Bridging the internship gap

Ankur. Photo: Special Arrangement

Ankur. Photo: Special Arrangement

There is a gap between those who want to intern and those who want to provide the internships. There is a mismatch between the skills needed and the skills there are to offer.

Students do not know where to go and neither do corporates. It was to answer this need that Internshala was born, providing the student community with “internships that matter”. It is a website that allows students to log in and find themselves an internship that suits them best

The idea

When an IITM graduate doing an MBA at London Business School found it hard to get an internship despite having been to big educational institutions, the idea for Internshala was born. Ask founder Sarvesh Agrawal how he and co-founder Ankur Khator zeroed in on this field for his venture and he will tell you how there is not enough organised help available for students in search of internships. With access to platforms like Intershala, not only can students make informed career choices, they also get exposed to the real world of professionalism and corporate life.

“We wanted a name conveying our core business — internships, while also saying it was a learning platform and also making it distinctive at the same time. We didn't want to use ‘.com' and ‘shala' means ‘school' in Hindi so tada, Internshala was born!” explains Sarvesh.

Their only source of inspiration is their thirst to make a dent in the universe. Helped by volunteers from leading institutes like the NITs and IITs, Internshala also gives its team the power to “be in control of their own destiny” and thus ensures that every member is committed to the growth of the team. In the words of Sarvesh, “we are constantly raising the bar and the level of expectation students have from us and so, that keeps us on our toes”.

With over 250 organisations offering internships of some kind or the other and over 1000 students who have benefitted from the organisation, the team does not believe in limiting itself to any particular target audience but instead, in Sarvesh's words, is out to help “students all over the country looking for meaningful internships”.

Sarvesh and his team also take approachability to a new level, with absolutely no prerequisites for any student approaching them. The only necessities that may arise are those that are laid down by the companies. Intershala, as Sarvesh stresses, is and will always be free for students. Ask him what internships would have caught his fancy as a student and pat comes the reply: “Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard but the Planning Commission internship and Teach for India also seem tempting.” The one change the team hopes to make soon is an increase in internships for engineering students.

Something special

When faced with an organisation like Internshala, the obvious question would be “What do they offer that professors and mentors cannot?” Pose this to Sarvesh and the clarity of thought that went in behind this venture shows. He believes that the possibility of peer-to-peer assistance is something that gives Internshala a heads-up as the entire student community is coming together to work as one.

As an entrepreneur himself, what are his words of advice for all those out there looking to follow in his footsteps? Was it hard to start out? What were the challenges he faced? Ask

Sarvesh and he says, “As an entrepreneur you cannot take ‘No' for an answer. My biggest challenge was figuring out where to start. I had no expertise in the field and so I had to learn on the job. I think the only way for more innovation in this country is if everyone turned into a problem solver. We are all privileged to have access to resource and energy and it is up to us to ensure better life for everyone.”

For more information, check out www.internshala.com and/or participate in Internfair (win prizes and possible internships)

Yashasvini is a student of IIT-M.

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Printable version | Jun 24, 2022 2:10:01 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/nxg/bridging-the-internship-gap/article2850405.ece