Non-Core Internships (Department of Biochemical and Biotechnology)

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Department of Biotechnology is infamous for not having many options in non-core sectors for its third year students. While students in other departments may apply for a number of profiles in a number of companies, DBEB students are forced to choose from a limited number of T&P options and hence, tend to apply for research interns in foreign universities. Here we talk to Saurabh Srivastava, who did a self-arranged internship at EY, and Jatin Mittal, who was a technical intern at Wipro.

 

Saurabh Srivastava                                                               Jatin Mittal

Companies and their details:

EY – EY, formerly called Ernst & Young, is one of the best business and management consulting firms in India and is among the “Big 4” accounting firms globally. It offers services across several sectors including Technology, Oil & Gas, Infrastructure, Financial services and Government Advisory. In India, EY is among the leading providers of advisory, tax, transactions and assurance services.

Wipro – Wipro is one of the biggest Indian IT services corporations which provides all kinds of IT services to its clients across globe. It also provides services in other sectors like consumer care, lighting, infrastructure, healthcare and consulting. It has been awarded most ethical Indian organisation Award for past couple of years.

 

What they offer to a student:

EY – Your internship experience will be heavily dependent on two factors. First, the mentor that is allotted to you and second, your pro-activeness at work. Saurabh was lucky in the sense that his mentor allowed him to be part of an impactful live project undertaken by the firm. An intern’s pro-activeness will determine how much he/she gets involved into the project.

Saurabh’s project was focused on the insurance industry, a part of the Financial services segment. The very first thing that you are required to do is engage in extensive primary research and discussions until you grasp how the industry functions and the key challenges restricting its growth. This is followed by several discussions with the mentor and interaction with industry professionals (including company CEOs) to gain insights into these problems and discuss potential solutions.

Wipro – While Wipro provides opportunities to get exposure to various profiles like Software Developer, Data Scientist, Finance etc. which includes work like Cyber Security, Industrial Automation(CTO), Artificial Intelligence and many more, most of the profiles are related to typical coding.

Jatin was in the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Division and his work revolved around Data Analytics (primarily R&D). His task was to estimate composition of different substances mixed in main food articles, or in simple terms Food adulteration level estimation, using NIR spectroscopy and Machine learning. Thus, Wipro allows you to apply your technical skills to real-world consumer problems.

Selection criteria and process:

EY – The Big 4 (with the exception of PwC) primarily offers internships only to MBA graduates, so unless you have a good contact that can push your CV to the HR, it will be difficult for anyone to get into these firms. After your CV is noticed you’ll receive a call for a random chat and confirmation of the internship dates.

Wipro – Wipro maintains a minimum CGPA criteria of 7.0 for CS, EE and Chemical and 8.0 for rest. It holds 3 rounds of selection namely Written (Aptitude+Verbal+1 basic programming question), Technical interview and then HR interview.

The technical interview involves basic questions about your field of interest and one doesn’t need to be an expert in programming to ace it; basic knowledge is mostly sufficient. The 10-min long HR interview involves typical questions such as your future plans, why you wish to join Wipro, what do you aim from this internship etc.

What skills are required and how they help during the internship?

Consultation – The most important skill that is required in a consulting profile is your ability to grasp new knowledge quickly. When you are required to do in-depth work on an industry, this ability comes quite in handy. Since, this profile also requires a lot of interaction with people, your communication skills also need to be well polished.

IT – C/C++/Java and Basic knowledge of coding are a big asset. Data structures and machine learning courses are not must but will help you a lot during internship. They will assign you projects such as Autonomous cars, Consumer Enterprise System, Data Analytics and Modelling etc. where you will work on a problem statement which can be successfully worked on by adequate knowledge of these courses.

Coherence between the courses in IIT and the work of the internship:

As expected from non-core internships, there is not much coherence between the DBEB core courses and the internship work. Saurabh believes that since consulting is one of the few profiles that do not require any pre-requisite knowledge of specific subjects, your courses won’t have much impact during the internship. However, taking up courses in economics or finance might help you in understanding a large set of these varied problems, especially if your work involves financial consulting. Also reports and knowledge papers that are published by these firms are quite similar to how we publish them in IITs and so we should embrace such skills as well.

Jatin agrees that core courses don’t help much in IT industry but they do help in gaining maturity to grasp new things. So, IT internships can be made more fruitful if a student has done atleast a few CS courses such as Data Structures.

What the companies expect from you?

EY – Your mentors will be Directors, Managers and Consultants in their respective departments and loaded with 3-4 projects at a time. If you do not show pro-activeness, take initiatives to work and maintain a ready-to-help attitude towards others in the department you’ll miss out on several amazing experiences in your internship. Pro-activeness, adhering to deadlines and an extra-mile attitude is expected from you as an intern.

Wipro – Wipro just expects you to have a little coding related knowledge but desire to learn more is must. Competitive coding is enough. Many Intern projects include Machine learning but Wipro doesn’t expect you to know it beforehand. It gives you sufficient time during the internship itself to learn basics of the tools that are required for your particular project.

Future job prospects in both the companies:

EY – Future opportunities in any consulting profile are immense. The company has a very good presence on anyone’s resume, being one of the Big 4, and has a lot to offer in terms of experience. You’ll get to interact with many influential people, solve industry problems and visit places. Although the company prefers MBA graduates for consultant jobs but it does come to IITs for placements and has made rare exceptions for undergraduate interns in the past.

Wipro – Wipro welcomes learning enthusiasts with a desire to work. So job options are pretty high in this company. It provides almost average salary package. Indian IT companies are laying off high number of employees so job security will be there only if you show a reasonable level of skill and dedication.

Tips and Suggestions:

‘Internship lets you flirt with your career before you finally choose one (job)’

So if in doubt about the sector you want to do a job in, try to explore as many of them as possible. While on internship at companies like these, try to expand your network as much as you can. Be open to helping other people in their projects in your free time as this is the best way you can leave a good impression on them as an intern. Research a lot on your project topic and try to point out things that even your mentor might have missed out. This will showcase your meticulous nature and will encourage him to include you more into his work.

A few suggestions regarding internships in the IT or consultancy sector are:

  • There is no need as such for going through extra books or courses for landing IT internships in Wipro (although there is no harm in doing so). Developing the skill of efficient and neat coding is more important.
  • Basic machine learning course by Andrew NG, available on Coursera, is a good start.
  • Knowledge of current affairs and general understanding of things is a big asset for consultancy.
  • MSL and HUL courses related to economics will help you get a better grasp of financial projects.

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