The USP of Internships

At the fag end of a job interview, the Human Resources Person asked the final year student, “What starting package are you looking for?”

The student said, “In the neighborhood of Rs.10 lakh a year, depending on the benefits package.”

The HR Person said, “Well, what would you say to a package of 5-weeks vacation, 14 paid holidays, full medical and dental insurance, provident retirement fund up to 50% of salary, and a company car leased every 2 years – say, a black Lamborghini Gallardo?”

The student jumped up and said, “Wow!!! Are you kidding?”

And the HR Person said, “Certainly, but you started it.” :)

At some point in our college life, we take a break from cursing our backies for playing loud music and pause the Counterstrike game in the computer which is roaring “Fire in the hole!” and actually sit down and think. What would I do next? Where do I want to find myself 15 years from now? What is the Dream Job that I am chasing?

A small percentage of people actually manage to find an answer to any of these questions, fewer actually do something about it! Are you among the ones who think they have found their life’s calling? But you are not sure what to do about it? This post is for you.

How would it be if like the cool Windows 7 Beta, we get a trial version of what our life could be?

One of the benefits that Internships offer us is just that. An opportunity to work in an area which you currently think is where you want to head. I stress on ‘currently’ because the human mind is like a monkey, it can never stay still. You might find something great today, but may dismiss is as a frivolous infatuation the very next day. Experiences such as internships help you to settle down and have a more level-headed approach to such issues

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Of course, you may not get the exact company you aspire for (A warning for those Google-philes), you may get a paltry stipend at the most, and you may not even get a real-life project out of the internship. But hey! This is a trial version, just a prelude of better things to come.

Truth be said, internships offer a great way to learn how companies and a sector in general works. Only thing is that the learning is not in-your-face as in the case of mugging formulae and reproducing it like in college.

Students should make sense of happenings around them. They should observe the division of labor at work; the niceties observed when dealing with clients, the commitment to meet deadlines and more importantly should reflect subconsciously that “Is this what I want to do for a good chunk of my life? Would I be happy working in this line? What can I change in the system to make it work the way I want it to?

Such reflections will go a long way in shaping your thinking and would influence your goal-setting. If you find that you are cut out for the kind of work which the company does, Good for you! Interact with the people in the company. Get to know what skills you need to upgrade to come out at the top. Students rarely get advice from people who are say 5-10 years older than them. The words of the employees would give you a more complete picture than those given by your seniors

Sometimes, it happens that you realize you might not be suited for the line of work. What is to be done if you find yourself in such a situation?

Remember, it’s OK if you don’t like the work at a company; there are hundreds of other options available. It’s a good thing that you’ve found it now when you have lesser responsibilities than later. That’s the USP of internships. Just do whatever is expected of you at the internship to your best. After the internship, analyze why you didn’t enjoy it . Was it because of a case of over-expectation of the work culture or did u were completely off the track in reading the line of work? Once you get answers to such questions, don’t wait. Start hunting for other avenues. And you would fare better this time for sure.

Happy Hunting!!!

Ajay Srinath

BITS Pilani

Interned at Excedos

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