Ashwin Krishnamoorthy writes on how stints at GE, ITC and Shell have prepared him for the workplace.

End-semester exams are over, finally a sigh of relief! Phew! But now is not the time to rest. With holidays, come internships in every college graduate’s life. While it may look like additional work to be done when you actually want to chill and unwind, these internships offer high value-addition both professionally and personally.

I have spent three of my summers doing internships, and I have a lot to take from every one of them.

Why internships

Before we delve further, it is important to answer one basic question — “Why internships?”

Internships offer a peep into the industry, corporate world. And this peep starkly differs from classroom experience. It’s a great way to try out a new field — as an engineer, an internship in financial services could be a new experience all together.

It helps you to know the company and the company to know you. This would open up employment opportunities in the companies later.

In the sophomore year, my internship was with GE — John F Welch Technology Center at Bangalore. It was a great fun-filled two-month journey and being my first internship, it offered a lot to learn. While one does learn a lot on the technical front, this was my first exposure to the corporate world.

The transition from a college environment to a company, even if it is for a brief period, could be a rocky one. It is my opinion that there is no escape from that rocky transition. Coming to the fun part, some internships pay you and offer valuable networking opportunities. The money and the contacts become secondary take-aways from the internship, while the primary gain is technical knowledge and an exposure in the industry.

Stint in a factory

The next summer, I had a two month stint at ITC-Printing and Packaging Division.

Much of the project was being near the production line and inspecting it. The concepts that we learn primarily in classes are fairly theoretical while the factory setting demands more operational knowledge. Even with a background in a subject like operations research, the scenario at a factory is an altogether new ball-game. When the rubber hits the ground, you would learn that much of the ideas that we have cannot be brought to reality due to various constraints. With internship, one does learn a knack for finding out the ideas that will work and add value and the ones that sound creative only in our brains.

In the ensuing summer, my two-month stint was at Shell Technology Center, Bangalore. This was the third, diverse area I had the opportunity to work. After having worked in GE and ITC, oil and gas was a challenging and exciting industry to work. I was offered an employment opportunity based on performance.

To sum up the value addition, in three months, I was exposed to three diverse industries: Aviation (GE), Fast-moving Consumer Goods (ITC) and Oil and Gas (Shell). These were highly valuable experiences and being a student, this complements your theoretical knowledge.

The writer is a final-year student of Mechanical Engineering at IIT Madras.