A Cicerone For Others: LEAD Talks 2019
NIT Rourkela has witnessed numerous students flying high in the sky of success with their vibrant colours. Travelling across the world, NIT Rourkela’s scholars have been successful in making their mark through research works and internships. Drawing from their pond of experiences is an event denominated as ‘LEAD’, an initiative by Student Counseling Services(SCS) carried forth by Hourglass, where interns at different organizations and Institutes share their expedition and experience.
Over 80 gleaming faces filled the space of LA-104 on the evening of 16th October 2019 for the second edition of LEAD. The event was anchored by Sanjog Panda and Alpana Nanda. There was a total of seven interns from different departments that shared their stories of escapade.
The first among the speakers to speak was Mrinal Chaudhury, a fourth-year scholar of the Industrial Design Department who managed to land a prestigious MITACS Global Links Research Internship at the end of her third year. As a research intern, Mrinal got an opportunity to conduct her internship at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver under the guidance of Dr Ben Mortenson. She worked on the topic of User-Centred Design for innovative technologies for people who are disabled and who aid those people in familiar circumstances. Speaking about how she managed to grab this internship, she told the audience that the forms are released in September. The application requires two letters of recommendation, along with a separate column for your achievements such as some prior experiences displaying your work. The applicants require a minimum of 8 CG to apply for it.
According to her, the points that need to be noted while presenting oneself for such internship through several processes are:
- The statement of purpose along with the documents verifying your courses and experiences. The mails should be written in a formal, short yet crisp manner.
- Applying in a field where you already have past experiences.
- Customising your approaches according to the sender.
- Applications should be free from any grammatical errors.
Concluding her speech, she also emphasized the importance of focusing on a particular course and the congruence between the profile of the students with the professor under consideration.
The next in line was Metallurgical and materials Science engineering student, Anwesha Panda. She got an internship at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore through the India Connect Research Internship Program. It is a program that collects students from different institutions across India to pursue their research interests at NTU. Speaking about the selection process, Anwesha told the audience that the students are given a choice to choose three courses. The India Connect committee selects the students hinged on their CG and letters of recommendation. Later they forward the applications to respective Professors and the student is selected as an intern if their profile matches that of their professors.
Sharing elements about her experience there, Anwesha told that the university has flexible working hours as they are more concerned with the results. With the structured approach, the team gathered every Wednesday to inform about their advancements in concerned fields. The University conducts numerous conferences and workshops for the students to interact with renowned figures in corresponding realms. The forms for applying to NTU are released in November. Students need to submit letters of recommendation and the other required documents. Anwesha spoke in detail about the university and its unique approach towards education.
The next speaker was IIT Guwahati intern Hemasagar Mishra, student of Electronics and Communication department. In IIT Guwahati, he had worked in Communications Lab in the Research topic Massive MIMO which is an essential part of 5G cellular technology. Hemasagar spoke about various internships in IITs. The best among them are Spark by IIT Roorkee, Surge in IIT Kanpur and SFP in IIT Madras. The other IITs where students can apply for internships are IIT Delhi, Ropar, Kharagpur, and Guwahati. The internship at IITs helps the students to get an idea about the working fields and enhances their knowledge. Speaking about the method of application for these internships, one must follow the website and can apply through that. Hemasagar told that in such circumstances for internship in IITs the CG plays an important role. The students should first be aware of their areas of interest and try to excel in that. Later on, they can mail their applications to professors with similar interests.
Talking about his experience at IIT Guwahati, he described the campus along with its weather and food conditions. The working environment was strictly professional and thus, the student interacts with the professor only in areas of academic discussions. Working diligently, students might even get their research papers published.
Hemasagar highlighted the concept of rejection in this process. He said that the students should not feel disheartened for not being selected but instead should look for alternative approaches.
Anshuman Samal grabbed the much-coveted internship offer from Microsoft for the summer-internship program. He started off by clarifying to the students that most of the software companies are hiring across all the branches of engineering and the 2 things which they look for in a candidate are coding skills and the way to approach a difficult problem. He then elaborated on the process through which Microsoft offers internships on-campus. First, is the online test round consisting of 3 questions on coding. Students who clear the first hurdle then face the written coding round where they have to show their approach in pseudo-code and also perform dry runs on a set of inputs. Next comes the interview round consisting of 2 Tech. based rounds and one H.R.round. The students who manage to clear all the hurdles are finally selected for the internship. Anshuman advised all the students, aiming for such internships and eventually jobs in Big-Tech, to refer the Geeks for Geeks website and other online resources for all the material they need. He also mentioned some of the perks like free breakfast, free lunch, free access to Xbox game pass for 2 months and many others in a long list. For the enthusiasts, he advised a special focus on data structures and algorithms for cracking the interview.
