Mitacs Globalink Program
Meet Samresh Satapathy – A final year undergraduate student, pursuing B.Tech in Electrical Engineering from NIT Rourkela. With a CGPA of 9.68, he carries interests in power systems, renewable energy & artificial intelligence. Apart from academics, he enjoys playing badminton, chess and participating in quizzes. He was selected for the prestigious Mitacs Globalink Program 2013. Through this program one gets chance to carry out his research for 12 weeks in Canada. The program is fully funded and covers all the expenses right from airfare, accommodation along with stipend.
So let’s know about his experiences…
InternFeel: How you came to know about the internship? Generally what was your way of being in touch with the media to get the information about the various internships?
Samresh: Actually, I heard about the internship from my senior and I give a huge credit to the Internships Abroad (Utkarsh) group on Facebook, which was initiated by my senior. Apart from that I regularly followed some websites like Internshaala and Internghar.
IF: Tell us something about the Internship you took. What is it all about? Stipend, duration and accommodation?
Samresh: I was selected for MITACS- Globalink internship at canada. It is an internship opportunity for students from India, China, Brazil, and Mexico (roughly 283 guys are selected from 4 countries). It is a research internshipwhere you work under professors on specific projects and students have to apply through an online application.This year they have added Vietnam and turkey. They give 1500$ as flight money, 150$ as visa and 200$ per week (mine was for 10 weeks). They book the accommodation for you for free. They appoint a globalink student advisor (GSA) who helps you to get familiar with the place where you are interning and also help you to reach the accommodation from airport when you arrive.
IF: How much competitive is the selection process? What things you feel are looked for in the applicant by the selectors?
Samresh: Yes, the selection process for the internship is pretty competitive because guys are selected from 4 countries and unlike DAAD internship, Mitacs program is pretty much good in the sense that the selection criteria doesn’t solely depend on GPA. Apart from it your CV and SOP matters a lot along with the recommendation letter that you get from your professor.
IF: What qualities of yours – educational / otherwise, you feel helped you in having an edge over the selection process?
Samresh: Actually I had a GPA of 9.71 and also an IEEE paper. Along with this I was working on a project under my department professor. I had also completed a training in a transmission company of Orissa (OPTCL) after my 2nd year. Further the professor from whom I took recommendation happened to be one of the best here in NITR. Apart from that my CV was good and I knew some basic softwares which are essential in any research like MATLAB and LABVIEW.
IF: As per site the requirement shows of GPA>8. Do students having pointer in range 8-9 get selected? Many students believe that this is only for IIT students. What is your experience regarding this?
Samresh: I am afraid but you are correct. Only guys from IIT, if they have something like 8.9 or 8.8 then they get through. For others I don’t think they get a chance unless they have a very strong CV (like interns at IIT or papers published in any conference or journal).
IF: Approximately when you got the news for the selection? How was the celebration?
Samresh: I applied in september and it was confirmed in Jan 2013. I was really ecstatic. I was very sad that despite having a good profile I was not able to get replies from professors from Germany (for daad internship) within the deadline and since I was the only one selected from my institute for mitacs the feeling was really very special. But I didn’t highlight my selection much kept it within my frnds only. After my visa and flight ticket was done then only I posted it on facebook.
IF: Any common mistakes which you feel students should avoid while searching and applying for internships?
Samresh: They should constantly be in touch with their seniors. Layout of the CV must be professional, if a cover letter is required it should be precise and specific and be genuine and not sending CC or BCC to many professors). While sending the cover letters to any professors they should send keeping in mind the time difference in our country and theirs.
IF: What all other internships you applied to and were selected for?
Samresh: In DAAD internship I missed the deadline prof replied on Nov 4, deadline was Nov 1) IAS – selected for Yadavpur university, IIT Delhi – selected to work under Professor Sukumar Mishra. I didn’t try for interns such as charpak, nctu Taiwan as I was already selected for mitacs.
IF: So Samresh, could you please highlight us with what work/research project you carried out during the internship period? It’s application in near future and your work in it?
Samresh: My project was on machine learning of wind turbine design. My task was to produce power curves for different wind speed for a wind turbine in a less time and data. As renewable energy is the need of time this may possibly help in standardising wind turbines from various manufacturers for customers.
IF: What was the best thing about the work culture and the internship? What all things you liked there? The difference you found in comparison with the work culture of our country?
