How I bagged an internship in US after continuous rejections

How-I-bagged-an-internship-in-US-after-continuous-rejections

About the Author: Manish Mehta, a student of IIT Kanpur, shares how he got over the rejections from top companies and bagged an internship in the USA. 

My 5th semester brought a lot of adventure. I was on 63 credits which were the maximum allowed and was representing my team in the Inter IIT Aquatics championship, a swimming competition, when companies started visiting our campus for intern recruitment. Scoring a 9.7 GPA had made me overconfident, and I soon received its downfall. After being rejected by HUL, ITC, Schlumberger, Times Internet, and Deutsche Bank back to back, I started emailing professors across the world and applied for research internships viz. DAAD, Mitacs, Caltech, etc. However, nothing worked out for me leaving me shattered. During those hard times, I learnt that rejections are not failures but experiences one learns from. I started afresh with prioritizing my days; I brushed up my concepts and paid attention to everything I was doing; be it my internship preparations or swimming. Finally, an opportunity knocked on my door when I was least expecting it. I was shortlisted for an interview at Fuzzy Logix Inc., a USA based company. I appeared for the interview confidently even after being rejected by so many institutions. This was a crazy experience; I was interviewed in Hindi because I was brought up in Varanasi. The interview consisted technical and behavioural questions. I was asked about the project I worked on during my previous internship in computational chemical engineering, its impacts, my contribution to the project, any improvements that could be made to it. He asked me about the highlights of my internship and the areas I could have improved on. I explained the project and my contributions slipping in instances of my perseverance and patience. I told him about the recent improvements we had made to the project. He asked me about my childhood, my family background, a few things listed on my resume, and if I ate paan and knew how to cook. He asked me to tell him something that was not listed on my resume; I told him how I was pursuing my passion along with my studies. Then he asked me what I would do if my manager were on leave and we had to complete a task within a week. I told him that I’d take ownership of the task and get it done with my team keeping the manager updated with the progress. Impressed with my confidence and my logical thinking, he hired me. This was going to be my first trip to the US, and I was all jazzed up. I landed in Charlotte, North Carolina, USA, intimidated with the fact that I had stepped out of my comfort zone.

My job was based on web development and data analytics. The organization was launching a new product in the form of a movie recommendation engine to signify the power of in-database analytics and the rapidity of obtaining recommendations. My task was to develop the entire front end of the recommendation engine. I designed the platform such that once a user searched the movie of his/her interest, a list of 15 movies came up as a slider showing 5 at a time. The movies had a thumbnail which directed a user to two tabs – one contained the movie trailer, plot summary, and its IMDB rating while the other contained info about its cast and crew, release year, and genre. The users also had an option to select movies of particular genres, ratings, language, and release years. I also designed drop downs for the list of movies, features to like, share, and subscribe on various social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc. For the backend, I worked on deploying algorithms for better and faster recommendations. I searched free online resources to obtain the information on movies and extracted the data to our database using web crawling. I developed models for obtaining overall ratings of movies which were used for clustering and classifications. The authenticity of these ratings was established by the number of users and the reviews per user. I also promoted the social media pages of Fuzzy Logix by sharing them with my friends and informing them about the interesting job I had there; within two weeks, the views showed an exemplary increment. While working on the project, I got an exposure to CSS3, HTML5, PHP, JavaScript, machine learning, and data science algorithms.

It had taken me a month to settle in but once I blended in with the culture, I made friends and set out with them to explore various cities. I would visit a nearby college frequently which made the students think I was a student too, and they invited me to their dance classes. I went hiking, trekking, and birthday parties with them. I returned to India with a great deal of experience and memories. I learned that everything falls into place when you retain faith in yourself instead of giving up. After all, that’s what helped me crack an internship in the USA. Oh, did I mention that I won the Aquatics Championship too?

Discouraged by continuous setbacks and want to revive your career? Apply to these international and programming internships and start off again. 

Editor’s note – If you also have an interesting story to share, you can now participate in Your Internship Story Contest 2017 and win cash prizes and goodies worth INR 1 Lac!

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