Nailing the NABARD Internship:- SD Swagata Satprem
SD Swagata Satprem, a second-year Master's student at the Department of Humanities & Social Sciences at NIT, Rourkela, has been selected for the National Bank for Agricultural and Rural Development (NABARD) Student Internship Scheme 2021. Swagata is among the two students from Odisha to be selected for the NABARD Internship among the seventy-five seats all over India.
About NABARD Student Internship:-
The objective of the Scheme is to assign short term tasks/projects/studies useful and relevant to NABARD to talented students pursuing a Postgraduate Degree from Institutes/ Universities of repute or Students who are pursuing five years of integrated courses including Law and are in 4th year of their course in
- Agriculture and allied disciplines (Veterinary, Fisheries, etc.)
- Social Sciences and Management
Team Monday Morning got the opportunity to interact with her and learn about her experience.
Inspiration to pursue Humanities at Bachelors level:-
Monday Morning(MM): What inspired you to take up humanities stream? Would you like to share some insights into the stream and all the subject areas one can pursue?
SD Swagata Satprem: I was a bright student in my school & the decision of taking Humanities came in my 10th Class Summer Vacation when I was exploring various options. Like every parent, my parents insisted that I try out the domain of Science and Medicals as my future options, but I wanted to pursue a career in Civil Service. Instead of trying a conventional career path, I wished to try out something different. So, in intermediate, I went for Humanities Stream at DAV Chandrasekharpur. There was a lot of criticism from my parents and the teacher’s side, but ultimately I proved everyone wrong and bagged the highest marks in my school & DAV Zone -1.
This stream has an array of options to choose from in intermediate as well as in graduations. So, it depends upon your subject interest, be it Political Science, Economics, Sociology, Psychology. One has to stick to the subjects that one finds most interesting. Humanities is completely related to society, and we have to pursue something with which we can excel and make an impact on society.
MM: Why did you choose Sociology for your Bachelor’s degree at Ravenshaw University?
SDSS: Choosing Ravenshaw University was not in my options until the 12th, but I was asked to choose a college in Odisha due to my poor health. I had got selected at Delhi University, but that was a barrier in my career. Sociology was the subject that interested me the most because of its diversity and dynamic nature than other subjects. Also, Ravenshaw is a 150 years old eminent University in the state and was better than any other University, so I opted for it.
Opting for MA Studies and choosing NITR
MM: What was your story behind pursuing a Masters degree? And when did you decide on it?
SDSS: I was sure of doing a Masters degree before entering into any profession. So, it was decided at the end of the second year of graduation, and I didn’t have any second thoughts about pursuing it. It was very much predefined.
MM: You did your Graduation from Ravenshaw University. Why did you choose Masters in Developmental Studies at NIT Rourkela, which is a technical institute?
SDSS: I believe that a peaceful campus at an institution is necessary for a student's career development. As we all know, the campus of NITR is serene and surreal, and I believe that the studying phase is critical in students' lives to achieve one’s goal in a career. So a peaceful campus like that of NITR provides a focus, so despite having the options to join Jawaharlal Nehru University (J.N.U.), Delhi, I joined NIT Rourkela. The faculties of NIT Rourkela have a vast research base, and it interested me to choose NIT Rourkela.
MM: Could you tell us more about development studies that you opted for as your specialization in MA? What is the importance of having a multidisciplinary approach in these developmental studies?
SDSS: The Development Studies that I am currently studying is very distinctive, and it’s more about applying the theories that I had learnt in my graduations. Development Studies teaches me about how to come with a practical and dynamic solution to solve various problems. In Development Studies, we talk about Economic Development, but we also talk about Social, Ecological, Rural, General Development aspects.
To solve a problem, one needs to think about it politically, economically, socially and that is was Development Studies make you perfect.
NABARD Fellowship: Inside Out
MM: You were one of the two students selected from Odisha for this prestigious programme with only seventy-five seats all over India. What was your first reaction when you got the news?
SDSS: I remember the time quite vividly. I was with my friends and was discussing with my Professors and Supervisors and wasn’t sure if I would be selected or not. The competition was so tough as a lot of students had applied for the same. When I saw the email, I was on Seventh Heaven. Just before that, my friends were saying that I would be able to get it, but deep inside, I was confused that I could have given my better efforts.
MM: Can you elaborate on the process of bagging the internship? What went into the process?
SDSS: I came to learn about the NABARD internship by the end of December 2020. So when internships were on the round in NIT and people were focusing on various internships, I focused only on this internship. By March, the notification came centrally for the pan India programme. So I had to fill the application that required details like education qualifications, research topics that I had studied, any proposals we have written, and the skills we have acquired.
