Biocon – the Indian bio-pharmaceutical company, based out of Bangalore, has a decade-old internship program helping them tap into the full potential of college students and recent graduates. The Senior VP-HR of Biocon, Mr. Amitava Saha, believes that interns are simply permanent-employees-in-making. As we get going with a tete-a-tete with him, he reflects on various important aspects of the Biocon Internship Program. Excerpts-
Hi Amitava. Thank you for doing this. Could you please provide us an overview of the Biocon Internship Program?
Hi. Glad to be of help. The Biocon internship program has been more than a decade old. The main purpose is to give a platform to students and fresh graduates to get real-time, hands-on industry experience and also get an opportunity to work alongside regular employees on real projects. There are two types of interns in our system –
Work Interns – These interns have completed their education and have aspirations to learn on-the-job before heading out for a full-fledged career. Many of these interns are absorbed at Biocon itself. The maximum tenure for this internship is 8 months.
Study Interns – These are college students who do internships as a part of their college curriculum. The tenure depends on the provision in their curriculum – may vary from 3 to 8 months.
We visit reputed institutions like XLRI, IMS, IIM-Bangalore, BITS Pilani, Napier University, IFIM, etc. for recruiting interns in fields varying from management to engineering & other fields.
What are the qualities that you seek in an intern and what methods do you employ to recruit them?
Good academic performance and sound technical knowledge are pre-requisites, of course. Apart from that, we evaluate the ability of a potential intern to be a cultural fit into the company and their adaptability while working in teams which, in turn, would require the person to have good interpersonal skills.
For shortlisting the interns, we use Group Discussions (where applicable) followed by interviews. This is true for both types of interns –
- The students who are hired from colleges that we visit.
- Students/Graduates who send us resumes through our website or by any other means.
What kind of projects and mentorship should students expect at Biocon?
Interns get projects/assignments in all key business units in the organization covering R&D, Operations, Quality, Marketing and support functions like HR & Finance.
Once an intern is inducted into the company, he/she is assigned a particular project along with a mentor, who is an experienced professional in that area of work. The mentor works closely with the intern to oversee and help him or her progress. While offering PPO (Pre Placement Offer), the mentor’s feedback forms the most important basis of selection.
What, in your opinion, would be the mistakes that new interns generally commit?
During initial days, interns exude a sense of casual attitude. Coming fresh from college, they take some time before finding their feet in the professional world.
Secondly, they tend to be very theoretical. It takes them a while before they realize the difference between theory and practical execution.
How has Biocon benefited from the program and how has it changed over years?
The Internship Program is a great platform for fresh graduates to learn on the job. They work on real-time projects which have tangible business benefits and the experience of being part of the journey helps them build on skill and confidence.
For us, it is both an initiative to help the larger student community and also help induct fresh talent into the company. It is also a good way to build Brand Biocon in the academic institutes.
The change over the years has been primarily in the wide plethora of Projects and the number of Interns who have come into the company. The philosophy of Internship has remained unchanged
What are the three things at Biocon that would make their internships unforgettable at Biocon?
Real time exposure – At Biocon, we assign real time projects to our interns so that there is a tangible benefit to be derived from the exercise. They are given a lot of freedom and hands-on exposure to work alongside our regular employees which help them learn better and build on their confidence level.
Culture– Interns are made to feel a part of the Biocon family during their stay with us in terms of various engagement activities and access to events and facilities.
Opportunity to become an Employee – Almost 8 % of our hires are interns-converts.
Thank you Amitava for giving an insight into such a nicely implemented internship program at Biocon. We’re sure students on our platform will find this very useful.
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