A college student has an undeniably hectic life. The modern day student is tasked with handling the combined pressures of maintaining good grades, juggling extracurricular activities, and preserving some semblance of a social life.
College is an opportunity to stand outside the world for a few years, between the comfort of home and the exigencies of career, and contemplate things from a distance. This is the stage of their life where students are expected to figure out where their passions lie, and work towards acquiring necessary skills to start their career in their chosen fields.
Internships serve this very purpose; it gives students an opportunity to discover their interests and acquire skills to further their ambition. Whichever career path a student chooses, internship experiences play a major role in determining one’ employability and research potential.
Our institute values the merits of internships and has even allocated credits to the internship program in the curriculum. For instance, students have to undergo a two month internship worth two credits in their third year( for B.Tech) and first year(for M.Tech) summer breaks. While fourth year B.Arch students are required to undergo a 5 month internship which accounts for 10 credits in their curriculum.
In this cover story, we hope to answer a few common questions that students have about internships. We look at the different options a student has, and try to provide a rough guideline for the most common types of internships students in this campus choose to do. We also look at statistics collected from students in NIT-T about the kind of internships they do, and how effective they are. We aim to clear a student’s mind of any sort of uncertainty they might face while making career choices that have a long standing impact.
Types of internships:
A student isn’t expected to know where their interests lie immediately after entering college. Usually, students spend their first year settling down and getting used to a new college atmosphere, while slowly preparing themselves for the gruelling academic schedule that would hit them in the years to come.
In our institute, students decide to choose between research and jobs based on the guidance and advice acquired from seniors and professors. The lack of proper career guidance creates a lot of confusion and can even be discouraging to students.Hence,the surest test of gauging one’s interest in a particular field is an internship. This section will talk about the different types of internships a student can do, and what avenues these internships open up.
Most students join NIT-T with the intention of pursuing a career in engineering or applied sciences related to their departments. Research internships are the surest way to test one’s interest in their core department of study.
A research internship entails doing a project at an academic institution or a private research body. The project involves an extensive study of a particular area of study, and can be either theoretical or experimental in nature.
Research internships can be done in the summer and winter breaks of one’s 2nd and 3rd year, as well as during the academic semester.
There are plenty of research opportunities in labs across universities like the Indian Institute of Science, Indian Institute of Technology, IISER, IIMs and even the various departments at NIT Trichy. Professors at these institutes usually have many projects that run year round, and are open to applications from students who are looking to further their interest in their respective fields of study.
There are plenty of research scholarships that open research avenues outside India. These scholarships not only provide financial assistance, but also academic and career guidance. Apart from these research scholarships, a lot of students fund their own internships to international universities to gain a wider perspective on their field of study.
IAS – The Indian Academy of Sciences offers summer research fellowships to 2nd and 3rd year students of all departments. The application process usually opens in November, after which the academy funds selected candidates to pursue research in different labs and universities.
JNCASR – The Jawarharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research offers a summer fellowship programme in many core engineering fields. The application process begins in early November.
SN Bose Fellowship: The top 2 students of every department (based on CGPA) is given an opportunity and funding to pursue an internship at a university of higher education or a research centre in the USA.
DAAD-WISE – This programme offers opportunities and financial aid to Indian students pursuing a degree in the fields of science and engineering who wish to do an internship at a German higher education institution or at a research institute. Though not explicitly stated, students with a CGPA higher than 9.3 usually benefit from this scholarship. Do remember that DAAD applications process is a lengthy one and even requires one to translate website’ content from German to English.
MITACS – This programme offers opportunities and financial aid to Indian students who wish to do an internship at a university of higher education in Canada. Acceptance into this programme is purely based on the quality of application, and generally students with a CGPA above 8.0 stand a chance of getting this scholarship.
CHARPAK: This programme is run by the Embassy of France in India and involves a similar process as DAAD. However, the programme provides internship in French institutions and is said to have no limiting CGPA criterion.
Note: In all the above instances it is suggested that you have a resume prepared with academic, project/internship co-curricular and extracurricular details. Use Latex to prepare your resume, if possible. Also, these internship applications require students to submit at least one and up to three letters of recommendation from different professors, preferably department professors who have taught you.
