I was placed in an MNC but I wanted to follow my passion. An internship at a startup led me to my dream career.
I was towards the end of my engineering journey and the final exams had commenced. This was the time when I first came to know about online internship platforms. I was tired and fed up of writing assignments and wanted some hands-on action. So, during an off day between the exams, I started exploring one of them. Being a student of electronics and telecommunication engineering, for the first time I had such a huge number of choices to work for. This was encouraging and also cleared my misconception that a job in the core fields was possible only through campus placements. After shortlisting some of the interesting internships, I decided to apply for a few in Pune and Bangalore. Initially, I was in a state of bother regarding the question ‘why should you be hired’ in the application form but soon I understood what needed to be done and applied for some internships. Like most of the engineering students, I was also placed in one of the top IT MNCs. However, I was passionate about working in the domain of Embedded Systems.
It was eventually the end of engineering and most of my friends were busy packing bags to move out for MS. I was still confused as I didn’t want to join the IT job in that MNC. That’s when an email from Mr. Laxmikant, CTO, Arcatron Mobility, helped me find my direction. It was one of the companies where I had applied for the internship. My application had been shortlisted and a telephonic interview was scheduled. During the interview, I gave a brief overview of the various projects I did during engineering. I also told them about the projects that weren’t a part of my curriculum but which I did out of my own interest like LED flasher circuit for mounting on bikes and a working USBasp programmer. I talked about my performance in different contests like IIT Bombay’s E-Yantra Robotics contest and Texas Instruments Design contest by TI. Furthermore, I told them about the mini lab setup I had developed in my house and the various equipment I had. I was also asked how comfortable I was with Python language and Over the Air (OTA) technology. The interview went well and the details provided by me qualified me for the requirements enlisted by the company as the work domain was Analog and Digital design. The result was to be conveyed through email on the same evening. At last, I was hired! The acceptance came from a total of 280 applicants which made me feel really special.
I joined on 20th July 2016. The company was settling into a new office, and I was given the responsibility to look for the appropriate instruments and lab setup equipment. It took one month to set up the lab. I was given the ownership for the instruments’ technical data selection and procurement. Being a start-up, I had to don multiple hats which helped me discover my own potential. After learning some basics related to Analog electronics, I was explained a project that was to be started. The idea was illustrated and I was responsible for formulating the plan with the other intern. The work turned out to be fun as I was given complete freedom to experiment and choose the path for achieving a successful outcome.
To compliment the work done during the day, a snack session was arranged every evening in which, until now, I have tasted every pizza from the top pizza brands (one of the perks of working in a start-up). Everyone in the office was made to actively participate in the discussions for the project plots which gave us a sense of belonging.
This internship turned out to be a full-time employment opportunity as I was offered the PPO. I accepted the offer without any hesitation. To all the students out there looking for an internship, I do have a few tips from my personal experience:
While making an application:
• Read the JD carefully and prepare your answers such that it shows what you are bringing to the table. Point out the exact work done by you; don’t exaggerate. Employers will see through it during the interview process
• Always mention the projects you have done, curricular and as a hobby, and include the things that stood out during the projects.
• Experience showing the skills/attitude related to teamwork adds value to an individual. Working with different individuals and being culturally fit is a factor that most organizations take into account while hiring someone.
During the interview:
• Be confident. Speak in a language you are most comfortable in (especially in the technical field) as employers want technically sound individuals.
• Do your research about the company and its products diligently as it’ll help you in answering questions and will also show your sincerity towards the role.
• Learn to say ‘no’. If you don’t know an answer, accept it; don’t beat around the bush.
Author of the article: Nikhil Sonna