Aiming for the Future
Summer internships if pursued earnestly, could be the door opening to a career and money
The common link between Steve Jobs, Pranay Chulet and Steven Spielberg is that they all interned when in college, much before setting up their own successful ventures. Jobs, with a voracious hunger for knowledge since early on in life, landed himself a summer internship in Hewlett-Packard (HP) at the age of 12 that helped him grow, and later launch his own venture, Apple Inc. This does not mean that to be a successful entrepreneur you need to intern when in college or school, but the trend is fast catching up in India. If one goes by dedicated websites like LetsIntern, HelloIntern, InternGuru and MakeIntern that promote interning, it is evident that the interning trend has many takers. The biggest draw for interning is the experience one gets and also the money that one can make in the process.
For organisations looking for interns, the draw is fresh and low cost talent, which they could use for projects and assignments that are on a testing phase or requires less qualification than readily available in the market. Mumbai based Krish Dadani is an interesting medical student, who trained himself to be a DJ while he was still in school. Today, besides studying medicine he finds time to DJ twice a month earning a good Rs 12,000. “The money is good and I enjoy what I do. It also allows me to get into less serious stud on weekends, while I study to become a doctor,” he says.
Delhi-based Prachi Jain has found her calling to be part of the dance troupe at the Kingdom of Dreams (KOD), which has one of the longest running dance stage shows. “I wanted to utilise my summer vacation by engaging in my hobby of dancing. I auditioned and got selected,” she beams with excitement. The second year B.Ed student had planned for a three month stint, which has now become a part time job, as she spends 15 days a month at the show.
The choice of joining a website as a comic illustrator was not planned by Aratrika Mandal, who is pursuing her Master’s in English Literature from Kirori Mal College, Delhi University. “I took up this internship because it was totally different and unusual,” she confesses. What started as an unpaid internship, now has her drawing money for her work, which she says works fine with her.
Bengaluru-based Law student Phalitha, is putting her public speaking skills to good use by taking freelance emcee assignments. “My weekend sojourn has become a passion for me. It also encourages me to volunteer with a few NGO causes that are close to me,” she says.
Time was when students interned in a field where they could see a future. It was a natural extension to intern at a design firm for someone pursuing architecture or a journalism student to intern at a publication. The start-up culture has opened avenues for people to try their hand at assignments close to them as well as find their mojo.
The exposure that an internship or summer job offers is also useful professionally. 23-year-old MPhil student in ancient history, Jinsy, is pursuing her first internship this summer. “I am gaining a lot from with research, especially the various methods of primary data collection,” she says. She feels the experience will help her in future career prospects.
For 20-year-old Gagan Goyal, being a student of fashion media has meant that any work assignment that he takes as part time or as an intern has to be linked to future career prospects. “Internships also add up to my CV which would help me later,” he says. Based in Patiala, Goyal has been experimenting with assignments he chooses: “All the internships I do have a new task to them and right now I am exploring different fields and different departments so I have better understanding for what I want to do.”
The other reason he takes up internships is because he feels the money that he makes from such assignments will cushion the expenses he incurs. Being raised by a single mother, he is conscious of the expenses and wants to be financially independent as soon as he can.
The natural progression for interns to be absolved by companies where they train or intern has been the precedence for long. In fact many engineering and management students take up summer internships with the sole purpose of getting placed at companies where they intern. For employers, the transformation of the intern to employee is not just cost effective, it also helps them get someone on board who is used to their setup.
Money on the side
Although most interns do not state money as the top priority, a lot many actually take up assignments to make some money during the summer break. “As students, we have limited resources. So, extra money is, of course, a good attraction.” points Jinsy. The money made by way of interning is used for guilt-free indulgences as well. “It is additional pocket money with which I buy books and paint,” says Mandal.
As most students are precariously prodigal this extra money helps them afford luxuries. “I am a spendthrift and a big shopaholic so a major portion of my earning goes into shopping and dining out,” sneers Jain.
However, some actually save up the money to pay for activities they would try out. “I would like to save the money for an upcoming summer school programme,” explains Jinsy, who has been selected for a summer program organised by Central European University, Budapest. Goyal plans to start his own fashion blog for which he is saving money; “Most of the money I make adds up to my blog fund. I’ll require money to buy art supplies and update my wardrobe from time to time,” says Goyal.
For many, money made on the side has become a way of handling their regular expenses, not out of necessity but as matter of choice. “The fact that I am able to finance my own expenses while still being a student has always brought me joy,” quips the self-sufficient Phalitha.
