Interview with P M Siddharth, from the Department of Chemical engineering who secured an off campus internship as an Analyst at Vedantu in conversation with Swati B.
What were your impressions on the internship season as it approached in your pre-final year?
When I went through the internship bluebook, the first things that I noticed were the stipend and the available profiles. Most of the companies hire for coding, machine learning, data analyst and software development-related roles and if you are enthusiastic about those kinds of roles, there are a lot of opportunities available, which is kind of explainable for a tech institute. Thus, coding enthusiasts will naturally have an edge over the other profile enthusiasts as the number of openings in the on-campus internship drive for them is more. The other major roles are the FMCG and the core internships.
How did you prepare for the internship season and what are the skills that you picked up in the process?
Initially, I was interested in applying for the software and data analyst roles. There is this big stigma where people who sit for internships are always asked whether they are going for the analyst roles or the FMCG roles. But when we look at the profiles available, they are very vast. When we look at just the analyst roles, there are these data analyst roles, which require data science and around 85% of the analyst roles in the whole internship season comprise of these. The rest 10-15% is the ones that require business and management-based analyst roles which involve dealing with clients, and it was something that I was looking for. At the beginning of the internship season, people are unaware of the distinction between all these peculiarities. As for the skills part, I was using the various platforms that are very popularly used like Kaggle, Hackerrank, and CodeChef and some basic concepts in probability.
How did you start looking for internship opportunities off-campus?
The off-campus mode of looking for open positions was not alien to me. During my time in Corporate Relations in E-Cell as manager and the core, I was very comfortable with LinkedIn and how it works. So, I started to apply for the roles that I wanted actively by searching for the skills job openings on LinkedIn. You will get a hang of it once you start looking for them. The internships that I did during the second year which were in the marketing profiles, were through Internshala. I considered Internshala to be a backup in case I am not able to get anything from LinkedIn, but the thing with Internshala is that not many big companies come there.
Is there anything that one should look out for while searching for an internship by other means?
The companies that come to campus during the internship drive come exclusively for summer internships or winter internships. On the other hand, on LinkedIn, all kinds of internships ranging from 6 months to 1 year are also available. Thus, care must be taken on searching for the roles for the required period only. Sometimes, only during the interview stage, after passing the previous rounds, does the HR person tells you that they are looking for graduates and not pre-final year students and they deny offering the internship.
Were there any major distinctions between the off-campus internship search and the on-campus internship drive?
The role name and the exact job description may be volatile for the internships on the campus and we have to make sure what exactly the role offered by the company is. For example, if we take the role of an analyst, both the analysis using data science and machine learning and that of a business and management analyst comes under the same category termed as “Analyst”. In this aspect, off-campus gives a clear-cut description of the role and the work associated with it. Also, when you are focused on getting an internship on campus, you will be pressured to get something from the available list of roles and if something is unfamiliar to you, you will not have much of a choice. That is not the case with off-campus internships. There are a lot of choices and opportunities to explore and you have the liberty to choose what is best suited for you.
What are your views on an off-campus internship opportunity?
This is very subjective to every person. It’s not like, all the good companies come to the campus and all the companies that don’t come are not good enough. Even big names like Microsoft hire interns apart from hiring them on campus. You don’t have to restrict yourselves to companies that come to the campus. If you get an internship at a better company or a better stipend or even a role that you prefer apart from the ones you got on the campus, you can go for it. At the end of the day, whether you get an internship on-campus or off-campus does not matter. What matters is that you do an internship.
What are the major takeaways from the whole process of applying for an internship and doing one?
Even now with an internship not being a mandatory criterion to obtain a degree due to the pandemic situation for our batch, an internship is very much required for putting it on your resume when you are looking for placements. A company name on your resume, saying where you did your internship has a huge impact during the placements, as the selectors can get a glimpse of the work and effort you had put in for the internship. A good company name will be a great value add-on as the selection process of that company and the work you did in the internship is an additional asset to you.
How is your internship going on right now?
The internship I am doing right now in Vedantu started in mid-June. I had to manage both the exams and my internship. The actual work and experience there are very different from the PoRs. You are doing some real work and any screw-up or slack can get you fired. Vedantu is not that big of a company like Microsoft or Google, but when I talk with the class 11 and 12 students in my apartment building, they are like “Convey our thanks to them 😂😂” and all, which gives me a sense of gratification. Getting to see the end product of something that you have closely worked, have an effect on your immediate surrounding is a pretty good feeling.
Any word of advice to the people looking for an internship off-campus?
Don’t get intimidated by the idea of getting an off-campus internship. On-campus internships are good, but in the real scenario, it may not be possible for everyone to get an internship on campus. In terms of plain numbers, the number of positions available is not equal to the number of people applying for internships on-campus. For any internship of a specific role, if say there are some 20 open positions and there will be some 100 people competing for it. If you end up being in on in the 80, that didn’t land up getting the offer, you will get to feel that you are good as no one. That is not exactly true.
Another thing is, when people go off campus, they tend to switch the profiles in which they are looking for an internship. This is not a very good idea. When searching for an internship off-campus, be clear in what role you are willing to work in. The opportunities out there are abundant. Not only to mention the “IIT Tag”, which gives you a heads-up as compared to the other applicants. Be fixed on what kind of internship you want and constantly keep learning material regarding the same. You will be expected to have the domain knowledge of the company and the role that you are applying to.
Written by Swati B