Today we have with us Hardik Malhotra talks about his multiple internships in France, Ireland, Mumbai, WorldQuant and Singapore in this narrative. We’d like to thank him for such an insightful interview.
Read on to hear more from Hardik himself.
Hello, My name is Hardik Malhotra and I am in final year of my undergraduate study in Electrical and Electronics Engineering at BITS Pilani, Pilani campus. I have been intrigued by computer science from early on and have been actively working in various sub fields of computers to gain valuable experience in Machine learning, Natural language processing and Data Analytics.
I am fortunate enough to have multiple internship experiences working on projects in different but related sub-domains. Although there are many official competitive programs like Mitacs, DAAD scholarships and also some relatively easier platforms like AIESEC and IASTE, I got all my internships through independently mailing the respected head of the research group/company and discussing my interest in the work they were doing related to my prior experiences in the similar fields.
Centrale Supelec Metz
I am interning here currently and receive a stipend of 730 euro per month considering both stipend and accommodation support. Its for a duration of whole semester in Metz, France.
It is my semester long undergraduate thesis. I am working on design and implementation of DBSCAN clustering algorithm on hybrid architecture (CPU + Xeon Phi accelerators). Xeon phis are multi-core (64-72 cores) machines with low cache size. My aim is to develop multi-threaded version of dbscan capable of running on shared memory parallel architecture with offload directives.
Insight Centre for Data Analytics, Ireland
I got a stipend of 1000 euros per month for duration of 10 weeks in Galway, Ireland.
It was a summer internship at the end of my 3rd year at Insight Centre for Data Analytics, NUIG, Ireland. I was working on machine translation of ontological resources. I utilized linked data and ontology alignment strategies to translate multilingual Ontologies. This was a challenging task as there isn’t much context available with the labels to be translated in an ontology. Also, as there are multiple translations possible, word sense disambiguation is required to be employed.
Hasthag Loyalty, Mumbai
I worked at their office in Mumbai for a month and spent further 2 months working from home. During whole duration I recieved Rs 5000 per month, air fare and a reimbursement of daily spending (food, travel etc).
Hashtag Loyalty is a digital loyalty platform which aims to assign customized loyalty benefits to customers based on their purchase history with merchants. I worked with them for a month during winter vacations and continued by work from home for 2 more months. Main focus of my work was to analyse the available data and prepare reports showing how loyalty program was benefiting merchants. I also help them lay foundation to predictive churn model so as to predict customer activity in coming months at a particular merchant. I finally created my RESTful API for my data analysis methods that could be called from their existing servers.
I worked as a Financial Consultant here. This was an international competitive position given on the basis of their global alpha challenge in which I achieved Gold. This was a work from home position with allowance based on the performance of the financial strategies. I worked on their platform for nearly 4 months.
As part of my work as a research consultant with WorldQuant I was making mathematical models/strategies to take market positions on US financial instruments. This work included developing market neutral statistical arbitrage models to capture alpha in the US equities. These models were developed to take equal long short position in the market. This was an interesting opportunity for me to understand financial markets and develop computer strategies to take positions on various instruments.
I worked for a duration of 10 weeks during my summer vacation and received 1000$ / month for the duration.
I was working at Keio-NUS CUTE Center during summers after my second year. Here I worked on android development and published an update to their travel trail platform, a Singapore government project. I worked on various functionalities and integrated my work with the REST API for various queries based on location and facebook profile data of the user. I also proposed and implemented a hybrid recommender system to suggest customized travel trails to the user based on his liking history, facebook profile features and features of similar users.
In my opinion foreign internships were the most competitive followed by global alpha challenge by WorldQuant and finally the internship at Hashtag Loyalty, a digital loyalty platform in Mumbai. Positions abroad are limited and highly sought after. Although looking for unpaid internship is rather easier and more likely to get you through but getting paid positions is rather competitive and hard to find. I think my constant desire to push limits of my knowledge and learn things out of curriculum were an important factor in play. In my opinion, selectors were not only concerned about my knowledge in the fields they were working on but even more on my enthusiasm to learn. I think this is not merely displayed in words but with your prior work experience and self-motivated projects.
On his varied experiences:
There have been many interesting experiences in my internships. I made amazing friends with people with similar zeal for work and travelling as myself who are currently doing great work in their own career paths. The work culture at all the places I have been follows a similar trend of working hard during the weekdays and enjoying equally well during the weekends. Along with all the major travel destinations in Singapore and Ireland, I had unique and worth mentioning experiences like mountain biking in Singaporean islands, witnessing LGBT parade in Dublin, hiking to the famous cliffs of Moher in Ireland, walking around in a secluded island in Ireland with a population of mere 120 people, and more recently to night walks in most beautiful Belgian cities. Currently I am looking forward to my trips to UK, Amsterdam and Prague in coming weekends (if my work remains on track of course 😀 )
On his key takeaways
I think that these internships have been turning points in my life. I got to interact with senior researchers, PhD candidates and professors with immense knowledge and experiences to share and guide me through each hurdle in the path. I believe I have developed a sense of responsibility towards the assigned work and patience to keep looking for answers to some hard tasks at hand. Most importantly I think I have gained an open perceptive to various non academic things in life and have new and well defined aims and aspirations for myself.
On impact on his career decision
Honestly, I was never sure of my career path earlier. I always tried to explore as much as I can with the given opportunity and that has helped me immensely to understand my strengths and weaknesses. Hence I can’t say decision altering impact but sure it laid an important foundation for me. I am sure that will help me progress in whatever path I reach ahead, in corporate world or academia alike.
Words of advice
Well, the most important advice will be to not wait for opportunities but create them for yourself. Start exploring and gaining in depth understanding of all the things that come through your way from as early as possible. Also, don’t lose hope if things don’t work out as expected at the first try. With some smart work a lot is for the taking.
To increase your chances and get personalised guidance, join DreamCatcher. Details in top of the interview.