There are people who inspire you and within them you can find yourself. Similar is the story of this bright girl who never gave up, even the possibility to succeed was slight still she went ahead and paved her way with glory.
I had an opportunity to intern at Beckman Coulter Bangalore Development Centre from July to December 2014. Thanks to the unique curriculum of BITS Pilani where the students are given an opportunity to Intern at companies based on a preference list for one whole semester. As most of you, I had also learnt about Beckman Coulter via the holy channel of Google. I was pretty impressed it being based out of California and how the name Coulter, which sounded very familiar actually comes from the very famous ‘Coulter Principle’ and the one who stated it, Wallace Coulter. Given the fact that it was quite an intriguing start to my research about the company, I dived straight into the experience without giving much thought about how I would “fit in” as it was a Biomedical company working in the area of diagnostics whereas I was a mere B.Pharmacy undergraduate. Sceptical as I may have been at the start, I was blown by the massive research work occurring in the company that comprised of some 40-odd employees including us two interns.
The first day into my internship I was introduced to all the employees working there by the HR of the company who came across to be extremely friendly and curt at the same time. The director of the site, as I had found out is a BITS alumni which didn’t really matter but yeah we celebrated BITSians day while we there. We were shunned from calling our colleagues ma’am or sir and were given our own desks with the system to work on. This sort of arrangement was quite fascinating which got me and the fellow intern into thinking this is what corporate life feels like. The true taste of independence, if I may.
Moving to the work part, the company heavily worked with the technique of Flow Cytometry which we were assigned the task of mastering in a period of two weeks. Quite a task at hand, we immersed ourselves into its working and mechanisms. My colleague and I were each assigned a mentor and were given a project each that we would have to work with our respective mentors. The mentor I was assigned, a senior scientist who was a post graduate from Duke University, yes Duke and has been so inspiring that it’s not even funny. She has been one of the prime people who has got me interested in pursuing a career in research. She gave me my independence when it came to doing literature research, working up a model for a new experiment, so on and so forth. All of this came at a price. And it was due diligence and hard work at doing what you do. This was inherently expected of you without lax in any way possible. And if they found any, the so-called corporate dream place came crashing down at you by complaints from employees or getting chided at for reasons you’d think that are quite petty. Anyway, all this goes to say that my workplace had been quite competitive although it was as an R&D team that we all thrived to work towards successful research. Work got hectic by the time we reached the end of the month of August and went on to be so till my tenure there ended.
The timings were the usual 9-6 with the weekends off which gave us some respite and time for exploring Bangalore city as it was my first time in this city and also away from home. Score. The stipend was quite okay with a 15 grand every month, which I think is just sufficient enough to live with. By the end of my tenure, I had two projects in my kitty, technical skills such as flow cytometry which comes a long way in scientific circles and a new found ambition in life.
Thanks to my college BITS Pilani Hyderabad Campus and my mentor at Beckman Coulter, here I am with an idea that I now know my calling in life. And it has been quite an exciting journey since. I’m currently a Project Assistant at IISc, Bangalore working in the field of Biophotonics, something I’ve been wanting to pursue my higher education. I think getting an industrial experience brings clarity about your career goals and hits you with some hard truths about the dreamy corporate life. Gotta get yourself one of those!
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