Acharya Aditya Pratap:
A final year student of Computer Science and Engineering, Acharya Aditya Pratap interned in the financial giant Goldman-Sachs in Bangalore office. He started off by giving a brief view of the finance industry and Goldman-Sachs’ role in it. Then quickly jumping to the much-anticipated part, he outlined the process through which Goldman offers internships on-campus. The internship is open to students of all branches. He then outlined the roadmap for the enthusiasts which consisted of mastering Data-structure and Algorithms and also being adept at the Basics of Probability and Statistics since puzzles based on these topics are asked in the interview. Acharya Aditya then talked about the various perks he got there which included a week-long stay at a 5-star hotel, Team outings, free food, cab services and much more. He mentioned that the greatest perk of working in a company like Goldman Sachs is, one gets the opportunity to learn from talented people in the industry and expand the horizons of one’s own thinking. That was the most important perk from Acharya Aditya’s perspective.
A student of Bio-Medical engineering, Shaswat grabbed the internship at General Electric(Health-care) through a Hackathon which he won. He stressed the importance of competitive coding and opined that it may not make one creative but it does help with developing an attitude towards problem-solving and improves accuracy. He suggested sites like Hacker-earth and Hacker-rank for practising competitive coding and also for getting the latest updates regarding Hackathons. He also advised the students to work on their communicative English and presentation skills so that they can network with professionals all around the globe through Hackathons effortlessly. Finally, he advised the students to have an active GitHub account and have some projects in it to attract the attention of potential employers through it. Talking about his internship experience at GE, he listed out the perks which included a week-long stay at a 5-star hotel, free food, cab-services, etc.
A final year Mechanical Engineering student, ShivaSurya Lolla interned at Bajaj, Pune. He candidly explained all the pre-requisites for getting such a prestigious internship and the procedure too. It was an on-campus offer for him. The screening process consisted of a written exam having two parts, subjective type(based on technical knowledge) and the aptitude(mental ability). He advised the students to prepare all the topics taught in the 2nd year of their engineering courses as the majority of the questions are from that part and not to worry too much if some questions from 3rd year or 4th year topics are asked since most of the students applying won’t know the answers too. ShivaSurya had attempted the subjective part first in the written exam and believes that this strategy helped him secure more marks than his competition. He also mentioned that it was necessary to adopt a strategy because there were cutoff marks for both aptitude and subjective type sections. To clear the round one had to have more marks than the cutoff in each section. He then elaborated upon his internship experience in Pune, which was in his words “ simply Great”. He learned a lot in his internship and also the exposure which Bajaj provided him, helped him expand the horizons of his own thinking. He mentioned several perks that a great company like Bajaj has to offer in a city like Pune. He also mentioned about the pre-placement offers that Bajaj gave to the talented and rightly motivated interns. Having bagged one himself, he was in a position to advise the enthusiasts on how to go about getting a pre-placement offer from a reputed company like Bajaj. He stressed the importance of originality during the interviews and believes that his keen interest in the company and originality were responsible for his achievement.
Team MM caught up with Mrinal Chaudhury for some comments regarding the event. Here’s what she has to say.
MM: How do you think the students will benefit from such an initiative?
Mrinal: In my opinion, a program like LEAD is immensely helpful for juniors of the Institute. Consider it this way, there are many equally talented people among today's youth, yet only a few are able to avail of some of the most lucrative opportunities. A similar situation exists in NITR where it is the students who are the best aware of opportunities and the ones who get a headstart eventually grab the good opportunities. Now increasing awareness by oneself is herculean task involving hours and hours of perusing over available information and contacting relevant people. This is where more than 90 percent of the people give up. If however, the same information is available to the students in a more immersive and inspiring format like LEAD, the awareness levels and hence the motivation levels in the juniors in NITR shoots up immensely.
MM: In what ways could LEAD be conducted in a better manner?
Mrinal: I believe that these initiatives need to reach out to more masses and hence need a bit more collaboration with organizations such as the TnP as well. Another thing that can be done is an initial complete presentation by the organizers presenting an overview of all kinds of internship opportunities available, and then proceeding to talks by speakers. However, the overall organization of the event was flawless and so was the cooperation of the audience and their patience.
Team MM also approached Saheel Thali, President of Hourglass, for his views on the event. Here’s what he had to say.
LEAD as an event was established last year with just one aim in mind- to guide the students and help them take important career-related decisions. It was great to witness such a turnout this time and I thank all the speakers for taking time out from their schedule for our event and helping the interested students. We hope the students learned a lot from this and gained all the information regarding internships that they wanted. I would like to thank the SCS co-ordinators as well who put their heart and soul in managing the event along with the Hourglass team.I'm really looking forward to more LEAD sessions this year to benefit the students as much as possible.