Gone are the days when internships meant fetching coffees or unpaid labour. Students no longer have to wait for their first job for their first pay check. Today, students are willing to step out of their comfort zone, explore options and take up responsibilities. And fuelling this phenomenon is the stipend, a fairly good amount of money, given for internships.
While learning still tops the chart when it comes to the reasons why students all over India are opting for internships, the thrill of earning one’s first income while still in college and tasting financial independence in today’s digital economy has its own role to play.
Take the case of Prachi Sharma. Interning as a quality analyst with AirBnB, Sharma drew a monthly stipend of Rs 28,000. A graduate from Dronacharya College of Engineering, she started looking for internships and got involved with an international start-up AirBnB in Gurgaon. With her stipend (which is what many grads get as salary from their first or second job), she saved, made investments and brought gifts for her family.Apart from the money, what drew her to the company was the fact that it was “a dynamic workplace with a lot of learning opportunities,” says Sharma. As a fresher with no prior experience, she was nervous about working in the corporate sector but support from her mentor and colleagues helped her gain immense confidence. She learnt to work with a goal-oriented approach.
Pooja Anandani, a student of VIT, Vellore, interned with Philips Innovation Campus while pursuing her master’s. “In my second year, I had the option to do either an in-house project or internship. I wanted to explore my field of research and knew that an internship would prove more helpful. At Philips, I got a stipend of Rs 20,000 which was more than sufficient for my daily expenses in Bengaluru,” she says.
Interfacing with corporate executives, handling studies – everything is done at the same time. Gaurav Sharma, a PDGM student of the Goa Institute of Management interned with Future Generali Life Insurance, Mumbai in summer 2016. As a fresher who had no prior experience, the first day itself was an eye-opener when he had to work with professionals from top BFSI companies, all looking dapper in their suits.
Soon he had understood the basics of the software used and was analysing data. On his key learnings, he says, “the application of classroom concepts and know-how of the insurance industry were main takeaways.” His advice to others looking for similar experience is to learn as much as they can during the internship and not see it as tick-mark on the resume. He used his monthly stipend of Rs 32,000 to ‘survive’ Mumbai, and to pay house rent and daily expenses.
Combine the benefit of a stipend with a chance to learn the latest technology – and the attraction of an internship becomes irresistible. As an intern at Brocade Communication Systems, Nishil Shah makes Rs 30,000 a month. In six months, he learnt about 4G technology.
“Mobile networking is a field which is still in its growth stage and through the internship, I was able to follow my passion and interact with the industry experts. Moreover, the stipend helped me manage my expenses and I ended up saving for the weekend plans,” he says.
The author is founder of Internshala.com - an internship and training portal.