Tushar Malhotra (centre) interned with Alcatel Lucent Pvt Ltd and recollects his internship hunt story during his 2nd year of engineering. Tushar is a student of Electronics & Communication Engineering at Maharaja Surajmal Institute of Technology. Here’s his story of internship.
Well to begin with, it was during my second year in college when this sudden onset of “INTERNSHIPS” started to get in our heads. We had heard from our seniors that there is no need to make such a hue and cry, just contact the HOD and he will have some company like MTNL or private firms come over, you throw them a few buck load of money and that’s all, whether you attend the program or not, join the course or not, you will get the certificate and, after all, that is what matters.
This probably made 99% of the people in my college eased out and back to the daily chores without any further thought about it. But, for the remaining 1% like me who took it as a challenge to try and get a decent enough internship, we tuned into our one short mantra for everything known to you all as “Internet”. Now, this was in no means an easy task as the first thing we do is to pop onto google and search… and within seconds it leads us to various sites like Internshala, letsintern etc. While there were a lot of lucrative offers and internships available there, somehow it felt that there wasn’t the right one for me since there were very few from the domain of Electronics and more towards the marketing & computer science domains. Though I would have loved to do one in marketing, but sometimes you have to keep emotions aside and concentrate on what is the need of the hour. So, after a few days of in depth search and constant contact with cousins who are working in the corporate world, I decided to directly contact the companies I intended to work for through there websites. When it comes to the matter of hardcore electronics and communication there is no one that comes to mind than the French based Alcatel Lucent Pvt. Ltd. Luckily, they had an internship program for Engineers. I sent in my resume through the online portal only to the dismay of not getting a reply for the next 1 month. In the mean while I had lost hope on that aspect and started looking for other companies like BEL, Moser Baer, Panasonic etc.
While I was in the process of waiting for their response, suddenly an email popped up about a week later from Alcatel Lucent that I had been shortlisted for the interview round. I was on cloud nine on hearing this news but it also enlisted that I was one of the 70 applicants shortlisted out of which they eventually selected a mere 8. Out of these 8 also, there were a few who had resources and used it to the best of their ability to get through. So back to fact that I was in my second year, I had no clue what to expect and what to prepare for the interview, after all there must be a technical round as well and what do I know apart from digital communication, and that too we were just introduced this semester. So, started to switch into the extra gear and again with the help of the internet, started to prep on the latest technologies, more importantly the ones on which Alcatel was working on.
Finally, the judgement day of the interviews had arrived. I saw all 70 applicants dressed in formals having silky smooth ties, a few girls had put on a scarf around the neck and then the HR committee came in at sharp 10 in the morning. A list was circulated around through which we came to know of the groups we were allotted for the interview rounds. There were 7 people in each groups and I had a feeling that it won’t be as simple as it seems. Got nervous, went out for a few minutes to get my composure back and drank a fair bit of water. This nervousness was probably because of the intent I was having to work for this company. I was in group 4 and I felt that by the time my turn will come, they will be exhausted and trying to get over with this as soon as possible. But, at the contrary, they seemed more eager than I could think of, my name was called and I finally met the interviewers face to face. There were 3 of them, an old man who had a typical look of a college prof, a lady–must be in early 30’s and had a wry smile on her face, and another lady–probably in her 40’s who had a beaming smile that made you feel like forget the other two and interact with only her; but smiles can be deceiving.
Firstly ,they asked about me and my background, my academics, some easy computer aspects, latest advancements in it, and then finally on the domain of eletronics. They asked me why dreaded analog electronics and it would be safe to say that I somehow dodged a bullet by skipping them over that topic as soon as possible. But they weren’t done there, and then to my surprise, they started asking questions on aptitude and started testing my analytical skills. It was some god twenty minutes and then the grilling was over. I left by shaking hands with all three and received no expression whatsoever from any of them. I felt that I had done my best and now let’s see what does the fate holds in for me.
A week later, I got a call confirming my internship with Alcatel and being offered a stipend on Rs. 5000 for my two month training and that’s how the journey began. My reporting times were 10 to 5, 5 days a week. Now travelling to gurgaon from Delhi everyday was a good 60-90 minutes drive in the morning and they didn’t provide office cabs to interns. So, finding a mode of transport was of utmost priority as Metro wasn’t that convenient from my home. Luckily enough, my dad’s peon found another person in our apartments who travels everyday to gurgaon in the morning. I interacted with him for the first time in my life, a very decent down to earth person in his mid 30’s who was a CA and then decided to work for the Australian company Flight Shop. I used to accompany him everyday sharp at 7:30 in the morning and would be at office around 8:30 and I didn’t end it at all. I got AC, a laptop and free internet what more could I ask for. Though the long journey everyday, it was the conversations about life and valuable lessons that, as I call him now, Vishal Bhaiya taught me were indispensible even during the internship.
On my first day my, Mentor came around 10 and introduced me to all the people who had joined as interns. Two more were from my university, not from my college and naturally due to same course subjects and some unknown connection, we three became good friends. All of us had a different project allocated to us. While one was allocated GSM and one was working on a confidential Airforce project, I was allocated the Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation (KMRC) project. I was ecstatic as I got to select two of the seven domains to work on and I chose CCTV and Access Control System. Throughout the first week I was given an introduction to the various subsystems of the project and given a brief overview by my mentor and his whole team. They took me to the in-house labs within the campus and showed me a few of the system designs that they were working on for the new Metro to be launched in Kolkata at the end of year 2015. The one thing they acknowledged was that I was always perceptive and vigilant, always before time, which I utilised on an online course on Competitive Strategy that I was undergoing via Coursera.
They even took me to an all out paid trip to Kolkata to actually see the working of the 10 stations which were being constructed, the laying of the optical fiber cable, CCTV surveillance stations and access card system’s working that we use predominantly in the metro cards. We stayed there for two days and literally were living on the sweet dishes that they had to offer not only the famous Rasgulla but also Sandesh and Cham-Cham to name a few. I even carried a few for my 2 friends and they did enjoy it as well. On coming back, the best thing ever happened were Fridays. It was a day when one could come in casuals, yet I always wore formals.
One such Friday, there was a surprise meeting with 2 french delegates who had come over to India and were coming to the Gurgaon campus to meet the Project director Mr. Pathak and his team. Since this was a surprise visit, we were informed about it only an hour before. A meeting of this stature involved the company representatives to be dressed in formals and since only a few of the employees were in formals, I was also called in for the meeting as an intern. I took this opportunity as a good break and invested the remaining half hour on the internet cramming up a few of the french words with their correct pronunciations like s’il vous plait (please), bonjour (hello), au revoir (goodbye) etc and they were really impressed when they came in and I greeted them in their mother tongue. Even my project manager and director were impressed and took me out for the company dinner that month.
Finally when the internship was about to end in August 2013 they provided me with my certificate and my stipend along with a letter of recommendation by the project director himself. The whole internship was probably the best two months of my life, I got to experience something I would remember throughout my lifetime and these experiences are what at the end of the day make you feel content in your life.
My advice to the fellow B.Tech students is to never lose hope and don’t always blind trust what your seniors say, there are opportunities waiting for you to unravel and grab. You have internet, you have smart phones, you have so many online portals so what are you waiting for.
Editor’s note- Have you got an internship story to share? A chance to win cool Internshala T and other cash prizes by sharing your internship story here.