About the Author: Partha Sarathi Mishra, a student pursuing Manufacturing and Industrial dual degree from IIT Kharagpur, provides an insightful account of his internship experience at IIM Ahmedabad.
I was in my second year, and like many other sophomores, I was not as interested in my core subjects as I was in Computer Sciences, Autonomous Vehicles, etc. So, I thought practically and sought options that would be a blend of these two fields and could potentially be a subject of my interest. Luckily for me, we had Operations Research as a part of the industrial engineering course in my third semester, which also had a promising prospect for work in Computer Science. So, during the semester I interacted with my professor and developed a code for some of the algorithms that were taught in class. To my delight, he was really happy with the results and advised me to include it on my CV, as it would help me while applying for internships/jobs later.
As it had a direct intersection with my interests, I decided to intern in the same field. I knew that Operations Research was a subject taught in management schools. Hence, I sought the best and started applying. I wasn’t aware of any scholarship programs for second-year students, so I took to the usual process of emailing individuals. It took me a while to categorize the internships that would actually offer research in my field. Next, I searched online for the professors who were working on this domain and had good research experience. I checked whether they were looking for students with skills like mine and sent my CV with a short cover letter. I think having something which stands out on your CV (the code from the previous semester, in my case) really helps. Perhaps, this was also why I got prompt replies to the first ten emails that I had sent. I had seen many of my friends sending hundreds of mails and still not getting a reply; this proved to be a confidence booster for me.
Quite like any new city, Ahmedabad was full of surprises – both pleasant and unpleasant. The experience at the IIM campus was unforgettable. From the cleanliness and mesmerizing architecture to the well-stocked library, it was clearly evident why it’s one of the best management institutes in India. I was delighted to meet my professor-in-charge. He was extremely organized and efficient with his tasks. My only possible complaint was the inability to visit a few tourist places owing to the bad weather!
Coming to the internship, my professor explained to me a variety of projects that he was working on. Considering my limited knowledge and skills, he proposed a few projects that I could significantly contribute to. My first task was to code a generic algorithm for the efficient working of the new library. I was so excited that I completed the code in a day’s time after working for almost 14 hours! This really impressed my professor. This is the advantage of doing something you like – you can invest a lot of time in it, without ever getting tired or bored, along with getting immense satisfaction!
Next, he asked me to complete his ongoing research work. For the same, he got me in touch with his collaborator at IIT-Bombay. Apart from getting hands-on experience and building contacts, I might also get to be a collaborator for a research paper! This is one of the biggest achievements for any undergraduate student who’s interested in pursuing research or higher studies. From not knowing what to do to getting tremendous research experience, I’ve come a long way! And yes, a decent stipend was an added bonus!
My advice to all the future interns would be to try doing something that you like; you may be surprised by the opportunities that open up for you. Also, if you are really keen on an internship, keep trying until you succeed (don’t give up after the first rejection). Patience plays a key role during such challenging times. Give your best at what you’re doing. This will really impress your mentor and may urge him to shower you with additional accolades and future opportunities.
Editor’s Note – If you also have an interesting internship story to share, you can send in your entries to Your Internship Story 2016 and win exciting prizes worth INR 1 Lac!
Are coding and you a match made in heaven? If yes, then check out these Computer Science internships.