Today we have an experience shared by Luv who is currently doing MS in United States and had done his B.Tech from NIT Hamirpur. He talks about how it is networking along with your qualifications that help you get internships in the United States.
InterFeel (IF): Please tell us something about yourself. Where are you studying currently? What are your hobbies and interests?
Luv Sehgal (LS): I am a graduate research assistant with University of Illinois Urbana Champaign. My field of specialization is high speed trains. I am into second year of my masters. It has been ranked the best civil engineering university in world in latest US news rankings 2016
IF: Tell us something about your internship including stipend, duration and place?
LS: My internship was with Midwest High Speed Rail Association, Chicago, USA
Duration of the internship – 3 months (May to August 2016)
Stipend – Varies from voluntary to $2000 per month, mine was paid
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?
LS: It is a very different scenario here in USA. Everything depends upon your networking skills, apart from your experience and qualifications. It really depends how you sell yourself to the recruiters. In my case I was delivering a presentation at a conference, there I met the president of the company and I was offered an internship there. I had met him once before. It really depends how you interact with people and how you make a mark, apart from technical abilities. They look for technically skilled, social/ outgoing person.
IF: Could you please highlight the work/research you carried out during your internship period?
LS: My internship involved upgradation of existing assets for high speed trains in Midwest area around Chicago, capacity improvement studies within Chicago, scheduling of trains, preparing rough estimates.
IF: Can you give us interesting details about your experience – good and bad?
LS: It was a chance to explore the public transportation system of the busiest city of the world, plus the office was in Chicago downtown area, which as always a magnificent and mesmerizing.
IF: How do you think this internship has helped you grow? In other words, what are your key takeaways from the internship?
LS: I was the only engineer there, it is basically an advocacy firm for high speed train, it was like leading the engineering team. It made me self-reliant. I am still in touch with them and doing their work voluntarily.
IF: Has this internship had a decision altering impact on your career? Do you now think of a different future path as compared to before doing the internship?
LS: Hopefully yes. In career fair (unlike campus recruitment in India), it gives me an edge and a chance to express myself more. Recruiters weigh experience gained in USA more as compared to Indian experience, that’s what I feel.
IF: Lastly, do you have any words of advice or caution for students aspiring for this internship and reading this piece?
LS: Finding job in civil engineering (even mechanical electrical, aerospace, etc.) stream may seem to be very difficult because of sponsorship issues and recruitment process. Nevertheless, it is much more rewarding, you actually learn a lot and you are a changed person. Almost most of my seniors have got jobs, which is a ray of hope for international students doing MS in core branches.
We’d like to wish Luv all the best for his future.