students were required to register for the program beforehand. The session which commenced at around 6:15 pm witnessed a room packed with inquisitive minds, buzzing in eagerness and excitement. Saumyaa Suneja, a member of Hourglass Club hosted ‘Lead’ by rolling out the red carpet for the seven eminent speakers of the evening session after a brief introduction of the program.
Roja Gauda, a final-year student from the Department of Biotechnology and Medical Engineering and a recipient of the prestigious MITACS Internship kick-started this session by enlightening the audience about the application process of MITACS Global link Research Internship Program that offers a great opportunity for international undergraduate students who want to develop their research expertise, professional skills and international experience by pursuing research in Canada’s top universities.
According to her,
The application portal opens around mid-August and closes around late-September. A minimum CGPA of 8 on a scale of 10 is required to apply for the program. A list of projects and corresponding hosts are posted on the application portal. Along with the filling of personal details, each student can apply for a maximum of 7 projects. The most crucial deciding factor to get selected is to produce an impressive research rationale that elaborates on one’s research background, research interests and most importantly addresses the ways to carry out the research in one’s field of interest. It is highly significant for the sophomores to start off early and identify their field(s) of interest by choosing a particular topic from their streams under the guidance and help of the professors.
She was followed by Samyak Das, a final year from the Department of Mining, who had completed a summer internship at Tata Steel through Inspire Summer Internship Program during its campus-recruitment drive for interns. Samyak stressed upon the importance of past GATE question papers that find their way in the AMCAT, an assessment platform that evaluates the reasoning, technical and aptitude skills of the candidate and comprises of four sections: Verbal, Logical, Aptitude and Technical, which needs to be cracked for the final selection.
According to him,
I came to know about this program from a senior at the beginning of the third semester of my sophomore year. It is essential to start preparing from the fourth semester for the interviews as you would have started getting a fair knowledge of your department subjects by then. Choose a primary topic from your third-year courses for thorough learning along with a few secondary subjects. I recall, during my Group Discussion round, four candidates had already spoken in the favour of Demonetisation. I chose not to speak in the favour of it. In this way, I was able to be in the limelight during the GD. After being shortlisted for the Personal Interview round, my interview started on an informal note as the interviewer recognized me. Subsequently, my technical acumen was tested in the latter part of the interview but being different from the crowd in the GD itself held me in a good stead. This is an important tip to ace the GD round.
He was followed by Shubham Bhuyan, a final-year student from the Department of Electronics and Communication Engineering, who had granted the prestigious S.N Bose Scholarship, a student exchange programme between the USA and India for higher studies in Science and Research.
According to him,
The S.N. Bose scholarship invites applications from the month of September. Only the top two students of each branch are eligible to apply for this scholarship. If they have a good research profile, then the chances of being selected increases dramatically. You need to write a thousand worded Statement of Purpose (SOP) and another thousand words on research experience. Then you need two letters of recommendation, besides that, you can upload anything that supports your claim on the scholarship, for example, a letter from your previous internships. If your SOP is good, your chances increase manifold. It becomes even better if the SOP contains some original idea from your side, something that you want to work on.
He further added an important point that,
The authorities monitoring this the scholarship programme do not check whether you meet that criterion so the institute is responsible for conveying the same. So, if you manage to assure the concerned authorities in the institute like the Assistant Registrar that no candidate from your branch with a higher CGPA is applying for the programme, you might as well apply in spite of failing to meet the top two students of the branch criterion. Overall it is a great experience in terms of learning and exposure as you get to handle the entire project without the fear of any deadlines.
This was accompanied by an interactive session with the curious souls who fired a volley of questions on Roja and Shubham pertaining to research internships.
Following this, Namita Panda and P.N Shivangi, two final year undergraduates from the Department of Electrical and Metallurgy and Material Science respectively took the centre stage. These strong and successful women shared their internship experiences through ‘Women of Mettle’ Scholarship Programme by TATA Steel. They stressed upon the need to identify, groom, and encourage induction of female engineering talent in India’s manufacturing sector through such internship programmes.
P.N Shivangi, one of the speakers, elaborated on it,
In order to qualify for this competition, you need to be in the top 25 percentile of your department. The registration portal opens in January and you have to give all your academic details. The first round involves a psychometric test, which basically tests your personality traits and your ability to perform well when under stress.In the second round, we were given a bunch of projects to choose from and we had to select one amongst these, again, this was the case in the first season. In the second season, everyone was given only one project. Once we picked a project we had to prepare an abstract on it. In the third round, we had to prepare and present a Presentation of the project.”
Adding to this, Namita Panda shared her internship experiences,
At the end of the two-day event, the top 30 out of a pool of 90 students are announced. The students who are in the top 10 get a Pre-placement Offer and the remaining 20 students get a chance to intern at TATA in the following year.
This was succeeded by an interactive session taken up with the audience by Namita, Shivangi and Samyak on Industrial internships.
Following these people, the last two speakers of the day Aditya Sinha and Pratyush Jagaty who had interned at Microsoft and Amazon respectively took onto the stage. Aditya Sinha and Pratyush Jagaty, both are pre-final year Dual Degree students from the Department of Computer Science and Engineering. They walked the audience through the process which enabled them to bag the coveted internships at Microsoft and Amazon respectively.
Both of them spoke along similar lines. They said,
The minimum CG requirement is 7 for both the companies. For dual degree students, Amazon does not offer a PPO but it gives a repeat intern opportunity. They also emphasised on the need of excelling in pen and paper coding as it will come handy at the time of interview. Time is constrained and the panel expects you to know basic concepts along with the explanations of the solutions you are proposing. Don’t beat around the bush. Take your time and be certain about what you are saying.
Regarding their experience, they had to say
The experience was pretty good. Working time was also flexible. It was a wonderful experience there.
Sensing mixed emotions of certainty and perplexity and adding a perfect conclusion to this informative session, Debasis Choudhury, a final year student from the Department of Mechanical Engineering addressed to our curious NIT R Junta,
I did an internship during my pre-final year at Sun Pharmaceuticals which gave me a clear idea about the kind of work culture I would hate as well as love to have around me. It is highly crucial to love what you do and make your career choices accordingly. It is also equally important to hone your soft skills like communication skills, leadership, etc. and participate in extra-curricular activities besides academics (or technical skills) to excel at your workplace.
On being asked about her opinions regarding Lead, PN Shivangi and Namita Panda said
When we were in our sophomore and junior years we had no idea as to which internship to apply. This is a good initiative to guide the student through the procedure of bagging such coveted internships. TATA Steel is one of the best companies to work. There you will handle huge machines which are viewed only in imaginations. They are very cooperative and they are ready to help you always. When we got into “Women of Mettle” many people around were skeptical since they thought that we would be required to work in harsh conditions. But it was nothing like that. It was altogether a wonderful experience.
Regarding the event, the Vice President of Hourglass Sainandan Mohanty had to say
To be honest, we did not expect so many participants to turn up. But since it is the peak time for internships, many of them turned up. The event was a huge success.
Team MM congratulates Hourglass club and SCP for their efforts in organising the ‘LEAD’ talk initiative.