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It is a season of internships too

Meera Srinivasan

They are viewed by students and organisations as a stepping stone for future opportunities

— FILE PHOTO.

Moving forward: With the internship scene turning more competitive, college students are equipping themselves to make most of the opportunity.

CHENNAI: For many college students, the hunt has begun. With several institutions making summer internships mandatory, students are on the look out for organisations they could possibly work with for the next few weeks.

A summer internship that was earlier perceived as a mere academic requirement, is increasingly being seen as a more professional endeavour.

This is evident from the changing nature of internships and the process of seeking them. Many organisations make it a period of some rigorous work for the students, seeing if there are prospective employees among the interns, even as the trainees see prospective employers in the organisations.

Recognising the increasing importance being given to internships and the challenges in finding them, enterprising youngsters Sarvesh Agrawal and Ankur Khator came up with www.internshala.com, a blog that features internship opportunities across sectors.

“Now students are keen on finding meaningful internships. We thought aggregating the information we have will be of use to such students. The response from both students and companies has been very heartening,” says Mr. Agrawal, an alumnus of IIT-Madras.

The blog not only provides information on various internships available, but also gives tips on how a student needs to prepare, including aspects such as drafting one's curriculum vitae.

Surveys among students showed that they privileged the learning experience over the stipend or brand value, say the founders of the blog.

Some companies, in turn, make offers to the students based on the impression and performance during the internship.

Cognizant, for instance, provides internship opportunities to students pursuing management education from premier institutions. Satish Jeyaraman, Assistant Vice President, Human Resources of the company, says the internship spans a couple of months and students are mentored by senior leaders.

“Based on the performance in theinternship program, Cognizant also makes pre-placement job offers to them at an appropriate time,” he adds.

Karthikeyan Vijayakumar, CEO, www.twenty19.com, a portal that offers information on internships and opportunities for students says students who perform well during their internships have a good chance of converting it to a job offer at the end of it.

“With every year, it gets more competitive for students seeking internships,” says the Chennai-based entrepreneur who graduated from BITS, Pilani.

Companies connect with such portals, letting them know of opportunities they may have for interns. “Even some big companies hire interns for good stipends. Start-ups, particularly, are always on the look out for good candidates as interns,” Mr. Vijayakumar said.

That is how Pavan Madhini landed a job in a start up in Chennai. The student of the humanities department at IIT-Kanpur took up an internship in the company after the fourth year of his course. “I found the job unique and very exciting. The offer was good and I took it up excitedly,” he says.

Krithiga Kamaraj, now in her third year of engineering at the Madras Institute of Technology, is hoping that her internship will be as fruitful. “They [the company] have asked me to take a test in May. I'm taking up this internship as it will give me some exposure and prepare me better for the GRE that I will take later,” she says.

On campus

Another indication of the newly-acquired status of internships is companies going to campuses for recruiting interns. K. Nirmala Prasad, Principal, MOP Vaishnav College for Women says well-known companies, including a few MNCs, come to the institution for recruiting interns.

“Some of our students find internships in companies abroad, too. We have had several success stories of students shining in the organisations they interned with and being placed there in a good position after their courses,” she says.

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