IF: Hello Mudit, pleasure to meet you. Please tell us about yourself. What makes you different?
Mudit: Hi. I am Mudit Sinhal. A fourth year student of the department of Physics, IIT Kharagpur. I love science. I am also interested in arts and politics. As a subject, I like physics. I enjoy physical thoeries and different schools of thoughts.
Nothing makes me different. One must have sufficient knowledge and interest in the field that interests him/her. When hiring for interns, people usually search for well motivated students who are willing to work and not searching interns just for the sake of it. Previous work experience is also an important factor specially for foreign interns.
IF: Which internship you got the chance to take? What is it all about? Stipend, duration and place?
Mudit: I am interested in cold ion traps, quantum information, quantum computation, quantum algorithms and devices. I had got a related intern. It was at ETH Zürich, Switzerland. I was there at Zürich for nearly 2.5 months from May 1, 2014 to about July 15, 2014. I was paid 2k CHF monthly.
[su_box title=”Details”]To apply for such internship use the procedure of mailing to professors working in your field of interest and asking for internships [/su_box]
IF: How you came to know about the internship? To what all sources you kept yourself connected?
Mudit: I had done some previous work with some professors in India. One of them had suggested me to try in that group. There were many other souces I kept myself connected to. There are numerous internship and training programs where one might apply. S.N.Bose, Mitacs, IBM research Internships, Khorana Scholarship Program are some of them.
IF:Tell us on the procedure to apply for the internship. Who all are eligible to apply for this internship?
Mudit: Like I said earlier, I was suggested by one of the professors whom I had worked under.
IF: Let’s talk about how competitive is the selection process.
What qualities of yours, you believe helped you in having an edge over the selection process? What key things you feel were looked for by the selectors?
Mudit: I had some previous work experience in related fields. I had gone through some extra literature. Selectors usually look for well motivated students who are willing to work.
IF: About when you got the news for the selection? How was the celebration?
Mudit: I was in college with my mid semester going on. I almost left the paper blank the next day. I informed my parents and they were very happy.
IF: What all preparations you did after the results in view of the internship?
Mudit: Besides purchasing, there was not much that I did before the internship. The professor I was under preferred students to work while under him directly and not from some other location. He had suggested me a book. I glanced through some introductory chapters while in India.
IF:Please tell us with what work/research project you carried out during the internship period? It’s application in near future and your work in it?
Mudit: I was in the trapped ion quantum information group. Ions are usually trapped in a chain and then manipulated as to perform quantum information processing for which individual ion addressing is required. I modified the existing setup to individually address ions. A laser beam is usually much larger in diameter than ions. Thus to individually address ions one has to reduce the beam diameter to very small sizes (in my case 2-3 microns). I had successfully simulated a lens system which can do so. I then incorporated my system in the CAD of the existing system with minimal changes to the pre-existing system. After that I worked on some electronics. Due to shortage of time, I was unable to build my system physically.
IF: What was the best thing about the work culture and the internship? What all things you liked there?
Mudit: There was no in time and out time. We could come and go as we wished. All that mattered was the amount of work we did. Also every weekend I would visit places. Ocassionally there were parties which I enjoyed too. Moreover people were helpful. We could explore as much as we wanted without fearing whether we would be successful or not or whether we would damage equipments. I liked the hands-on experience which I gained.
IF: Were there any special events during the internships?
Mudit: There was a football tournament held during the time I was at ETH. All research group competed for the ‘Boltzmann Cup’.
IF: What was the guidance provided by your guide/mentor? What all support you received from administration at the intern place?
Mudit: My guide helped me whenever I needed any help. I could always consult any of his PhD, Masters student or him directly. It would have been very difficult for me to complete the internship without the inital technical introduction that I was provided by students under him. Moreover the administration was very helpful. I had access to all the labs and work places at any point of day. The administration helped me out with all the small legal documents that I had to fill after I got there.
IF: Let’s now talk about some negatives.
What problems you or your friends faced, regards to the internship, which your juniors may be able to avoid?
Mudit: There was not any major problem which I or any other student faced. Zürich and most of the Europe is safe. Zürich had Indian shops which sold almost all Indian foods. Moreover the mess (we usually had our lunch together in the mess) had a seperate Vegi counter for purely vegetarian people. Since Zürich is very expensive, I had to cut down some expenses for my first month (as I was paid after one month of work).
IF: Anything you would like to tell us please. Feel free to share any interesting thing that
Mudit: Such internships are great opprtunities for personal development. One makes many international connections which are helpful. More importantly one learns small chores like cooking which are essential. I visited several places. Some historical, some present day. All taught me great things. Such opportunities must definitely be utilized.
IF: Was this your first internship / training?
Mudit: This was my first foreign internship. I have had 2 internships in India prior to this. One was at Institute of Minerals and Materials Technology and one was at Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics. Moreover I was involved in several small projects at IIT Kharagpur.
IF: To which all people you would, like to thank in context of this internship?
Mudit: I would like to thank my professor in India who helped me in securing the internship. Moreover I would like to thank my parents and relatives without whose support it would have been difficult to complete the internship. I would also like to thank my guide and all his PhD, Masters and Post-Doc students who helped me in successfully completing my internship.
IF: How much difference this internship period has made in your intellectual capabilities and mindset. In broad terms what are your gains from this?
Mudit: I have gained a lot from this internship. I learnt hands-on techniques. Our education system focuses a lot on theory and very less on practical work. This internship was thus a very unique experience for me. Moreover I went and saw many places. I covered almost entire Zürich, many cities of Germany, Paris and Amsterdam. Travelling this much, sometimes with friends some times alone gave me a lot of self-confidence. Moreover this internship taught me what research should actually be like.
IF: Advice for juniors? Which can help them in getting internships in their future college life and also advice for making the best out of it.
Mudit: As I said earlier, there are several internship programs – both for Indian and foreign universities which one can follow. It is important to have good knowledge and interest in a desirable field. Previous projects and work experience do count. For internship programs, most of the times CGPA carries a lot of importance too.
IF: What are your future plans after this internship and how much impact this internship will have on it?
Mudit: I am studying physics and would like to get a PhD and then a post doctorate in physics. This internship will surely have a big impact when I apply for such positions.
IF: Any views about this initiative of InternFeel, and how beneficial it would be? Any suggestions for improvement?
Mudit: I think this is a good initiative. Students can learn from one another, specially about internship/training procedures and the common problems faced.
IF: It was so nice to know all about this. We agree you would have been busy with your academics. Even then you took out time for this. We thank you and wish you best of luck for all your future endeavors.
Mudit: Thank you InternFeel.