Planning for a career switch? Do an internship!

Changing occupation

TL;DR: Thinking of an MBA to switch your career track? A management internship is a simpler, better, and more pocket-friendly way to get to the same goal. You can apply to some of these great management internships.

Rahul took up a job with a leading IT company after graduation. He worked there for 1-2 years, and then he moved on to do an MBA from one of the IIMs (lucky for him he didn’t end up in an unknown college). When asked why he was doing an MBA, he said he didn’t like the IT job anymore. On enquiring further about what he wanted to do next, he wasn’t much sure about it.

What happens next: Rahul takes an education loan to pay the hefty IIM fee. And when placement season comes, all he is worried about is landing a good paying job. Now, even though Rahul didn’t like the profile, he would have to stick to it, for at least next 2-3 years. Yet again Rahul is in the similar situation he was before MBA—he doesn’t like his job, and doesn’t know what to do next.

Rather than just following the trend, what Rahul could have done differently?

An internship. Yes, doing an internship is the most intelligible option when you want to make a career switch, but you’re really not sure about what to do next.

Why internship is an intelligible option?

It is rather simple to understand. Let us take the example of Vinayak Khare, an Electrical Engineering graduate from NIT Hamirpur. After graduation he worked in a core company for a year; he didn’t like his job, and took up an internship with Internshala. Vinayak currently works as Digital Marketing Manager at Internshala.

Vinayak says, “Getting into a good B-school requires an intense and dedicated preparation. And if you’re lucky enough to get into one of the top B-schools, you’d be spending two years of your time and a lot of money without even knowing what you want to do next.”

Below are the four reasons why I think internship is a sensible option if you’re planning for a career switch:

1. Internship gives you freedom to experiment: And it helps you discover what you like and what you do not. If you didn’t like your last marketing internship— don’t worry, you don’t need to stick to it; you can go about exploring different options. Do 3-4 internships, and eventually you would discover what career option suits you better.

Take the example of Chanukya Patnaik: Chanukya formerly worked as Business Apprentice intern with Internshala. Before that, he did a research internship [when still in college] under a Professor at NUS Singapore and decided not pursue a career in the field of Biotechnology. And now he is working as Marketing Manager at Codechef, a Directi venture.

2. Doing an internship is NOT expensive: Unlike B-schools an internship doesn’t require you to pay a hefty fee. On the contrary, you receive a stipend, which is usually good enough to take care of your personal expenses.

3. Internship is easy to find: You do not really need to do any intense & dedicated preparation in order to land an internship. With the start-up culture rapidly growing in India, it is easy to find a 3-to-6 month internship with a young and dynamic venture. Many start-ups would be more than happy to take up someone who already has some work experience for extra hand.

4. Last, but by no means least: internship teaches you new skills:  Every internship that you do, you learn some new skills. Say if you’re from an IT background doing a Digital Marketing internship, you will learn about the tools like Google Analytics & Microsoft Excel; and you also develop skills to write crisp messages, analyse data and calculate ROI of marketing campaigns. Someone from marketing background who knows just the basics of Photoshop and is doing a design internship, she will have an opportunity to learn advanced design tools like Illustrator, CorelDraw, etc, and fortify her design sense.

If you plan to do an MBA because you want to make a career in finance or have a clear reason*— great! Otherwise internship is a great way to taste the different career options without actually committing to them.

*If your reason is that you want to learn business— dear prospective businessman, think about the return on your initial investment you’re about to make, which is two years of time and a lot of money ;)

About the author : Shadab Alam, an NIT-Jsr graduate, has been the Head of Employer Relations at Internshala for around 3 years.

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