The second process was the selection for the interview round. And it goes on two ways. First, we have to propose research-based ideas based on our interests given by some of the topics in NABARD. After submitting a research proposal, the officials asked certain questions in the interview and the research activity that we had pursued earlier. Some questions were on research practice, methods of research practice and this was the normal process.
MM: How did you prepare for the internship? What were the major hurdles you faced?
SDSS: The first process was fine. I made sure in my graduation that I had enough exposure to the research domain. So it was not a big deal for me to cross the first parameter. Moreover, I also did two internships earlier, where I was a Research Intern and Public Relations Intern. ( Research intern at Odisha State Commission for Women, where I produced some of the programs on critical analysis, and some of the research work was done on the rural study and gender-specific).
The second challenge was writing the research proposal with efficiency. I guess I was lucky enough that we were called back to campus at that time, and the professors helped me a lot in writing my research proposal. Prof. Nihar Ranjan Mishra had a specific class on the research proposal. I had ensured that I attentively took notes in his class and accordingly wrote a correct proposal for my upcoming thesis or other works. It was a crucial stage when it came to writing research proposals, which was ensured by the professor of NIT only.
The next thing was my interview, and I had a few discussions with my professors on what questions they would be asking and what aspects they might ask. The HOD of the department, Prof Jalandhar Pradhan, Dr Narayan Sethi and Dr Ipshita Roy, all helped me out in my interview process before having the actual round and my fellow mate, Sachin Singh, also helped me a lot in this process. The interview was crucial because my name was somewhat South Indian type, so my professors were quite sceptical that owing to my name, the interviewers might feel that I might not be from Odisha. But despite all these, I gave my best, and when the D–Day came, we also had an allotted exam on the same day, so I made sure that I reached for the exam and interview because I wanted this internship at any cost. We did discussions, and for the research proposal part, I had mailed few professors the specific area they were specialised in, and they checked it. So this was the minimum thing, and I read a lot of books by then. Reading on techniques on research proposal, qualitative and quantitative techniques. I had to be thorough about that.
MM: Did the global pandemic of COVID affect your preparation in bagging this internship?
SDSS: I was a bit lucky to bag it despite the pandemic. Had I been on campus, I could have been exposed to more quantitative methods of research, which I missed and even some Data Analysis part which NIT Rourkela actually specialises in Development Studies. Had the pandemic been not there, firstly, I would have had access to data analysis and quantitative methods of research. Secondly, I could have attended more webinars and conferences which could have given me a greater edge over my competitors. In a way, yes, Covid-19 did affect my preparation to some extent.
MM: Now that you have been selected for the internship, which field/area would you be working on at NABARD?
SDSS: Currently, I am working on Agriculture & Enterprises in the state of Odisha, and I’m working on the opportunities and challenges lying in the state of Odisha.
MM: How instrumental was NITR in helping you to achieve this feat?
SDSS: The Professors and particularly this course immensely helped me in achieving the internship. Prof Nihar Ranjan Mishra, Prof Jalandhar Pradhan (HOD), Dr Narayan Sethi, Dr Ipsita Roy have guided me throughout. NIT Rourkela has been a pillar to help me get this opportunity, and all my friends have been quite helpful in giving me positive motivation throughout the journey.
MM: Students are sometimes unaware of what lies ahead after the five-year programs. What, according to you, are some possible career paths after their MA studies?
SDSS: One has to be very consistent to pursue a career in this field because though we have opportunities, they are looking for those who are excelling in the field. While pursuing a career in Humanities, we have to make sure that we are the best.
So, firstly we have career opportunities with industrials sectors (CSRs), second with NGOs, then Public Policy Professionals and in Administrative Role as well Developmental Studies is very much essential for those aspiring to be Civil Servants. We also have opportunities in Higher Studies and getting back to educational arenas like Professors. So, those are the broad areas I’m aware of.
Future goals and message to NITR Junta
MM: What are your plans and future goals after completing the Master's degree?
SDSS: I am planning to prepare for the Civil Services Exam. But besides that, I am also not ruling out the possibility of working with excellent development professionals as that is my course of study in my MA degree. So currently, I am open-ended on both of these options for now.
MM: What message would you like to convey to our readers?
SDSS: This pandemic has affected everyone in every aspect, be it physically or mentally. But we must keep going despite all odds and focus our attention on our goals. I know it is sometimes hard to be focused and stay determined towards one’s goal all the time. But one must strive to maintain that goal-oriented approach in life. I am optimistic that this pandemic will normalise very soon, and things will get back to normal.
One must also keep exploring their talents and lookout for new opportunities in every possible way and not wait for it to somehow come in their way. As life is too short not to try out and fail rather than sit ideal and do nothing. We should also not forget to live every moment and give our best at everything we do.
Team MM congratulates SD Swagata Satprem for her achievement and wishes all the best for her future endeavours.
Design Credits:- Insha Mustafa