Internship Experience | Denzil Daniel | IIT Bombay Student Research Internship | Research internship

At a glance

College – M.Tech., Water Institute, Karunya University in the class of 2016

Place of work – IIT – Bombay

Process of application – The notification usually comes in September, interviews in November and results in December. Selection procedure goes through 2 stages- preliminary screening of applications and then test/interview of shortlisted candidates.

Eligibility – both masters and bachelors students

Duration of the internship – maximum 6 months

Stipend – INR 10,000 per month

Research topic – hydrological risk communication; we explored alternatives to return period and return level under a changing climate.

 In detail

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

Denzil Daniel (DD): Hi, I’m Denzil Daniel, an M.Tech. student during the period of my internship, January to June 2016. I graduated from Water Institute, Karunya University in the class of 2016. I’m basically a civil engineer and have completed my post-graduation degree in water resource management. I read Christian literature and could have fared equally well as a Church presbyter. My hobbies apart from reading include writing letters and collecting fountain pens. I feel I belong to a generation that straddles the older paper era generation and the newer computer era generation, and enjoy living in both these worlds.

I am going to join as a PhD student and teaching assistant in IIT Bombay this month. My research interest is in stochastic hydrology and in theory building in hydrology.

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

DD: I was selected into the IIT Bombay Student Research Internship awards 2015-16. The program was facilitated by IRCC (Industrial Research and Consultancy Centre) of IIT Bombay. Their program is open to both masters and bachelors students, and the research conducted can get submitted to the parent university as final dissertation for award of degree. Awardees receive a monthly stipend of INR 10,000 for a maximum of 6 months. No accommodation was officially provided, and awardees had to make personal arrangements outside there campus, or sharing arrangements with any friends using a single room on the campus.

Duration of the internship – maximum of 6 months

Stipend – INR 10,000 per month

IF: Tell us about the procedure to apply for the internship. Who all are eligible to apply for this internship?

DD: The notification usually comes in September, interviews in November and results in December. Interestingly, for Research Internship awards 2016-17, the applications are going to be called earlier itself (20 July – 31 August). The application is simple. Candidates have to select up to 3 projects among the projects offered. Along with the application, the candidate should also submit statement of purpose. The screening is largely based on academic performance. Candidates have to be among the top 10% of all previous years in his discipline. A certificate to this effect has to be issued from his parent university by the Principal or head of department.

Selection procedure goes through 2 stages- preliminary screening of applications and then test/interview of shortlisted candidates.

IF: Let’s talk about how competitive the selection process was. Which qualities helped you to have edge in the selection process? According to you, what were the key things that selectors were looking for?

DD: I am not sure how many candidates applied for each project vacancy. But at least 4 candidates were interviewed for each offer. More than the competitive selection, the issue is a parent university allowing the entire final year project to be done without joint supervision of professor from parent university. This actually cuts down on the competition, as many good colleges don’t allow an external professor to be the sole supervisor for dissertation work. The application screening looks at consistent academic record and a well written statement of purpose. The interview panel has professors who have floated projects. So they are only looking at the candidates’ interest in the project and his confident reply to professor’s questions. More than qualification, compatibility is what there professors look for. In 10 min they are trying to see if you can work with them smoothly. I was familiar with the particular professor’s previous research, and had looked up some background reading related to the project floated. That was my edge.

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

DD: The theme of my research was hydrological risk communication. We explored alternatives to return period and return level under a changing climate. The additional learning required was in extreme value theory and statistics. The analysis was done using R statistical software. The work sets the ground for seeking novel tools to communicate hydrological risk. This research has spurred further interest to explore and learn stochastic concepts in hydrology, which I will do during my PhD studies.

IF: What impact do you think this internship had on your intellectual capabilities and mindset? In broader terms, what are your gains and takeaways?

DD: The internship introduced me to a research area that I would have no chance of encountering otherwise. Also, an internship means stepping into new workspaces. Such an exposure helps me to adjust and work in not-so-ideal circumstances, to adapt and work pragmatically.

IF: What are your future plans after this internship and how much impact this internship will have on it?

DD: The biggest take away from the internship is that it opened an opportunity for me to work with my project supervisor over a longer period and extend my MTech thesis into doctoral research. I am joining IIT Bombay as a PhD student in the fall semester of 2016.

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