Samresh: The best thing was that everybody worked hard on weekdays and enjoyed in the weekends. The technology used over there was really awesome (like GPUs and the CPUs). I liked the way people behaved there. it is a totally low racist country. People say words like sorry, please, thank you etc. more often. My prof was really friendly. He devoted his time at least twice or thrice a week. And as usual the country is neat and clean. Garbage etc. are properly managed.Shopkeepers couldn’t cheat because everything was bill based. Supermarkets like no-frills, factory direct, Walmart were nice too.All in all full perfection. There were lots of punjabis (Indians) in Toronto, Brampton which didn’t make me feel alienated. in fact every people has his own self-respect. You can’t say he is a driver or painter. They have their own self respect.
IF: What project specific problems you or your friends faced, during the internship, which became a bit hard to crack?
Samresh: I was working on my project alone. Actually in my project we had to solve the problem with 2 methods – Gaussian process and neural network. I have to admit that I was stuck for almost 3 weeks on the Gaussian process! searched a lot on internet, read books but totally it was a dead end. Even my professor believed that the project problem couldn’t be solved by the same but then ultimately after trying a lot, I figured the coding and the task was accomplished.
IF: As with almost everything, what were the cons of the internship? The elements which you felt, if wasn’t there could have made this internship super awesome?
Samresh:One con was that I dint get any opportunity to visit any industry because my university didn’t have any industrial collaboration. Further I wished if I could publish a paper through any conference; but my work was an attempt to challenge the present international standard. So if yeah I could have attended any conference (none was available during the summer in Canada relating to wind energy) then it could have been really awesome.
IF: Was this your first internship?
Samresh: Yeah. First one and first abroad too. Previously I did an industrial training (which wasn’t an intern at OPTCL) apart from that I did projects in winter under my prof which led to a successful IEEE paper publication.
IF: Were there any special events during the internships which you would like to share?
Samresh: Yeah there was a globalink workshop on project management skill and speaking up on our project in waterloo. 2. There was an IIT alumni meet organised by the iitians in Canada in Mississauga where there was networking between us and them, where they gave career advices to us. 3. We also visited the innovation Guelph team (my intern place was Guelph ) which is one of the 14 teams funded by the Ontario province for promoting research based activities and other business works.
IF: What was the guidance provided by your guide? What all support you received from your intern
Samresh: Access to library, free print outs of required research papers, and much more. I was given the college ID card by which I could access all the available opportunities (like reduced bus fares etc.). A dedicated personal computer for project work. They even organised a visit to Niagara Falls with other students of the university.
IF: Any special experience which you had during this period, which you would like to share with us.
Samresh:2 things – Visit to Niagara Falls and the IIT alumni meet because finally Indian food mila free mein (got for free) and got an opportunity to meet some great aluminis like ex ceo of Amway, Vodafone, IITians who are professor now in university of Toronto etc.
IF: To whom all people you would, like to thank in context of this internship?
Samresh: I would like to thank my parents for always supporting my decisions. my seniors Abhishek Debroy, Milan Naik and Sasmita Majhi who were the key for guiding me to this intern and last but not the least my best buddies Ankur Mittal and Shreya Sah.
IF: How much difference this period of 10 weeks made in your intellectual capabilities and mindset. In broad terms what are your gains from this?
Samresh: Intellectually it really helped me in my area of interest in artificial intelligence. Apart from that it helped me make some good contacts so that I can try for pursuing higher studies in Canada. Also it made me confident in my English speaking capabilities in front of an audience fluently without stage fear. I also learned some great cultures like Korean, Brazilian and Canadian from friends over there
IF: What are your future plans after this internship and how much impact this internship will have on it?
Samresh: To be honest presently I will go for a job and later after a year or two, I will go for higher study.
IF: Any final tips for students? Anything you wish to say.
Samresh: If u truly wanna pursue research ahead then guys should definitely try for intern abroad and not just for having fun by visiting other countries. 2nd years – maintain youur gpa, learn new softwares and do some projects under your professor in your university so that your profile is good enough while applying for most internships in 3rd year. 3rd year – be updated of the intern opportunities available, write your cv and cover letter properly and have a good recommendation from a good professor.
IF: Excellent tips Samresh! Any views about this initiative of InternFeel, and how beneficial it would be?
Samresh: I think this is great work. Asking out each minute details for the intern and experience will help a lot to the readers. And reading an interview clears your doubt. At present as I am aware Internshaala and Internghar only post the interviews but this initiative will help the juniors as they can rely truly on the InternFeel site.
IF: So Samresh, we are at the end of the interview. From the entire team of InternFeel, we thank you for taking out your time and sharing your experiences for everyone and we wish you best of luck for all your future endeavors.
Samresh:Thanks a lot!!