Summer Internship with Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore – Jibin Rajan Varghese from NIT Calicut

Daily Winner for: –  25th August 2013

Name of the intern: – Jibin Rajan Varghese

Institute: – NIT Calicut

Organization interned with: – Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore

How to Get an Internship You Didn’t Apply For!

“Oh how I wish I could’ve recorded that call” I told my bewildered mother that day.
This is a true story.

My tryst with the internship frenzy began around February when I first edited my Resume.
“Hmm.. Jibin Rajan.. Third year, Mech. CGPA: 8.7. Fully funded internship in First Year. Two research papers in the pipeline. One on-going patent with the TIFAC. Five robotics projects. ROBOCON Automatic Bot Operator of NIT-C Kerala’s Debut Team and one of the founding members of Robotics Interest Group (RIG), NIT-Calicut.”
I felt getting a third year internship should be rather easy.

By March, I had applied to over 20 companies and 12 different universities. My professors sent tons of reference letters to automated mailboxes of Cambridge, Carnegie Mellon, CalTech and the IITs . I used to browse through Internshala, and applied “for every possible internship” that popped up in my area. Countless online forms were filled and submitted. However 50 unresponded emails, and 25 CV variants later, I realized that this was going nowhere. Then sweetly written “Go to hell” letters from foreign universities started arriving as deadlines crossed. I felt hopeless and lost, so I returned to the stuff that I enjoyed doing – Robotics.

I thought I’ll stay in campus and work on Robotics @ RIG.
Robotics >> Swarm Robotics >> Multi-Nodal Swarming Algorithms >> Glowworm Swarm Optimization (well that seemed fun!).

In the ‘desp’est phase of my life, I eventually sent a mail to a professor at IISc, Bangalore regarding help in developing his GSO algorithm for robot-assisted search and rescue, just to while away my free time without keeping my mind empty. No response. In the meanwhile I desperately applied to various random companies in Oil and Gas, Machine Tools, Marketing rand Management as well. No Response there either.

By April, chances of getting an internship seemed as remote to me as breathing on Saturn. My parents advised me to look for GATE coaching in Hyderabad, or paid internships in places like GD Naidu, or BPCL, NTPC etc. I hated the idea.

It was a routine afternoon on May 6th (I still remember that date!) when my make-up examinations finally got over. I  wasn’t expecting anything particular. I packed my bags, unsure of what to take on an unsure summer vacation. The melancholy atmosphere made me reflect back on my three years of B. Tech life. Still, as far as my B. Tech life goes, most good things are out of the ordinary. Just the right cards weren’t showing up this time. I wondered why..

“Hello, am I speaking to Jibin Rajan?”
“This is Ghose speaking”
Which Ghose? I thought.
“I’m Professor Debashish Ghose, Chairman of IISc Aerospace, and I have an offer for you in Swarm Optimization Algorithms. I read your mail about a month ago. Would you like to work with us?”
I was speechless for a minute.
“I was particularly intrigued by your application of the Swarm Algorithm. In fact, Rescue robotics is a field that’s still in its infancy. I was thinking we could develop it together…I can cover your food and lodging expenses. Why not come over to IISc and let’s work on it? ”

This was the foremost authority on Swarm Robotics in India, speaking to me! Debashish Ghose was the scientist who proposed Glowworm Swarm Algorithm in 2005…The very same professor whom I had mailed for guidance to while away my free time. Four months of sending internship applications had yielded no result and here was this fantastic man, offering me an internship that I hadn’t even applied for! My joy knew no bounds.

I packed my luggage for Bangalore on 15th May.

“Oh how I wish I could have recorded that call” I told my bewildered mother that day.

True to his word, I did end up having the best time of my life at IISc Bangalore. There were two other interns Madhushree (Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago) and Rachana (PESIT, Bangalore) and an assistant professor, Ashwini sir, also on our team.

