Interview: Swetha Sivakumar (2016-2020)

What is Adobe WIT? Who all can apply?

Adobe WIT is a scholarship whose cardinal aim is to encourage the participation of women in the field of technology, more specifically Computer and information sciences. Adobe WIT is available in two formats, Adobe WIT-India and Adobe WIT-Global. For the global version, any female student pursuing a degree in fields related to computer science/Electrical engineering/Math can apply. For Adobe WIT India, along with the above-mentioned criteria, the student must also be an Indian citizen pursuing required a degree from Indian institutions.

How did you stumble upon the 2020 Adobe India Women-in-Technology Scholarship? 

One of my friends had mentioned the same to me in my sophomore year, since then it had been in the back of my mind. But during the third year, when I actively started seeking out internship and other scholarship opportunities, I read and gathered more information about the same from their official website. Their website is very helpful for any queries related to the application.

What all comes as a part of the scholarship package?

Adobe covers the educational cost for the remaining years of study. It also appoints an industry expert to mentor you. Additionally, It covers the cost of you attending the Grace Hopper Conference-India. Apart from the above mentioned, I was also offered an opportunity to intern with Adobe India for the summer of 2019.  

What does the application process involve? 

The application process starts usually by the end of August and closes by mid-September (Deadline for 2020 scholarship: 22nd September 2019). The first stage of application includes answering to 3-4 essay questions, uploading educational details (GPA, projects, interns, other certifications etc). It also includes submission of a YouTube video, but it is optional though. I hadn’t submitted a video with my application. We also have to submit one letter of recommendation (LOR) during this phase of application (usually submitting LOR has one extra week from the proposed portal application deadline). 

Did you have to contact any official from Adobe after having submitted the application? Did any official from Adobe contact you?

No, I didn’t contact anyone after completing my application. We get an email notification once we submit the application and another notification after your referee has submitted the LOR. Once my application was complete, I didn’t receive any information further other than the above two notifications from Adobe until December. In December first week, I had received an e-mail informing me of my shortlisting to the next round. This was followed by multiple rounds of technical interviews by different panels from Adobe.

What were the roadblocks you faced during the process? How did you address the essay type questions?

The application process for Adobe WIT is pretty straightforward, so I didn’t face any blockades as such. As the first phase of shortlisting will be based only on your online applications, the essay answers are quite important. For the essay questions, it would be highly suggested to write answers which showcase a technical aspect with a touch of personalisation rather than going for purely technical or factual answers. The personal touch that you impart to your essays makes the essay more relatable to the reader, thereby creating a more vivid picture of the applicant in the mind of the selector.

What does Adobe look for in the applicants? Is there any specific criterion that stands out and appears to be the deciding factor for selection?

As much as the technical knowledge that they look for in applicants, in my personal opinion, they also look for highly ambitious students, with a clear goal of their long term future and the potential return on investment from the applicant to the society as a whole. 

Elaborate on the sequence of events after the selection.

Once selected, you might be called to submit your certificates for verification. There will be a background check on the winners following which the scholarship fund transactions are initiated. You will be thoroughly guided by Adobe throughout this process, thus there is nothing to worry much about. In case you are offered an intern and accept the offer, you might have further procedures related to that. 

Does Adobe WIT offer stipend for the intern to cover expenses/pay for the work done?

I was unfortunately not able to take up the internship offer from Adobe, so the following is what I have heard from a friend of mine and another scholar from the cohort of WIT 2019.

Yes, if selected for an internship, Adobe pays stipend which is more than enough to cover the daily expenses and other expenses incurred during your stay there. Adobe had also arranged for her stay for the first quarter of her internship.

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Is the intern at Adobe during summer a parcel of the scholarship? Does it have another selection procedure?

The scholarship does not guarantee an internship opportunity directly (The same is mentioned on their website as well with an * on top of the internship point). It is subject to other factors of which I am not very sure about.

Having been accepted as a Mitacs intern, what differences did you notice in the questions asked and answers expected by the company when compared to the application processes of scholarships like Mitacs and Daad?

Questions of Mitacs interviews were more aligned with the project that you had applied for, but Adobe interviews at multiple levels tested an eclectic array of aspects. In my opinion, initial rounds tested the applicant holistically on both technical adroitness and their well-roundedness. But further interviews were highly focused on technical knowledge specifically in the applicant’s field of interest.

Would you consider working at Adobe after your intern/scholarship? Does the scholarship put a feather in your cap whilst applying for employment at Adobe?

Yes definitely. Adobe has been one of my dream companies and I will definitely embrace any future opportunities to work with them. Also, Adobe has consistently ranked among the top companies in the world with the highest employee happiness and satisfaction, so yes I definitely will. The scholarship might not guarantee a job with Adobe straight away, but when listed on a resume it definitely does give a little boost to the profile.

There is a healthy chance for students to have either overseen or skimped on scholarships like these. And with a company behind it, it becomes even more so obscure. How do you advise the students to be on the lookout for the same?

Many major companies have devised their own scholarships to support an eclectic segment of students. And the internet is the best source for obtaining information about any such scholarship. It is thus advisable to have a constant lookout for such scholarships on the web (blogs, quora, official websites etc).

All the best for applicants of Adobe WIT 2020 🙂

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The official media house of NIT Trichy.

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