InternFeel: Please tell us something about yourself. Where and what are you studying currently?
Vishal Jha (VJ): I am Vishal Jha, a pre-final year student at National Institute of Technology, Jamshedpur pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering. I am one of the top five students in my branch and wish to pursue a career in core-mechanical engineering.
InternFeel: Give us details about your internship – process of application, stipend, duration, and place?
(VJ): I got an amazing opportunity to intern at one of the best academic campuses in India, IIT Guwahati. The internship period was two months (9 weeks) and there was no stipend. There is no centralized internship process and so the rules were different department-wise. While some departments only accepted third-year students, Mechanical Engineering Department accepted students from both second and third year. I applied for the internship by filling a Google form published on the website of Dept. of ME, IITG.
InternFeel: 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?
(VJ): IITG being one of the top IITs was definitely very competitive to get in, although I was lucky that IITG offered a larger intake of interns for summer, 2018. According to me, being from a reputed institute and having a high CGPA gave me an edge in the selection process. The selectors were looking for sincere students with interest in their field of expertise.
InternFeel: Could you please highlight the work/research you carried out during your internship period?
(VJ): I was working on the topic “Micro-Plasma Arc Welding of thin Cupro-Nickel sheets” under the supervision of Dr. Swarup Bag. The first week dealt with the literature review of the topic and grasping basic information about the process. For the next few weeks, we prepared the welding samples by polishing and performed a series of experiments on the welding apparatus in the workshop to obtain a range of optimal parameters over which sound weld can be obtained. Over the last few weeks, we performed tensile tests on the welded samples to characterize the welded joints and also performed metallographic study of the samples in the material science lab by micro and macrostructure study of the samples after polishing and etching.
InternFeel: Can you give us interesting details about your experience – good and bad? (It could be something like the amazing location of your internship, the friends you made for life, a bad senior, accommodation given in case of an outstation internship and something along those lines.)
(VJ): The best thing about my internship was its amazing location. Located in the beautiful city of Guwahati, IITG is one of the most beautiful campuses in the world. The splendid campus of IITG has its own mountains, lakes and thousands of trees. Adding to it was the beautiful weather which made it the best summer I’ve ever spent. The people at the campus were very friendly and welcoming and they made me feel like I belonged there. I made some amazing friends during the internship whom I’m still in touch with.
InternFeel: How do you think this internship has helped you grow? In other words, what are your key takeaways from the internship?
(VJ): The good thing about my internship at IITG is that I am through with all the concepts that I gained there and therefore I can answer questions related to the topic easily. Apart from the technical knowledge that I gained, staying at an IIT campus for two months itself was a great experience for me. The energy at IITG was amazing which sparked great motivation inside me. I had sufficient time for self-study and I earned two online certifications during my internship. I got to experience the awesomeness of North-East India, with breathtaking landscapes and the sweetest natives. The overall experience was one of a kind and took a lot with me from the internship than just a certificate and brownie points on my resume.
InternFeel: 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?
(VJ): The internship helped me understand the exact functional structure of research. It helped me understand the basics of any research work. The people who mentored me were extremely supportive and made me familiar with the national and international research scenario. I believe that this experience will help me while making major career decisions in future.
InternFeel: Lastly, do you have any words of advice or caution for students aspiring for this internship and reading this piece?
(VJ): The most important factor while applying for research internships is awareness and continuous efforts. The students need to keep applying wherever possible and keep their hopes high. While I was eagerly waiting for the results of internship process at IIT Delhi, I got an unexpected call from IITG. Most of the students do not explore all the options and end up losing opportunities. There my advice would be to keep searching and keep applying. Good Luck!
I’ll rate the internship 9/10 as the only drawback was the absence of a stipend, everything else was awesome.