Many of you reading this article might have an internship or two under your belt and chances are more than 90% of those came from absolutely no help from your college. When it comes to asking our colleges’ Training and Placement cell for some help in securing internships et al, we are met with questioning eyes as to how dare we disturb them during their lunch time. Internship, they presume, is just a show-off for adding lines to your resume. When in fact, it is quite the most important thing during your college life.
Let me share my experience with you. Being a non-IITian, getting an internship in a big multinational was naturally tougher. At the end of my first year, I went to the T&P of my college and asked for an internship recommendation.
They looked quite bewildered, as to what a first year was doing in their office. They promptly explained to me that internships are undergone during 3rd or 4th year, this ain’t for you. Thankfully, due to my involvement in Web designing workshops in college, I got an internship with the help of a senior. And it was awesome. I earned, but more importantly learnt.
Many of you will relate to my story. After that experience, I told myself, yaha sab apne aap karna padega!, meaning, I will have to slug it out on my own. Unfortunately, most colleges in our country do not pay attention to student internships as they should. The focus is on getting a student placed, not trained. That is why many of our undergraduates lack the essential skills of industrial training and the professionalism which comes with it. They face a hard time settling into jobs after college. How do you expect a person to cook a delicious meal if he’s never been inside a kitchen? Well, funny example, I know, but you do get the point!
Abroad, the internship culture is ingrained into the lives of students and colleges alike. Students undergo intense internships starting from their freshman year itself, not shying away from any opportunity. In fact, they are so proactive that even high school students take up an internship during their summer vacations. This way, they have enough industry exposure and skills to tackle any problem in the workspace. Of course, the kind of internship they do and the skills they are expected to apply vary according to their age.
In retrospect, the skills we learn from these experiences hold much more importance than cramming stuff up a day before the exams to get better marks. Will you ever decide your career choice by the subject you got good marks in or through an internship in that field where you impressed everybody? The diversity of experiences you will have from all your internships will be wonderful. Apart from learning crucial stuff (No, not learning to copy paste), we learn how to manage things. How to deal with yourself, a problem or other people more efficiently. Of course, you will make mistakes, but that’s the best part. You are allowed to and expected to.
Very soon, many pre-final year undergraduates will be battling it out with their laptops in the hope of finding an internship, partly because it is compulsory in their college. If you were an employer, won’t you give preference to a senior undergraduate who has two meaningful internship experiences in the past? Amidst all the frenzied searches, there could even come a time when you are ready to accept everything for anything even if it makes no sense for you to be working in that field. To avoid this, we should be prepared before hand and start looking for internships from the first year itself. No matter how many times you’ve been told it’s not for you, go for it and grab the early bird!
So, as we always say, enough of English, let’s put some numbers in! (The other place where we say this is in your resume). According to a survey, your chances of getting placed jump to 63.1 % if you have an internship under your belt as compared to those who don’t. 84% of undergraduates abroad have had 1 or more internship experience before entering their senior (4th) year. You will be 3 times as likely to be given a full-time job offer by the company you have previously interned with as compared to the ones who haven’t.
Conclusion? You got that right! Internships are pretty important. Be on the lookout early! Haven’t found yours yet? Search here and get started! :-)
Tanya Pandey is currently 3rd year undergraduate at Jaypee University, Noida. She recently joined Internshala as an intern.
Survey credits: www.theatlantic.com and www.scu.edu