Importance of internship experience cannot be overstated. Traditionally, a graduation degree was a good enough cause for celebration, but with the times changing, to find meaningful employment in a seemingly impenetrable job market partaking in internship(s) has become integral. This can be inferred from the fact that it’s no longer a rare sight to see young students interning in and outside their fields.
Internships serve as the ‘side dish’ component of exposure in combination with the college education. While college degree may demonstrate your academic proficiency, an internship experience concretes the learned skills by placing you in real life work situation.
Prachi Jain, 22, Delhi
Dance artist at the Kingdom of Dreams. Earns Rs 1,000 per show
For Prachi, getting an opportunity to showcase her talent in front of a huge audience is the primary driver to be part of this dance ensemble. “I am 22 and still mooching off my parents, so money from this internship gives me a (little bit) sense of financial independence,” says Jain.
The exposure she gets at the Kingdom of Dreams, is a big high and the fact that she is able to work with some big names whom she has idolised for years is an added boon. “Innumerable hours of rehearsals, run-throughs and workshops from a dancing personality like Ashley Lobo, has given me both exposure and experience,” adds Jain.
Aratrika Mandal, 22, Delhi
Comic artist with Economy Decoded, a youth blog, earning Rs 5,000 a month
The draw to this internship was her natural flair to draw, scribble, doodle and generally let her imagination run wild with illustrations. “Re-making a Van Gogh into a colour oozing pin has a charm of its own kind,” says Mandal. The fact that the site was scouting for beginners was an encouraging factor.
Starting off as a part timer with no stipend for the first three months clicked for her and the site as they realised her potential and seriousness to do something. “The more I sit and think about what the next comic should be, the better I grow with my art, within my art,” feels Mandal. Her work is appreciated and she was entrusted to handle the site’s Instagram account. Her doodles are not only finding way into Economy Decoded’s site, it is also funding her appetite for books and paints.
Phalitha G A, 22, Bengaluru
Law student who doubles up as an emcee (master of ceremonies) and makes about Rs 15,000 a month
Phalitha’s is a case of chasing dreams and making them come true. Adept at compeering events at school, early on she broke away from any stage fright that most people tend to develop. “I recognised a golden opportunity to make the most of my leisure and started working as a freelance emcee.
What started as a weekend job has become a passion for me,” rattles Phalitha.
Not content with being an emcee, Phalitha also volunteers for various social causes— she is involved with an NGO which promotes holistic development of society, helps in raising funds to build toilets in schools, promotes sanitary awareness in female staff and students in government schools and tree plantation among others.
Gagan Goyal, 20, Delhi
Works as a ghost writer for a fashion blogger and makes Rs 8000 a month
A regular at internships and summer jobs, Goyal is constantly on a lookout for opportunities that will enhance his future while studying fashion media communication. He is also an active writer, but he does it anonymously and is paid well for his skills. “Ghost writing pays well, because I am not credited for my work. I love everything that I do,” says Goyal.
His fascination for fashion has drawn him to take up assignments which will help him be in the company of those in this field and assist in the future when he is ready for a full-time job. Staying alone in Delhi is expensive, something that this 20-yearold realises and makes sure that the internships and summer jobs pay up something for him to pursue his passion and be less dependent on his mother.
Jinsy J R, 23, Delhi
Working as a research assistant to a professor, earning Rs 28,000 this summer
Studying ancient history calls for a lot of passion that Jinsy demonstrates with alacrity. This is her first internship experience and she is pleased with the way it is going. “I was planning to stay back in Delhi for the summer and this internship was perfect to stay productive, engage in research and make some money,” she says.
Jinsy is working with an American professor who is researching on a topic pearling in the Indian Ocean; one of the least explored arenas of Maritime history. She is thrilled to be part of an ongoing research and to learn directly from the primary sources. The experience, she feels, will give her an idea on the kind of expectations that those soliciting internships have, which will also help her look for opportunities of similar type in the future.
Krish Dadani, 19, Mumbai
This doctor to be is a sought after DJ, who does a couple of shows each month earning Rs 12,000 a month
Dadani is a 19-year-old MBBS student at K J Somaiya Medical College in Mumbai and gets to DJ twice a month at parties that pay him Rs 6,000 for each show. What started off as a hobby when he was in school, developed into serious activity when he got hooked to electronic dance music (EDM) after his class 10 exams. “My father enrolled me into DJ Russel’s class and I trained under him for two months. Later, I participated in Malhar (St Xavier’s college fest) and won the second prize,” says Dadani.
The money that he earns helps him in spending on things he likes and also gives him a sense of financial independence, which he was seeking. Although medicine is what he will focus on, the DJing on the side is a way to stay in tune with his passion. For the time being, he has restricted his DJ activity to twice a month to be able to focus on studying to be a doctor.