I had a relative who told me about the MDSR lab of Adobe. I found out the contact details through LinkedIn and emailed their principal scientist directly, who took my interview. What helped me in the interview was that I had an “ML-sounding” project (it wasn’t really ML but the interviewer thought that it was) so that helped. For future applicants, any work in ML, neural networks, computer vision and natural language processing helps.
The timings were really flexible. They only said that all meetings at the office happen from 11 AM to 4 PM. So as long I was there during that time and finished my work, they said that the time I came and left didn’t really matter. But effectively I worked 9.30 AM to 6 PM.
My work was on neural networks. They had an outdated ad-recommendation system, so I had to try different models and see how it could be improved.
My first day was actually quite disappointing. I expected my project to start on the first day itself but it turned out to be really boring as it was simply an orientation towards the security features and ethics laws of the company. The second day, was pretty fun. They actually had me set up all my environments first and gave me some code and some research papers to study. The first week was mainly about understanding the existing methods of ad-recommendation.
The Work Culture:
The people were really good. Where I worked, they encouraged a lot of conversation and discussion and were always open to learning things from me, as well as teaching a lot to me as well. Within IIT, I find that the professors are not easy to communicate with, but here we could freely talk to anyone.
And, they also gave us two parties which were really amazing. We were almost like friends with our mentors.
During the internship, I realized that I am not able to sit for long durations at a stretch. There are a lot of sports-cum-break time facilities over there and a great thing I found at Adobe is that they don’t keep a check on when you are working and when you are not. So every two hours, I used to take a 15-minute break and play for a while with my co-interns.
Most of the interns were from IIT. There were a lot of people from IIT Kharagpur, two from IIT Bombay and some from IIT Kanpur.
While I was there, I got the opportunity to publish a paper. I got some promising results but they were not enough to publish. So I wish I had worked a little harder and maybe I could have got it published.
Corporate Research Intern Experience:
A corporate internship is also about getting to understand how teams work and their inter-relationship, apart from the research and I feel that it provides a good starting point. In my opinion, research internships at universities are more intensive than those at corporates and are thus better done after the third year, which is what I’m planning to do.
Article By: Aryan Agarwal