The more, the merrier

The more, the merrier

No sooner do the holidays arrive that youngsters begin to scout for internships. Chilling out with friends or spending an entire month in front of the television is not as exciting as gathering some real world work experience. Today’s youngster is a go-getter who is serious about her future. She doesn’t expect her dream job to land in her lap. Instead, she plans, seeks and  finds an internship or two that can give her career a boost.

Working in an organisational setup is a new experience where various skills are learnt. It is during an internship that one realises if the path one has traversed is something one wishes to pursue. An internship gives a student the opportunity of meeting people in the industry and contacts that hold the key to a job in the future. What goes without saying is that an internship definitely looks good on one’s CV.

While many undergraduate courses require students to compulsorily intern at least once during their course, the latest fad that’s catching up big time is that of students voluntarily doing multiple internships during their already-hectic three-year degree programme.

“An undergraduate degree in law does not call for one to compulsorily take up an internship. However, interning during the summer break is like an unwritten law. While at the end of five years there are people who have interned in as many as 16 law firms, at the end of three years, I have interned at four law firms in Bangalore as well as in Mumbai. Where law is concerned, learning the sequence of legal procedures is important. Therefore, interning at several organisations gives a student the exposure he/she needs. Considering law has many branches, interning at various firms helps one decide on the line of specialisation. Also, for people like me, who make concrete decisions about the next plan of action only by means of elimination of other tried and tested options, interning at more than one firm is a wise choice to make,” explains Sherill Pal, student at Indian Law School, Pune.  

Why multiple internships are hot

* One good internship leads to another. Based on how reputed an organisation where you have interned at previously is, your prospects of getting an even better internship next are fairly high.
* Multiple internships give you a better idea of what you really must pursue. It gives you an insight into what your area of specialisation should be.
* The more number of internships, the more contacts you collect. This means there are more avenues for employment in the future.
* You get the feel of working in different organisations. You understand work culture better and you learn to adapt to new people and new surroundings.
* You get the privilege of being trained under many experts. This implies you learn more than you thought you would.
* You are able to test your aptitude in a particular area of functioning and you are able to identify your strengths and weaknesses.
* If you are fortunate to have a boss/guide who takes serious interest in giving you a considerable amount of work, you will end up learning quite a lot.
* Working around so many people and interacting with them will also improve your social skills.
* Well presented internship reports fetch you good grades at college.
If you thought that too many internships bring forth only positive results, here’s a look at the flip side.
* Multiple internships are pointless if you are going to be interning at firms that are not reputed. This doesn’t mean one has to work only for the big establishments. This just calls for being careful about where to intern at.
* There are chances of ending up as a Jill of all trades but expert at none. While it is good to initially experiment with different domains, once you have decided on your field of interest, focus on it and don’t pursue the same nature of work for the third consecutive summer.
* Multiple internships could cloud your reasoning. The best way to prevent this is by making a checklist for yourself during each internship to weigh your expectations against what you have been offered.

Who benefits

The Student: In terms of experience gained and the ability to make a final decision before stepping out into the world of full-time jobs.

The College: With students even going abroad to intern and with many even being offered plum packages at the end of the internship, the goodwill of the college is also augmented.

The Organisation:  Considering it is a rarity to find a paid internship at firm, organisations are more than happy to have extra labour for free. However, there are also times when employers don’t see much point in taking an interest in the interns, considering they are only there for a bit and it is of no use wasting precious time teaching them something new.

The Ultimate Employer: A person who has  the experience and who is serious about work is an asset to any employer.

Recession and internships

With the economic slowdown, several people have lost their jobs. Most firms, across different sectors, have frozen recruitments for the moment, although many of them are in dire need of a larger workforce. Undoubtedly, the only way students — especially fresh graduates — can make their foray into the professional world is by interning.

Until the recession recedes, most fresh graduates have to settle for an internship. Therefore, this is the perfect time to intern. You get your experience while the organisation isn’t complaining either.

Savithri BS, HR executive, says, “Multiple internships are a huge plus. When it comes to fields like Law, Mass Communication, Architecture and Hotel Management, the number of internships one has plays a pivotal role while applying for a job.” So if you are a fresh graduate or if nobody is looking at your resume on the placement websites, you could consider interning. After all, it doesn’t hurt to learn.

Been there, done that!

“I was only supposed to do one internship for a period of two months but I took up a dual internship for a period of six months, working for almost 15 hours a day, without a break. The idea of a dual internship occurred to me because I was a bit confused about which area to specialise in, whether it was the design house or the garment industry. So, when I got a chance to work in both places, I just grabbed the opportunity and made the most of it. I was benefited much more than I had expected to. My experience has resulted in the launch of my own brand of designer clothes.”

Divya Tater, Freelance Fashion Designer. Interned at Gokuldas Images and Design House Mo.

“An internship gives you a preview of what you can expect when you actually take up a job in that particular field. If you do it with the intention to learn, it can prove beneficial in getting hands-on training, instead of just giving you a sneak peek into the working world. Interns are usually not taken seriously if the company thinks that you are not really interested in learning. The main aim of an internship is to  understand the work ethics and strategies of the company one interns in. It makes sense to finish one internship and go to the next. With multiple internships, you cannot devote time and attention to learning. It’s like going to two schools or colleges at the same time!”
Jacob Anand, B.A. Communicative English Graduate, currently interning at Lintas, Bangalore. He has also interned at a newspaper and at Ogilvy & Mather.

“I first interned at TTK Prestige as I had to complete my final year project at college. After the completion of my course, I chose to intern with a company called Only Much Louder, which is an artiste management firm, concert production house, event management company and an Indie music label all rolled into one. I chose to do so because my interests lie in a career in music and I felt this was the best way to learn about the industry I want to be a part of. I’ve learnt a lot through my internship and I believe this experience will help me a great deal in making a career in the music industry.”

Sridhar Varadarjan, B.B.M. Graduate, Christ University

“An engineering degree in architecture requires students to do one compulsory internship for which I am in Dubai at the moment. I have also interned at firms in Bangalore. The reason for choosing to do an internship abroad was because I wanted to learn the nuances and the working method of firms in Dubai, where the scale of projects is very large. The way the projects move from initial development to final execution is very well coordinated and very efficient. This is very rare in India. All the architects in my office are from different countries like Britain, USA, Hungary, Malaysia, Chile and Italy, so this puts me on an international platform. There is a strict adherence to the building law, which is very different from the one in India. So it’s very challenging in that sense. I still have one more year of study after the internship. Therefore, it gives me enough time to decide my future course of action with the experience that I have in this firm. Multiple internships give you an edge over your peers.”

Vasudev Kantharaj, Engineering Student at RVCE. He is currently interning at TNQ Architects, Dubai.

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