Internship Narrative |Sahil Garg | IIT Bombay| Research Internship

Hello everyone. I am Sahil Garg, a pre-final year student of Bachelor of Technology in Civil engineering from the National Institute of Technology Hamirpur, Himachal Pradesh. 

I accomplished a two months long (Mid May-Mid July 2016) summer research internship in the field of transportation engineering from Indian Institute of Technology Bombay. 

Stipend: 

None (IIT Bombay doesn’t offer any stipend to research interns). One can manage at IIT Bombay including everything within 15-20 thousand expenditure for two months, provided you have been provided accommodation. Living outside the campus can be a costly affair. Travel in Local trains/buses wherever you go and your wallet won’t be stressed much.

Process of Application: 

I contacted the professors there via email working in my field of interest. The email consisted of two well drafted components:

  1. a cover letter; and
  2. a curriculum vitae.

Remember, do not mention unnecessary information in your CV. Keep it simple, to the point and as short as possible. But do remember to explain your qualities in a crisp way. Paste your CV directly in the body of the mail. Do not attach it as a pdf or word doc.

Selection procedure 

The selection procedure wasn’t a procedure so as to say as there was no committee or set of persons for the same. It is more of – being at the right place at the appropriate moment. If the professor wants an intern and your mail is there in his inbox, provided you have a good CV, you have good odds of being selected. But it is also true that professors receive a lot of emails (everybody is applying). So a good CGPI does help although it is not that important. There were people who were seven point something from IIT’s and NIT’s. Do follow mailing tips which you can access on the internet.

I think I had a decent CGPI (9.36), good work background in technical fests in college etc. Everything adds up. Luck factor is also there. I had sent about 80 emails in various IIT’s. I received only 3 replies out of which two were affirmative. I guess IIT Bombay was the best place I had applied for. So it’s a matter of chance as well. 

I think my professor was looking for somebody who could work in the laboratory as my project involved rigorous lab testing and experimentation. When I received his response, he clearly mentioned that this would be my job. 

My project was based on the Rheological behaviour characterisation of Asphalt Mastics. Though my project was primarily related to intermediate temperature characterisation, but I also worked on low and high-temperature characterisation. And rest of the information, I would have to kill you if I had to tell you!!

But I would like to mention that there are different research cultures followed in different IIT’s which I was told by a professor in one of the very few of our conversations. So choose accordingly, especially for masters.

Personal Experience

Well frankly, my experience was moderate in terms of technical knowledge gained (to that I had expected) but yes my awareness about the research field enhanced significantly which was my main aim. Overall, it was an experience worth investing your time upon. There were a number of crazy moments during the internship stamped in my heart. I remember being asked to leave the local bus once in the middle of the road and much more. Two of my seniors were there with me during the internship who were also doing their project there. We took shelter in a PhD quarter where one my Institute’s ex-faculty was living (helped in saving rent).

We had explored Mumbai as much as we could and we just loved the city, except it’s never ending traffic. But it was a completely different experience. The way life moved in the city, the people, the culture, the language (especially) was amazing.

The culture of education at IIT Bombay, the research facilities, co-curricular activities were an eye-opener. We used to attend RSS (Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh) shakhas in the evening, and it is one memory that I won’t forget whole my life. 

My co-interns, who were from NIT’s, IIT’s etc. were a great bunch of people too. We became really good friends. Although we were assigned different projects, we used to help each other with their projects. And it was a completely royal group, so the extent of fun and frolic can be imagined. Those men are certainly friends made for life.  My PhD guides were amazing people. They were really the ones who were the lifelines in moments of trouble.

As I said earlier, technically the internship wasn’t much demanding, but the awareness about research field, the life during Masters, PhD and post that, the opportunities available in India and abroad were certainly the key takeaways. I have become more confident about myself, I know where I stand and what I need to do in the coming future. I couldn’t have asked for more.

Frankly, I was really confused whether I wanted to go in research field or not. But after this internship, I have a more clear thought about my future in my mind. I believe meeting new people, learning from their experience and from your experiences evolves your personality for the better.

One important thing: Be in direct contact with the professor during the internship. Have conversations, discussions over random subjects and literally anything. You will certainly learn more. 

To all those who are reading this piece, even if you are not sure about the fact that you want to pursue in this field or even if you don’t want to, this is an experience that you must not miss (especially for NITians). It is something that you would not be able to experience later in life. And experiences do teach you important lessons. Something that I certainly learned through this internship – Listen to people to understand their thoughts, not to reply to what they are saying.

Good Luck. Best Wishes from my side. The world has a plethora of opportunities.

 

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