Many students are now trying to get some experience at the workplace during their college years in order to gain that extra edge

Students nowadays like to be ahead of the times. They want to experience college while in school, and the workplace while in college. For the latter, the sure-shot way of getting a taste of what is to come is through internships.

With life after college becoming more competitive and more choices being available to those entering the job market, many students are now trying to get some experience at the workplace during their college years, in order to get that extra edge. Students of Bangalore spoke about the many benefits of having one or more internships under their belt, and commented on whether colleges should make internships mandatory.

Nayantara Raja (fourth year student, University Law College): Internships are useful because you need some working experience. Once out of college, it's a completely different ballgame! If you're not sure what you want to do, you can use an internship to experience different aspects of what you are studying. It can help you decide what you like doing. Colleges should make internships compulsory so that all their students get the experience. In law, it's useful because you learn how to apply the law in a practical situation. You learn how to think differently and use the law in different ways. I wanted my internship to show that I had a range of experiences in litigation, intellectual property law and sports law.

Sujith Mohan (second year Marketing and Management Communication, Commits): It's a boon. Internships at the PG level are particularly important because they're more focused, not like at the undergraduate programme where they're just part of the curriculum. Until you actually get into a job, you really don't know what it's about. With an internship, you get to apply theory to practical situations and get a better feeling of what you're getting into. Also, once you graduate, it's difficult, as freshers, to get a job. If you intern at a company, it makes it easier to get a job there, which might not have been the case otherwise.

Internships also help you find a focus area and where you want to go, and if you don't like it, you know that it's not for you. Our college gets us great internships, but we have to work for it ourselves. We then produce a job report and analysis and are marked on it. There is a description of our kind of work and we have to show evidence of having done the work. I got an internship because of seniors who joined a company after a similar stint there. I believe internships should be made mandatory. When you're given a choice, you're not that serious. However, we can get internships alongside the marks and the degree if that interest is inculcated.

Kishore G. (B.A. Journalism, Jain University): I did my first internship in my second semester. I didn't realise what the actual workplace was like until then. Classes are all very theoretical. At my internship at a leading newspaper, it was like being thrown in at the deep end — no one helped me and I learnt to work on my own and called a few teachers and friends for information. Eventually I got six bylines. When I actually started working, I learnt things that I had never learnt before. Most people do internships because it looks good on their resume. But my internship also gave me a lot of confidence and also gave me a lot of contacts. I've been telling junior students to take up internships, which will soon become mandatory at our college. Furthermore, internships are really important to journalism students. What we study in class is completely different from what we experience in the industry.

Mitali (B.A. in Journalism, Jain College): I think internships are necessary, you get some work experience. Experience out there in the field is both theoretical and practical. It also gives us an upper hand in interviews and increases our knowledge. It also builds our confidence!

Ankita Agharwal (IIM-B): Because internships are mandatory, the college makes sure we get a place. For us, it means exposure to the corporate environment. Many people have no clue about what they want to do, and it's especially important for freshers to get an idea of what they want to do in the future. You can decide what stream you want to get into. Internships also prepare you mentally for the work environment. It's a launch pad for decision making, which is an extremely useful skill later on. Also, if companies like your work, then you get offers from them because people know for sure how competent you are.

Jithin Joseph (B.E, UVCE): Since our college is not among the most sought after, we find that job offers aren't really affected by the internships you do. In fact, because this is an engineering college, instead of internships, I found that many of my seniors were working on their own papers or projects. As a result, while I will definitely look into an internship in the future, right now I would prefer to do a paper and then figure out my area of interest before going ahead with work experience, which will undeniably be useful then.