InStep is Infosys' global internship program. On the Voices @ InStep blog, interns, mentors and professors from the world’s best universities blog on careers and cultural assimilation in the Flat World, and the significance of an internship at a global company.

December 16, 2014

Putting Pen to Paper

Elin Karolina Westerberg from Stockholm School of Economics explains how the Notebook Drive, Infosys' biggest volunteer program left lasting impressions on her. She interned with the Marketing team in 2014-2015.

When trying to wrap my head around complex problems and new subjects, I often find myself scribbling down notes to collect and visualize my thoughts. Trust me, considering the fact that one month ago I would have probably told you that cloud computing was something to do with white and fluffy things in the sky, I've been doing this quite a lot lately. Being a part of the InStep Internship Program has not only provided me with more profound insights to the world of technology; it has also made me realize how companies like Infosys can help the society in which they operate.


The other weekend, I had the opportunity to join the Note Book Drive. It is one of the biggest volunteer program in Infosys conducted by the Samarpan team (CSR track of Bangalore DC). Through this initiative, they covered 25,000+ children in more than 300 Govt. schools across Karnataka, donating 1.5 lac notebooks with the involvement of 500+ volunteers. The Note Book Drive in its 14 year has undergone a progressive change not only in terms of numbers but also content. The Note Book Drive is no longer just about distribution of books but is a hope, an inspiration to tens of thousands of kids with whom volunteers interact passionately.


So, I found myself in the cargo space of one of those mini trucks, driving through the lush coconut plantations, rocky hills and bright houses of rural Nelamangala. As much as I enjoyed the absolute beauty of my surroundings, it was the actual purpose of the trip that truly made an impression on me. That is, distributing notebooks to hundreds of under-privileged students in the area. Language barriers aside, I was taken aback by the strong personalities of the children we met and their levels of curiosity. At every location, we ran a poll by asking what they want to be when they grow up. Most of these kids do not dream about following in their parent's footsteps; they dream about becoming teachers, doctors and even engineers.


I then found myself thinking about what impact the Note Book Drive had on the children we met. With my handwriting, I can fit around 15 words per line in a notebook, at times 30 lines and 200 pages, which should sum up to 90,000 words. That allows for quite a lot of scribbling. What I am getting at here is not to point out my calculation skills; it's the power of being able to put pen to paper. If the children, just like me, need to take down notes to tackle complex problems and new subjects, I hope the opportunity of putting down 90,000 words on paper will help them build a better future for themselves and realize their dreams about becoming teachers, doctors and even engineers.

Continue reading "Putting Pen to Paper" »

March 24, 2014

Mulbagal: A Photo Story

An impactful and heart-touching account of Franklin Abao's experience at Infosys'  Rural Reach Program where the team met with 8000+ students at Mulbagal in Kolar District. Franklin is a student from The University of Melbourne and worked with Infosys Labs in 2013-14.

I left Bangalore with little to no clue

Not knowing Kannada nor anybody but two

As we reached Mulbagal by about nine or ten

A flashback, a memory occurred to me then



The classrooms, the teachers, the children, the energy

All seemed familiar to a scene back in my country

It brought me back to a childhood that felt fresh

But in fact was a long time ago J



Where books may be scarce but not the hunger for knowledge

Where tummies may often be empty but not the smiles we give

Where rooms may be lacking but not our happiness within

Where teachers may be few but inspiration and love overflow



Though I came not knowing exactly what to do

Am I here to teach? to give chocolates? observe? take photos?

The recollection opened an instant connection

A way to touch a past to show the kids a future


I went to teach kids

I left Mulbagal touched

I went to give chocolates

I received smiles back, a lot


I went to impart them knowledge

I left impacted with their courage

I went to observe rural education

But instead I saw the future, the future of a nation.


The Importance of an Internship in an Emerging Economy

Cawley Andrew Bernard-Thompson, InStep Intern from ESADE Business School,  gives his perspective of the Importance of an Internship in an Emerging Economy. During his stay with Infosys, he worked on a project with the Corporate Planning team.

People often ask me why I travel so much, why I study in Europe, why I work in places like Japan, Korea and India.  "Isn't it just so...different?", they ask with more than a hint of suspicion.  Well, yes, and that's largely the point.  The world has a lot to offer, and if you insulate yourself from new experiences, you miss out on a lot of learning opportunities. 

