Internships are a well- established method to back academic knowledge with relevant practical work background. They not only help gain experience and provide a nice learning curve for students with little experience but also play a vital role when attempting to enter the job market as it helps students translate their knowledge and skills onto their CV. With internships carrying such major significance, it’s no wonder that B-School students aim to secure the very best summer internship opportunities. However, when most of the summer internship processes kick-start students are relatively new on the campus with little to no knowledge on how to get a beneficial internship and gain competitive advantage.
Career2NextOrbit team interviewed Prof Rajiv Misra to know some of the ways students can land a good summer internship and transition smoothly into the workforce.
About Prof. Rajiv Misra: Dr. Misra is an eminent academician. He teaches Production, Operations & Decision Sciences at XLRI, Jamshedpur. He has taught various courses and programs at XLRI, ISB, IIM Udaipur, IIM Ranchi, Great Lakes etc. He has also been an external assessor for the Tata Business Excellence award and has been part of the assessment team for five Tata companies. He holds a B.E in Mechanical Engineering from IIT Roorkee, and an M.S in Industrial Engineering from the State University of New York, Buffalo.
Career2NextOrbit: Why does the industry look forward to recruiting interns? With different schools of thought, do you think it is a win-win proposition, or is it a mandate both sides adhere to?
Prof. Rajiv: In my opinion, it is a win-win proposition. The industry gets a large amount of time to have a look at the students and their proficiency and therefore they can assess them in a much better way. Students on the other hand, also get a longer stint with the organization and therefore, can make a judicious decision. However, one thing that I would like to share at this point in time is that all this is valid for companies which have got the hiring plans and are looking forward to recruitment. For the other set of companies which are not looking to recruit, it is not that involving a process. Nonetheless, I will still say that it is a win-win proposition for both sides.
Career2NextOrbit: What are the key expectations of the recruiters from the interns? Does it vary industry wise or function wise?
Prof. Rajiv: I will not like to answer this question based on whether it varies industry-wise or function-wise, rather I would like to look at it by dividing the companies into 2 categories. One, those which have got hiring plans, and two, which are looking forward to just summer internship process in isolation. So, the interesting trend that is being seen is that more and more companies are going through the PPO route. If I have to pick out a sector here, I would say, more of FMCG companies are trying to channelize their recruitment process through PPO route. And in those set of organizations, the expectations from interns are very clearly defined deliverables around the project offered.
For the other set of companies which are not looking forward to hiring through PPO process, the expectation may be on the lesser side. But nonetheless, it is a great opportunity for both sides to showcase themselves, which may prove handy in case any opportunity of future association arises.
Career2NextOrbit: With most of the summer internship processes starting immediately after 1st term, what plays a more important role: Learning in 1st term, Communication Skills or Prior background?
Prof. Rajiv: In my opinion, it is Prior Background-Communication skills - Application of concepts taught in 1st term, in that particular order, because industry people are also aware of the fact that having spent just one term, it would not be right to expect too much from B-School students. Some finance companies may ask a little bit about finance subjects, but most of the mature recruiters go ahead with Prior Background-Communication skills - Application of concepts taught in 1st term once again in that order.
Career2NextOrbit: How important it is for students to ensure a good summer internship? Also, if caught in a dilemma between a Good company, Average profile and Average company, good profile- what should they choose?
Prof. Rajiv: Again, with companies hiring through PPO route, it is very important for students to secure a good internship opportunity. At the same time, if they are at a company which does not go through the PPO route, I will say it is not the end of the world because there is a large set of companies that come for campus placements.
When you talk about the dilemma between a Good company, Average profile and Average company, Good profile, I think profile plays a more important role. So my take would be to go ahead with a good profile. When I talk about a good profile, I do not want to create a specific segmentation by saying that finance is better, or consulting is better. By good profile, I mean a profile that suits your interests and a profile in which you look forward to having your long term career.
Career2NextOrbit: While a lot is talked about general employability skills, do you think there are some specific skill sets which help students in cracking Summer Internships?
Prof. Rajiv: While, like I said before, prior background, communication skills, and concepts learned in the 1st term are definitely important, there are 2 things I would advise students to work upon. One being polishing your CV, and do it as many times as is the need, because please understand that your CV creates your first impression and your 15-20 seconds of impression is created or destroyed by the CV. So please spend some good time polishing your CV and make sure it is presentable and neat. Secondly, I would advise students to be updated with what is happening in and around the world at large. That is also going to help them land a good internship.
Career2NextOrbit: Any last tip you would like to share with the students on the cusp of their Summer Internships.
Prof. Rajiv: I think I have more or less covered my viewpoint. The last advice to students may be to be themselves and not pretend something they are not.