Kalyan Perisetty, a third year student from the Department of Metallurgy and Material Science, recently interned at the coveted Oil and Gas giant Schlumberger most famously known for it’s hefty pay package and demanding workload. Kalyan shares with us his experience at Schlumberger as well as his takeaways and future plans.
Tell us a bit about Schlumberger, how are you liking it?
Schlumberger is the world’s biggest oilfield service provider. In India, its biggest clients are ONGC and Reliance. Schlumberger essentially provides services related to everything from locating the oil reservoir to drilling of the well to production. The company is amazing. If you have 1,00,000 employees (over 100 nationalities), the exposure is bound to be good. It’s a very professional firm. The way they do business is the gold standard in the oil and gas sector. Personally, it’s a company that I would love working for.
How and why did you choose to intern there (any background, preparation), what were the options you thought of?
Doing an intern there was not a choice per say. Schlumberger was one of the companies that came on campus. In terms of why I applied, it was one of the only interns which was hands on, also oil and gas is still the highest paying sector and Schlumberger gives the highest domestic offer on campus. On the preparation side, I did nothing fancy. Just kept it simple, I knew nothing about the sector and very little about the company but I had a good idea about what a typical intern at Schlumberger does and my objective for applying was to learn more about the company and the sector. Most of the summer, I prepared for analytics companies, I did puzzles, probability and R Programming. I focused a lot on my resume, had several variants of it prepared before the semester began. There was no technical preparation for this company. I just talked to a few seniors. I understood what an intern does, went through a few Quora articles and decided that I want to sit for the company.
What was the selection procedure for the Schlumberger?
The first round of screening was the resume. A shortlist of 15 students was finalized. There was only one interview, it was purely HR, nothing fancy, nothing tricky. The shortlist was based on PORs, not so much on CG or sports, like the misconception on campus about the company is. I think what got me through was clarity of thought, I realized that I didn’t know much about the sector or the company. I made it a point to find out about what an intern at Schlumberger does. I told the HR what my expectation was and how I could contribute to the company and attain my expectation during the intern. Another important factor, especially in getting shortlisted was my PORs. (Hostel Secretary and Placement Coordinator are the company’s favourite)
A typical day in Schlumberger has all the swagger an engineering job should have.
Tell us how your normal day at the company is?
If there is one word to describe the internship, it has to be “versatile”. On a typical day you can get to do everything from consolidating data on excel, to having a meeting on operations, to travelling to a rig site and meeting up with the client, to do maintenance work and prepare tools to be sent to the rig site. The working hours are flexible, but an unwritten rule states the timings as 8:30 AM to 5:15 PM. Typically what I did was maintenance work for the first two weeks and my project for the last two weeks. I had a rig visit in the middle of the 2nd week. All in all the nature of the job is very physical and you have to be prepared to get your hands dirty. A typical day in Schlumberger has all the swagger an engineering job should have.
Did you do similar or different internships in your 1st and 2nd year?
I had done a field internship in the summer post my 2nd year but I was in core meta, so it was pretty different. I guess, given the physical nature of the internship at Schlumberger the recruiters do look for someone who has done something of that nature in the past. That is why students have the impression that a sportsman has a better shot at getting in, but that isn’t entirely right. One of my co-interns had nothing of that sort, he only made the shortlist on his PORs.
Did you face difficulties in getting the internships?
Getting an internship on campus is in itself a difficult task. There are obvious inherent challenges such as peer competition and lack of awareness. One major obstacle was my low CG. It kept biting me in the back, because it inhibited me getting shortlisted for different companies. One problem that I faced particularly with Citicorp was I didn’t know what the internship was about, because of this my interview was over in 10 minutes despite performing well in their test. I think most of the preparation I did in the summer was for American Express and I didn’t even make it to the interview. The lack of a preparation strategy hurt me with respect to Axis Bank and these were the major problems I faced in getting the internship.
Why did you chose to do an industrial intern rather than research?
An Industrial internship was in alignment with career goals, I have in mind. I’ve never wanted to do research anyway so it made sense for me to do an industrial intern rather than a research intern. There is an essential component in working for a firm that is totally missing in a research intern and that is the exposure to corporate work culture. Irrespective of whether I go into Oil & Gas or not, this exposure has given me an overview of what working in a firm will be like. I would advise anyone who wants to work after college, to do a company internship and anyone who wants to study further, to do a research internship.
How is the work/university culture there?
The functioning of the company is organized and the employees are very professional. They go by one guiding principle, you should work hard but party harder. That is a basic attribute I observed in every single employee of Schlumberger. Everyone is pretty friendly and welcoming, and they will help you out wherever they can and all they expect of you is the enthusiasm to mature in a given role, which is fascinating and quite frankly why I’d love to work for Schlumberger.
How is it different from studying at IITM?
The most important difference is that you actually have while working in Schlumberger as opposed to monotonous and appalling academic content here at IIT Madras. Every day, there is a different problem, which is sure to stir up your appetite for adventure. It’s something that can only be experienced. Whenever there is a screw up, you’re talking about millions of dollars of company money and the pressure is intense, if you don’t deliver, you’re out.
What are your plans for future? Do you think this internship has in some way shaped it?
As things stand now, I’m looking at sitting for placements, committing to a job for at least a couple years and then maybe look at exit options such as higher studies, particularly an MBA or other management programs. This internships just solidified, what I already believed in as a credible career plan. I had this plan in mind and this internship has just allowed me to reconfirm that this is indeed, what my career trajectory should be.
Any learnings/lessons that you will take back from there?
Important life lessons that I learned:-
- The ability to maximize output with minimal resources
- Improved Communication
- Improved Professionalism
- The ability to stick to deadlines despite the odds
- The skill of listening (Most Important)
Authors: Tanvi Srivastav (BT-CE ’20) & Sanjana Paraz (BT-CE ’19)