How to Apply?
|The easiest way to apply for an internship is via an email. The following text aims to give a broad step-by-step procedure on how to apply for a research internship.
Note : This does not apply for any scholarship programme.
1. Identify your area of interest: It is a good idea to try and find out where your interests lie, based on coursework you have already done/yet to do.
2. Shortlisting: It is a good idea to visit the department websites of IISc, the IITs, the IISERs etc, and discover research groups who are working on a project which relates to your area of interest. One could also talk to professors from their department, asking for contacts and referrals in their field of interest.
3. Database: Create a database of the professors you intend to contact, their research interests and their contact details; all of which can easily be found in the department website of every university/research centre.
4. Mailing: Once your area of research is decided and list of professors are shortlisted, start emailing them about internship opportunities. DO NOT send the same generic email to everyone, but personalize it based on your interests in the recipient’s research work. [sample email can be found at: insert link]
One can also make a phone call or even physically meet the potential project guide.
It is a good idea to start applying from October; professors usually like to decide their research schedule well in advance.
Company internships are completely different from research internships. They open up new career perspectives and provide an insight to the real time application of research and academic concepts. Companies open for interns in core, management, techno management and software and hardware profiles.The nature of these profiles vary for departments and companies.However, at a company internship, irrespective of the profile, one will essentially learn a lot about time and resource management, work ethics, and company politics.
A large number of companies open up spots for summer and winter internships.Majority of students at NITT carry out their interns in India and certain companies may send their interns abroad for a brief period during their internship.Apart from a full time internship, there are companies that open up part time roles for students, like writing internships.
Some students of NITT have pursued internships at foreign companies. Such opportunities give students a global exposure.The process is very similar to applying to off campus companies, however, you may need to fund your expenses, from travel to accommodation.In most instances, a stipend is offered which could cover the expenses.
How to Apply?
|1. Decide the area you wish to pursue a career in- Core, management or software.
2. List out the possible profiles you wish to work under. For instance, product design, business analysis etc. Run a thorough research on your profile and find associated companies.
3. Search the net for information and reviews about the companies you’ve shortlisted. Talk to people who are working.in these companies or a have knowledge about the companies.
4. Read about the timings, the type of work interns are expected to carry out, the promised pay and most important, what the company has to offer to you.
5. Prepare a good resume. Include previous intern/project experience, software you’ve learnt, co- curricular activities, apart from your GPAs and academic achievements.
6. Prepare for aptitude tests and ensure that your engineering basics are strong. Note: Companies will question on department related subjects even if it is irrelevant to the profile you’ve applied for.
7. Finally, work on your communication skills and try to be enthusiastic and convincing in your interviews.
The Training and Placement cell of NIT Trichy opens internships for third year B.Tech students. Students who wish to sit for company internships, need to have their resumes ready, prepare for aptitude tests and also have a good knowledge of branch related subjects.Companies have different criteria and processes for interns.
Email and LinkedIn
Not all companies that visit our campus open for interns.Also, if you wish to pursue your internship at a startup, corporate firm, design house or any other organisation, you will have to mail your resume along with a convincing cover letter to the respective HR personnel. LinkedIn is an excellent platform to network with companies, for interns and placements. Ensuing rounds may involve interviews (via Skype, telephone etc) and in some cases, task(s) submission. Architecture students usually secure their internships through this process.
Websites like internshala.com and twenty19.com list out thousands of internships. However, most students find it difficult to secure an internship with convenient timings or satisfactory pay or benefits.These sites could be of better help in semester break following the first year.
If none of the above options seem viable, it’s always possible to acquire an internship through mutual contacts. Here too, you will have to send a mail and even attend interviews.
Note: Most companies recruit interns with the intention of absorbing them into the company. Interns have an edge over fresh recruits in terms of exposure to the company work culture. Hence it is imperative to take a company internship very seriously, especially in the third year summer break.
Everyone has a unique intern story to tell. While some stories are exceptional, most are humdrum and even disdainful. Here, we have put together two intern experiences to provide a picture of how internships influence students and help understand their choices and perceptions.
