About the Author: Shridhivya KS, a student of Thiagarajar College of Engineering, talks about her love for the mechanical industry and how her determination landed her an internship in the same, which eventually turned into a full-time job!
“Entrez!” said the interviewer. It took me a few seconds to realize that it was French as I had my mind prepared for “Excuse me?” and “Please, come in”. I entered and replied “Merci Beaucoup” in French. It was the time when I had no idea about my future plans. I was just sure that I would rather be jobless than work in an IT company as being a mechanical engineer I wanted to work only in a core company.
I had given an online exam for Saint-Gobain Private Ltd’s summer internship. All the students from civil and mechanical stream were asked to take the exam. The 2.5 hrs long exam comprised of analytical, logical, and technical MCQs. I wasn’t aiming for the internship but I made a decent attempt in the test. After almost a month, when I had almost forgotten about the exam’s result, I was overwhelmed to see my name along with 6 other shortlisted candidates. Now, this felt amazing – 7 out of 200 odd students! We were informed that students who were selected for the internship and performed well during the training would be given a pre-placement offer. I could sense an opportunity knocking at my door – a France-based core company was waiting right in front of me and so I geared up for the next rounds. The pre-placement presentation shown to us was really motivational. Dreamy scenes of working in the company filled my mind and I was desperate to get selected. I cleared the group discussion round in which we had to solve a puzzle in a group and our communication skills and leadership skills were tested. Next, I had to attend a personal interview round which had both technical and non-technical parts. To my surprise, the interviewer started the conversation in French as I had mentioned about completing the A1 exam in French, in my resume. I felt so grateful at that moment for having learnt French at school and also to the interviewers for highlighting it and making me confident. The interview lasted for 20 minutes, and I was tested on my subject knowledge, application orientation during field visits and projects, learning orientation, and ability to perform multi-tasking (through my extracurricular activities). Though there were slips here and there, I’d given a decent performance on the whole.
I was ecstatic when the results were announced and I was selected! It was a 7- week long program where 33 of pre-final year engineering students from all over India were given individual live projects. By ‘live’ I mean, the projects were to be implemented within the 7-week period. Each one of us was asked to lead a team of employees related to our project. We had a very supportive staff network to take care of us, which ensured that we had a wonderful learning experience. The first three days, we were trained on the best practices of world class manufacturing, environmental health and safety, QC methodology, etc. It bridged the gap between regular college courses and professional practicalities. My internship project was through WCM standard kaizen methodology. It was a live shop floor related project which dealt with water consumption reduction, thereby leading to economical savings for the company. The project area was Adiabatic Cooling Towers, under the department of technical services. We were a team of 6 members, and I was posted as the team leader. My role was to study the process layout, understand the working of the system, interact with the members and field operators, collect data, analyze them, and suggest ideas for water usage reduction. The suggested idea was implemented during the project period and was also ensured for sustainability. My guide made sure that I visited all the work spots in the manufacturing plant, developed intuitive learning, and got stronger with my concepts. He took immense care and spent a lot of time to take me to the field and explained the processes for which I’m extremely grateful. It was a lifetime experience to get the “touch and feel”(as our HR said) of the world’s best glass manufacturing industry. Besides technical learning, I learnt professional ethics and organizational behaviour.
The final step of the internship, yet the beginning of my work life, was to grab the pre-placement offer and get myself a place in this leading world-class organization. Project review, panel interview, and a final interview with the president of Flat Glass, South Asia & Egypt, were the final three steps I had to take. For the review, I presented my project with technical and operational details on the effectiveness of the newly implemented solution, in the presence of my project sponsor and guide, to a panel of technical heads and HR head. The technical interview focused on my core subjects of interest and learning from my internships to check my willingness to learn and its reflection. In the final interview, a complete personality assessment was done. It covered every aspect of entire technical learning in college, achievements in co-curricular and extracurriculars in school, projects and achievements from previous internships, communication skills, my decision of pursuing a career in mechanical engineering, and the willingness to travel.
It is a common notion that a woman would find it really difficult to work in the field of mechanical engineering and wouldn’t sustain for long. Being the only girl student of my batch in the mechanical engineering department and having worked in Saint-Gobain where women employees were countable, I’ve gained enough confidence to pursue a career in this industry and bust all the myths surrounding the capabilities of a woman.
Do you also wish to pursue a career in the core industry? Apply to these cool mechanical engineering internships and get started!
Editor’s note – If you also have an interesting story to share, you can now participate in Your Internship Story Contest 2017 and win cash prizes and goodies worth INR 1 Lac!