Despite the dominance of subjects like mathematics, physics, and computer science in the field of engineering, the biochemical and biotechnology sector has witnessed some drastic advances. However, there is no denying that a major part of the field is still unexplored and there is a lot of untapped potential, especially in a country like ours. It has been commonly observed that due to lack of exposure and awareness regarding available opportunities, most of the students take detours and end up in a completely different work environment which in the first place, they never opted for. Core Internships, thus play a crucial role as they enable students to stay well versed with the recent developments in the field. Since it is a field with large interdisciplinary relations, there is a wide range of subfields in which students can take up industrial projects or conduct research.
Thank you to Archit and Shashank for sharing their experiences!
Companies and their details
BIOCON – Biocon is one of the best biopharmaceutical companies in Asia. It focuses on research concerning manufacture of effective and affordable medicines which are generally directly provided to hospitals. It also researches on optimising the mass scale production of these medicines.
WRIG NANOSYSTEMS – Wrig Nanosystems is a startup founded by an IITD alumni Ambar Srivastava who graduated from Department of biochemical engineering and biotechnology (DBEB) in 2009. The company aims at the development of medical Point of Care (PoC) devices. For example, the company has recently launched a device called TrueHb that measures haemoglobin level in the blood.
What do they offer to a student?
All the interns are given an individual project under a supervisor. The intern is responsible for his or her own work. The work involves wet lab as well as dry lab work. Dry lab involves literature review and designing the experiments while wet lab involves performing those experiments and analysing the results.
In Biocon, for example, Archit is dealing with HPLC machines and other bioreactors in the lab. Moreover, the internship also includes tasks such as multivariate data analysis of Biocon’s reactor data collected over the past years.
In Wrig nanosystems, Shashank is involved with fluorescence imaging and fluorescence spectroscopy, as well as analysing research papers and patents in order to establish their principles.
Selection criteria and process
- Not many core companies come through T&P for DBEB. But one company that came was Wrig Nanosystems. The CGPA criteria for getting shortlisted is 8.0. The shortlisted students then go through three rounds of interviews. First two are taken by the technology development engineers and the last interview is taken by the company’s founder, Ambar Srivastava.
- On the other hand, Biocon does not come to IIT for recruiting interns. To get into Biocon, one can apply through the company’s official website by mailing them their CV and wait for a reply from the company. It always helps if you are able to find an internal contact in the company as this increases the chances of your CV being noted.
Coherence between the DBEB courses in IIT and the work of the internship
Courses that are taught in the institute do not really come to direct use. For instance, all the formulas taught her deal generally with the most ideal case. These do not come into use as the real cases are more complex than the ideal ones. But to understand these more complex cases we need to have a considerable base, which these courses give us. At the beginning of an internship, students know very little and are given research papers to study. In order to understand the technical language of these papers, one needs to have some background which these courses provide. In case of Biocon, the internship might also include Machine Learning and Data Analysis, two fields that students of DBEB need to explore by themselves.
What do the companies expect from you?
Like all companies, they want to see how well you apply your understanding to practical work and to what extent you have the capability of producing results that can benefit them. Their main objective is to invest in your abilities so that you can benefit them in their future work. Also, they expect something more out of an IITian as compared to a person from some other college. They expect us to do more rigorous jobs in a faster and more efficient manner. Apart from the knowledge of biotechnology, they also expect students to be critical thinkers and fast learners.
WRIG NANOSYSTEMS: The company’s focus is on quality and is on the lookout for students with genuine passion for technology development and a proven ability to produce results. So the job prospects are pretty good here if you can check the above boxes and make sure you give your 100% during the internship.
BIOCON: Though the company does not give a very good salary package, it gives a great working environment and the fellow employees are very helpful in nature. Biocon has allowed Archit to experience how things in the industry work and given him exposure to some of the best labs. Also, he feels that the internship offers students a great opportunity to hone their skills in academic learning and data analysis, something that can go a long way in preparing them for jobs.
Tips and Suggestions
- One of the most important suggestions is to start your search for internships as early as possible.
- If you want to do an internship in a core company then, as not many core biotech companies come to IIT for hiring interns, you should start searching for companies of your choice and mail them your resumes beforehand.
- If you are planning to work under a Professor in a Foreign University then start by reading the bio-sketch of that professor and send them mails accordingly. Don’t limit yourself to one or two professors and keep waiting for a reply. Their emails are generally flooded with such internship mails and so there are very high chances that they might not even read your mail. So, send as many mails as you can and if someone replies then start reading more about that professor and his field. This not only increases the chances of getting an intern but also saves a lot of time.
- Always keep a track of the internship programmes of Universities so that you can apply to these on time. There are good chances that you might end up with one.
- And, of course, having a good and thorough knowledge of your subject is important. Keep trying new and different projects as they will enhance your CV and highlight your willingness to explore new topics.