For as long as she could remember, Sakshi Panda, 16, had wanted to pursue an MBA with a specialisation in human resources. Then, the Class 11 student at Smt Sulochanadevi Singhania School, Thane, interned at healthcare products company Johnson & Johnson for three days.
“I spent eight hours at the factory with the supervisors, examining massive machines that cost lakhs of rupees,” says Panda. “The guides also showed us how the company maintained a budget. Soon, I realised that I was interested in finance.”
Panda now plans to pursue a career in finance and accounting.
Panda was among 85 students from her school who interned at Johnson & Johnson, Jupiter Hospitals and environmental solutions company Envirocare Labs in November.
Such internships are now being encouraged by at least five private schools across the city — Smt Sulochanadevi, RIMS in Juhu, Rustomjee Cambridge in Dahisar, Tridha in Andheri and DY Patil International, Worli.
In three of these schools, the internships start as early as Class 9, with the objective of giving students real-world experience of the workplace and first-hand information that can help them pick their future careers.
The internships range in duration from three days to six months and are mainly in fields such as marketing and business management, medicine and environmental solutions.
Some educationists, however, believe that school students should focus on learning rather than careers and job opportunities. “At this stage, students should be studying what they love, not thinking about pay packets,” said educationist Arundhati Chavan.