Girish Kumar, Civil 4th year
This summer, through the DAAD Wise Scholarship 2017, I underwent a research internship at Technical University of Darmstadt, Germany. I was under the guidance of Professor. Dr. Jens Schneider who was specialised in glass structures and Structural Mechanics, at the Institute of Structural mechanics and design.I was allotted to work on the topic, “Numerical analysis of cavitation effects on rubber like material”. Initially it seemed complicated but as my guide explained the concepts and theory slowly, I gained interest and enthusiasm. The internship was well planned with weekly tasks and reports.
The education system is very flexible, anyone can walk into any lecture and attend it. Students have advanced research laboratory facilities and professional guides for operating and explaining all equipments. Every weekend, I went on a lot of exciting trips.I visited Paris, Austria, Netherlands, Swiss, Solvenia, Teiberg( Black forest), Munich and few local cities inside Germany. I must also remark at the punctuality, level of planning, management and coordination of the Transportation system there.
This experience has changed my life in many ways and had put a mark in my academic career and my social life!
Afnan, Mechanical Third year
I did my research internship at IISC Bangalore.It was a great experience for me. I was in a fellowship program in the biomechanics lab. It was the subject that excited me the most. Though I was from an engineering background it was relatively easy for me to grasp many of the biological details and implement it in my project. Being able to find my own solutions to a problem in a feasible and economical way was the most critical skill I developed during my stay there. My 2 month internship at IISC has given me the confidence to go behind my passion and implement my own ideas rather than running behind jobs and placements.
Many interns felt they were underworked and had very little to contribute.They attributed this to the lack of organisation and mediocre guidance at an internship, especially in case of company internships. In some instances, students felt that the companies or guides would have involved them in more demanding and significant projects if the internship period lasted for 4 to 6 months.On the other hand, interns who received proper guidance, had a very good feedback and learning experience, highlighting even the minutest details.
Feeds ran a survey among the students of NITT. Here are the results of the responses.
Type of Internship pursued.
How did you secure your internships?
This cover story spoke about internships – it’s necessity, the options that are available and different student experiences.
Students had a mixed response to internships. While none felt it was unnecessary to undergo an internship, most students expecting a break in the holidays perceived internships as a cumbersome process rather than an opportunity.
Students undergo internships for the mere purpose of fulfilling academic requirements, and a resume uplift. It was observed that, in some cases people tend to apply out of peer pressure and very few voluntarily seek an internship.
This attitude is understandable since internships or any training processes demand dedication, and patience, and time. In the beginning, every intern feels undervalued and believes his/her internship is a lost cause. The truth is, it takes at least two weeks to appreciate or judge the work you’ve been absorbed into. As an intern, one has to approach others, interact with strangers, mine for data, and help with ongoing work or projects.Interns need to constantly push themselves- a lot of self learning is required. Some students even end up learning new softwares and techniques during their internship.The experience is tiring and even feels unfair; most interns reach a point where they wish to quit. But with some amount of will and perseverance, everyone finds satisfaction. Many interns even believe a longer internship would improve the quality of internships.
Towards the end of the internship, while drafting the end report, every intern is grateful for the experience.Whether good or bad, internships yield students a sapience on work culture and politics and finally re-instill a belief that academics and research serve a real time purpose.
The quality of an internship is important. Make the best of it.
Additional internships you might be interested in:
“NITI Aayog, Government of India had initiated an Internship Scheme in 2015. Based on the experience in the past years a review was made. Now in supersession of all the previous guidelines in this regard, The NITI Aayog announces the revised Internship Scheme. This Scheme seeks to engage students pursuing Under Graduate/Graduate/Post Graduate Degrees or are Research Scholars enrolled in recognized University/Institution within India or abroad, as “Interns”. These “Interns” shall be given exposure to various Verticals/Divisions/Units within NITI Aayog and would be expected to supplement the process of analysis within NITI Aayog through empirical collection and collation of in-house and other information. For the “Interns” the exposure to the functioning of the Indian Government may be an add-on in furthering their future interests.”
“The National Initiative on Undergraduate Science (NIUS), a major initiative of HBCSE (TIFR) concerning tertiary science education in India, was launched in the summer of 2004. With thrust on promoting undergraduate research and learning, the NIUS programme has been contributing towards training of students and teachers in theoretical and experimental science, preparation of pedagogical material and R&D in science education/laboratory training.”