Ashish Kumar (fourth from right) is a Computer Science student who interned at a start up. It started with a simple idea but his hard work and zeal to excel made him stand out. He strongly feels that start ups are the best platform for starting your journey. Read his story to know more.
I am a 3rd year Computer Science student at NIT Rourkela. This summer, I interned at ChalkStreet an upcoming education based startup in Bangalore. My job was to build a solid online platform for online learning, which in itself was very challenging. Each day, I got the opportunity to learn many new things. I had to tackle problems which I never imagined I could conquer. A day would generally start with a deadline or challenge which seemed insurmountable. I generally had to mouth “Are you serious?”. But as we Indian students are programmed to never say no, we would set out aggressively to try completing the task. This obviously led to a lot of pressure if things were not going our way. Interns staring desperately at their laptops, almost pleading a miracle would happen. Fortunately there was always someone there to guide us. That adrenaline rush towards the end of the day was something worth chasing.
This is when I realized how awesome it is to work at a startup. A small team, or rather, a small family giving its all, helping each other and almost always, exceeding expectations! Pep talks by our charismatic Director, intense brainstorming sessions and learning beyond measure were all part of the deal. I truly believe, training in the flourishing Indian startup ecosystem is something every student should undergo. You can gain knowledge from books and tutorials, but character building experiences like this are extremely important. The never say no attitude and the will to learn are great assets in any person’s armory.
The biggest plus point is the independence you are given to use your imagination to help the organization. Startups try feast on talent, not curb it. The IIN advertisements were all the rage in social media. Once my fellow mate casually mentioned, “Yaar, yeh IIN ke ads toh bilkul bakwaas hai! Full on Ullu Banaoing!”. This triggered a discussion on whether these ads were misleading or they served the bigger purpose of promoting online education. There were questions on Social media on the likes of “Where are the courses on IIN?”. We checked the reach of these ads and were shocked to see that the word “IIN” was searched half a million times in the month of May alone. It suddenly struck me that this buzz around IIN and online education can be used to our advantage. If we could create a website where IIN trolls, industry reviews and trivia were accumulated then a good percentage of people searching for IIN would reach our site. From there people who are actually interested in learning could be redirected to www.chalkstreet.com.
I shared this idea with few of my friends. We decided to go ahead and make the site. A few were apprehensive about sharing the idea with the top management. The majority vote went for making the site and then showing the final product to the Director. One fine Saturday night, a team of six sat down with a mission in hand. We worked at superfast speed and developed the site overnight. The next Monday, I showed the site to the Director, Mr. Venkat Raghulan. He was extremely happy and proud that we thought out of the box and even executed the idea instead of just wondering whether it will work or not. He gave us the go ahead sign to launch the site. Although the intern team was new to the concept of SEO, we tried our best and brought the site to life – www.iinonline.in. The response was unprecedented. The Marketing Head of Chalk Street, an IIM grad came up to the Director and said, “There is a sudden huge spike in traffic. Any idea how this is happening?”. The feeling of converting a random idea to reality and seeing it work is truly awesome.
I am extremely thankful I got this opportunity and looking forward to work in an organization like Chalk Street yet again! :D