My work involved developing strategies for using quad-copters to autonomously search disaster zones for survivors, whom then rescue teams can directly locate and extract rather than spend time searching for. I converted my ideas to code, amidst cups of coffee and Good Day biscuits and wonderful company. Even now, Rachana, Madhushree and I still keep in touch. I have an open invitation to continue this work further. I was paid 8000 rupees per month as stipend.

The relevance of this project has had a deeper impact on me, following the recent 2013 Kedarnath floods. I believe that one day Robots would assist humans in equal capability to survive disasters. My work would lay down the mathematical foundations to that end.

“Just when the caterpillar thought its world would end, it became a butterfly!”
These lines have struck a chord somewhere deep in me. I think it’s a message for every internship aspirant out there, too. Sometimes, no matter how hard we try, or how much effort we put, things don’t go our way, even when everything reasonably suggests that they should. Then we can be sure, that God is out there, planning something bigger for us, and that’s just why our plans aren’t working. He is beyond infinity, beyond our reason, and beyond any amount of thanks we can give him.

Trust me, this is how you get an internship you never applied for!

Want something similar for yourself? Check out the latest Internships in Bangalore.

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7 thoughts on “Summer Internship with Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore – Jibin Rajan Varghese from NIT Calicut

  • August 21, 2015 at 11:19 PM

    You are an absolute gem. hats off dude. Ingenious. I have some doubts in robotics. can u help me.

  • April 8, 2016 at 4:00 PM

    Debasish ghose is a fraud professor from IISC his own students don’t want out of IISC please be very careful while interacting with this man he is a cheat he speaks in a very convincing manner

    • May 18, 2016 at 6:31 PM

      Debasish ghose is a major fraud professor from IISC. He makes you work like shit for a year and later says you worked in my lab as a freelancer not a project assistant. But at the time of joinin he will say no not even project assistant he will say genuine IISC employee. Later after 1 year passes by you would have forgotten everything. He will even lie to DRDO and take projects in his name an project that “he himself” is working on these projects and take money for a Phd candidate working on projects. Later he will siphon the money out in his name and pay you in “”””cash”””” 10,000 – 15,000 Rs per month and later there wont be any evidence of you working at IISC or anything. Later he will give a letter and reco and say go for higher studies. Such a dupe and scammer. Beware of such cheats at iisc.

      • August 24, 2016 at 5:30 PM

        Jibin was lucky to get 8k for internship. I did mine at IIT Chennai when I was in 3rd year at VTU and I had to pay for staying and all. BTW, “aa” and “IIsc Student” (I guess you are both the same guy :P), you got your facts wrong. I also did my masters at IIsc and spent a year with a prof in aero. I got a nice reco and am going for my PhD to EU this year. PhD schol is paid by GOI (maybe MHRD or UGC) not by DRDO. For all projects sponsored by DRDO, profs hire people to do the project. These people get paid from the project either as project assistant or on contract depending on nature of work. From what you say I am guessing you got paid on contract since the amount sounds right. I also got paid the same and it was kind of cool. As for IIsc employee, you got to be crazy to expect that IISc will make you an employee. No one working in project is IISc employee. Anyway, I suggest you write stuff that makes sense. Again, I am guessing you got a nice reco from this prof and got an admit from some place. So, chill bro …

      • August 28, 2016 at 7:04 AM

        This seem to written by some loser. I have worked with Prof Ghosh and I can say he is really honest and one of the best professors in IISc. He is very helpful to not only to his students but to lot of others. The research problem he gave me was very challenging and not of routine kind. It requires a lot of work to solve the problems he gives but in the end what you learn is great and you may even get a good publication out of it. I wrote a good conference paper and it helped me to get financial support for my graduate studies. Please don’t be misled by random statements like what is written above. If you want to work on mobile robots you should try your luck with him. You will be lucky to get a chance to work in the ghosh lab.

      • April 28, 2017 at 5:59 PM

        You seem to be some loser. prof. ghosh is a great prof. I never heard anything like this about him and I am in aero department for more than three years.

  • August 24, 2016 at 5:36 PM

    and also, BTW, the contract salary comes from the project salary head and is totally above board. there is no way anyone can siphon off anything.



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