Travel alone will do wonders for your personal development, but travel within an emerging market pushes you a bit further.  Nothing can be taken for granted, everything has to be carefully planned ahead, and sometimes even the best planning can't prepare you for what's in store.  New solutions have to be devised on the spot, often with limited resources and severe constraints.   Discipline, adaptability, resourcefulness... these are qualities that will serve you well in life and in work, and wouldn't you know it, they top the list of qualities recruiters often cite as most desirable among candidates.  These can't be learned from a book, they have to be developed through experience, and the InStep Program at Infosys is one such great opportunity for a student.

Working in an emerging economy has its challenges, but the rewards are even greater.  A hot topic in business, as everyone marvels at the growth potential but key to capturing some of that growth, is understanding local markets.  Multinationals can no longer get by just exporting products; they have to start developing products with other markets in mind. This is the core concept of "reverse innovation", wherein products are developed as low-cost solutions in emerging markets, tested locally, then upgraded and repackaged for sale in developed countries (think the low-cost equipment GE Healthcare developed for sale in India, and was then able to market in the U.S.)

Having the opportunity to work in a developing country gives you significant insights into how people live, what motivates them, what frustrates them.  These insights are vital to process and product redesign, and you learn how to identify opportunities, mitigate risks, and generally expand operations beyond your conventional perspective.  Understanding the how and why of a culture, the basic psychology and motivation behind common processes is an invaluable experience for the future where you have to work in cross-cultural teams, and make no mistake: globalization and the disappearance of former boundaries are driving work inevitably in a more cross-cultural direction.  This is a skill you can't afford to miss out on.

Vijay Govindarajan of Dartmouth's Tuck School of Business elaborates on the challenge in his article, A Reverse-Innovation Playbook (Harvard Business Review, April 2012).  "When a multinational corporation learns to generate successful innovations in emerging markets and then exports that knowledge and those innovations to the developed world, new business possibilities suddenly burst forth. The limits imposed by its traditional operations become surmountable, and the company can rethink all its products and attack new markets in search of growth.  But few companies experience this kind of renaissance, because reverse innovation--developing ideas in an emerging market and coaxing them to flow uphill to Western markets--poses immense challenges. It requires a company to overcome its dominant logic, the institutionalized thinking that guides its actions."

That institutionalized thinking isn't just limited within the company, it's cultural as well. We're prone to all manner of biases if we never learn to change our perspective, and this is why I advocate so strongly for people to take every opportunity to try something new.  We spend a good deal of time in the MBA analyzing cultural differences, studying Geert Hofstede's cultural dimensions for example, or Pankaj Ghemawat's CAGE framework.  These are fascinating ways to understand the distance between cultures, and what that means for your business, but why limit yourself to just reading out of a book?  Get out there and experience it for yourself.  Apply what you've learned and take some deeper meaning to heart. 

I'll leave you with one of my favorite quotes on travel, by Henry Miller, "One's destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things."  With the right mindset, every trip and every project becomes a learning opportunity, and so I appreciate the chance to spend my summer here at Infosys in Bangalore, learning alongside the best.

Cawley Thompson_India faces & places_Hampi Welcome.jpg

How to future-proof your career through experiential learning

Aria Georghiou, an InStepper from London School of Economics, worked with Infosys Labs in 2013. In her article, she reinstates the importance of going beyond the defined and exploring the unexplored.

If you're anything like me, you probably jumped headfirst into this experience - this opportunity of a lifetime. But our reasons for making this leap most likely vary greatly. Maybe it would add some bling to your CV...or allow you to work a room of specialists in your field...or meet really diverse individuals...or get that "Incredible India" experience. Whatever our reasons for choosing to participate in this internship program, I believe that we all benefit from learning-by-doing while we are here and gain most when we are able to really put ourselves out there.

As part of this demographic cohort, "Generation Y", we are supposed to be the 'Trophy Kids' and our participation alone is considered a substantial enough reward. We are already considered tech-savvy and environmentally and civically aware, but does that guarantee success in a situation of global economic turmoil? If we really are to make the most of our varied experience, then the flashy CV and the networking should organically come from the real learning that is going on here. 

Various forms of networking exist, but the most relevant to our immediate future is professional networking. This is when groups of like-minded people deliberately acknowledge or accidentally stumble upon each other as a result of similar aspirations or when one is in a position that may somehow enhance the other's future business prospects. But as individuals who have made it to Infosys, our personal and social networking has probably gotten us here and it is probably not because of what we could get out of the experience, but how we could contribute to the experience. Relationships are the catalyst for success and after all, we live in a world where your success doesn't depend on what you know, but who you know. Real networking happens when you help someone and they deem it beneficial to help you in return. 

