Internship Experience | Anurag Roy | Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Mumbai | Research internship

We have with us today Anurag Roy who talks about his multiple internships through different interviews.

This is the first in a series of six internships Interviews of Anurag.

For reader’s reference the six internships are of the following places –

  1. BARC
  2. L&T
  3. IIT Bombay
  4. University of North Texas
  5. Florida Institure of Technology
  6. UPMC Paris

In this interview, Anurag talks candidly about himself and the key things the recruiters look for while selecting interns along with his experience specifically at BARC.

InternFeel (IF): Please tell us something about yourself. Where are you studying currently? What are your hobbies and interests?

Anurag Roy (AR): Hey guys!!! It is truly a pleasure interacting with you folks. I am currently employed with Eaton Corporation, where I commenced working from August this year. In fact, I graduated in June and was still basking in the glory and unbridled freedom of campus life when this dream run ended abruptly and I crash-landed into a new phase of life in the form of a challenging corporate adventure.

To quickly introduce myself, I am a proud Mumbai-kar (born and raised), presently residing in Pune solely for employment reasons. My father is a nuclear scientist at the Department of Atomic Energy, Government of India and my mom is leading the Ocean Engineering Division at a construction conglomerate. So basically, I come from a family of engineering and research enthusiasts. Big time foodie (my infant belly holds testimony to that, haha!), love travelling around to exotic destinations, meeting and mingling with new people (yes, you can call me a ‘social bee’ if you want), literary aficionado and I frequently subscribe to India centric foreign-policy magazines and articles; read them, “devour” them, love them.

I completed an Integrated 5 Year Dual Degree Program (Bachelors & Masters’ Dual Degree) from Indian Institute of Technology (BHU), Varanasi in Mechanical Engineering. Although I am officially a Mechanical Engineer on paper, cent percent of my projects have been principally at the interface of Material Science and Aerospace Engineering. During those halcyon college years, I was presented with opportunities to pursue 6 internships – 3 domestic and 3 abroad, which have significantly helped in shaping up my present profile.

On top of that, I have been recently informed that I will be awarded the Academic Excellence Award (for ranking first in our Class of 2016) at IIT-BHU during convocation next month.


IF: Tell us something about your internship including stipend, duration and place?

AR: My first and foremost internship was pursued at the Material Science Division of the prestigious Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), Mumbai for duration of 2 months spanning the summer of 2012. This was sort of the watershed moment for my interests. I had this newfound love for materials and the world surrounding their advancement which assiduously developed as I delved deeper into the study of stainless steel alloys with an objective of deciphering the correlation between a material’s micro-structure and its macro-level properties.

IF: How competitive was the selection process? According to you, which qualities have helped you have an edge in the selection process? Also, what were the key things that selectors were looking for?

AR: It is my understanding that internships (or rather, the shot to quench one’s thirst with a foreign trip) bring out either the competitive best or worst in people. Fortunately for me, it brought out the former. It is indeed perplexing to see yourself work relentlessly for one single goal, so dedicatedly, so objectively, and so wholeheartedly. Back in those days (3rd and 4th year), practically half of our batch was aiming for an overseas experience to bolster their resume. Many of my good friends and especially the academically brilliant ones were selected on campus itself for industrial internships in very reputed organizations and consequently, did not have to go through the agonizing process of applying-getting rejected-reapplying-waiting-confirmation. It is difficult to quantitatively assess the exact number of applications that my professors might have received (to ascertain the competitive element which you ask for) since these details are never openly discussed and quite impossible to gauge unless otherwise stated; except for structured programs like DAAD, Mitacs, SN Bose etc which place these figures in the public domain.

The constant guidance and tactical support of friends and seniors is highly appreciated in this regard. I am and will always be grateful to those who shared their experiences of intern-hunting, profoundly assisted in this bid by enlightening me on the intricacies of this segment and were so kind as to explain this mystical application process to me in extensive detail. This, they did at a time when I was completely clueless on the internship front and therefore, the gratefulness.

The selectors closely look for former research endeavours, the groups you have been associated with (i.e. the professors/scientists you have worked with till date and their contributions to science), quality of research (best judged by journal or conference publications) and a knack for higher education (in the form of grad school aspirations).

Conclusively, similar technical experiences garnered during previous research/co-op stints surely increase the probability of selection by manifolds.

IF: Could you please highlight the work/research you carried out during your internship period?

AR: The internship at BARC was on the topic ‘Effect of Laser Surface Treatment on AISI 316L’ wherein the fundamental task assigned to me was characterization of stainless steel samples post laser processing. Who knew that the skill set that I gained during that short time would one day come in handy for bagging foreign assignments.

IF: Can you give us interesting details about your experience – good and bad?

AR: Well, I have often advocated that good or bad are very relative terms. But hell yeah, lots of “interesting” details, lots of spice, lot of crazy-ass things were indulged in and I don’t regret them, not for a minute, haha. In each of the six internships, I thank the almighty from the core of my heart for bestowing me with amazing social groups.

In BARC, there were a lot of known faces from my institute and what turned the tide was the fact that my childhood friend was also interning there at the same time but at a different department. However, that didn’t stop us from catching up during lunch hours, roaming around the vast BARC campus in shuttles, exploring and familiarizing ourselves with the research complex.

IF: How do you think this internship has helped you grow? In other words, what are your key takeaways from the internship?

AR: Well, every internship experience is definitely worth the time and effort that we invest into it. The months spent at BARC taught me the role played by R&D in facilitating innovation in a technical organization.

The research internships, both domestic and abroad were instrumental in shaping up decisions concerning grad school, career paths and in answering various mind-boggling questions such as, whether or not to pursue a career in science for the forthcoming years and if so, which field to opt for later.

IF: Lastly, do you have any words of advice or caution for students aspiring for this internship and reading this piece?

AR: Those of you who haven’t already marshalled some sort of internship-hunting exercise, kindly start doing so on a priority basis. To kick-start the process, compose a well-articulated cover letter, tweak your resume, request profs/internship supervisors for strongly worded Letters of Recommendation (LOR). Certain internship programs also demand a Statement of Purpose/ Research Intent/ Motivation Letter, all of which primarily require you to justify what all you have done so far, what you wish to achieve through the internship and why you chose this particular institute instead of others, whereby you are expected to bring forth the strategic alignment expressing how this internship would pave the way for your forthcoming grad school years, your future endeavours in this direction etc. The next step is to find the right professor/faculty. Open up university websites, dig deeper, find out professors, match his expertise with your profile and projects undertaken thus far and only then, apply for an internship. Email them with your nicely drafted cover letter, attach your resume, LOR (if any) and mention your references, etc. Wait for a fortnight, if there is no response, put a gentle reminder. Don’t go about spamming a gazillion inboxes unnecessarily Follow the standard procedure instead of stooping to these frantic efforts, things should work out in your favour and before you know it, you will be beholding the much-awaited acceptance letter. Good luck to all aspirants and happy internship-hunting!

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