Coming to India after completing the penultimate year of my degree at the London School of Economics (LSE) has required a little adjusting. LSE is one of the most international universities in the world, and surely the diversity of LSE's alumni creates a unique worldwide network. Similarly, Infosys has been proof that we live in a vastly diverse, but ultimately small world.  Everyone brings along with them critical information and can become our own valuable resources. Even though as "Generation Y" we share a strong sense of community at a local and global level, everyone offers something different. It all comes down to being able to step out of your comfort zone, really take advantage of what Infosys and InStep has to offer and what you have to offer all these important contacts around you.

Did you climb the ropes at the intern excursion? Did you dance at the Bollywood workshop? Did you volunteer to help out at an Infosys CSR initiative? Did you attend Kannada language courses? Did you volunteer to write an InfyBubble blog post?

Inevitably, you take a leap into the unknown. This leap will challenge your perceptions, and ultimately enrich your future. As the Infosys co-founder Narayana Murthy once said, "Progress is often equal to the difference between mind and mindset." To truly tap into your potential, you need to break free of the 'what's in it for me' shackles and embrace the journey ahead.




A different side of Infosys... the view from an InStepper

Written by Samuel Peat who interned with Infosys in the summer of 2013. Sam is a student of London School of Economics and during his internship with Infosys he worked with the Infosys Science Foundation.

Infosys is globally renowned for its sector leading corporate culture, across boundless areas - from environmental practices to the quality of its famous campus in Bangalore. Whilst those in the outside are aware of this reputation, it is hard to visualize its impact until you become an employee. However, once you become an employee, it is easy to forget the benefits of this fantastic corporate culture as the daily grind takes over. One of the manifestations of this culture is the substantial contribution the company makes to corporate social responsibility programs, from the notebook runs to the Infosys Science Foundation where I'm working during my InStep internship.

The Infosys Science Foundation strives to raise the profile of academic research within India and also encourage young Indians to see scientific research as a viable career option.  These are very relevant areas of importance for India. As Prof Varghese, Professor of Physics at the University of Calcutta, notes, careers in science are not seen as attractive as careers in business administration and politics. Moreover, India only has a mere 10 million PhD students compared with over 20 million in China. Facts which must only be a worry for a country which must further develop its high value knowledge-based industries.

The foundation addresses some of these issues by awarding the Infosys Prize, which is the largest in terms of purse in India, in six categories from physics to social science. By doing this, the Infosys Prize supports science within India but also creates role models in the scientific arena for young Indians to emulate. Since the awards inception the award has recognized Indian scientists of the highest caliber such as Dr. Chetan E. Chitnis, whose research contributed to the creation of the first viable vaccine for malaria. Not only does the award make a substantial financial difference to these scientists, it helps to raise their profile as a result of the prize ceremony which is held every year and receives attention from the media. The lecture series run by the foundation which features the laureates spreads awareness about their work and research in general.

During my time working for the foundation, I am seeking to measure how prestigious and well respected the Infosys Prize has become. I have had the opportunity to speak with leading academics within India and abroad, such as Prof Amartya Sen. While it is clear that academics within India are facing a tough uphill struggle compared with their colleagues in the west, there have been two overwhelming positives that have come out of my discussions. Firstly, amongst the highly respected scientists I have spoken to there is a strong feeling that the quality of many of the laureates of the prize has been world class, which demonstrates that research of a high level is being conducted within India. Secondly, the laureates I speak to are appreciative of the existence of such a good quality academic prize within India and feel that the prize is having a positive impact upon their work, highlighting the success of this relatively young foundation.

Infosys Science Foundation_2.jpg

March 20, 2014

My experience with InStep

Written by Garry M Chien, an InStep Intern from The University of Southern California. Garry interned with Infosys in 2013-14 and worked with the research arm of Infosys, Infosys Labs.

Three months ago, I was set on interning in Los Angeles for the summer. This would have involved a daily 30 minute drive one-way through rush hour traffic, a project that was only mildly interesting, and a strict nine-to-five job constrained to a single office building. In this traditional internship, the learning would have only come from the workplace, and personal growth seemed minimal to unlikely.

As such, it came as a shock when I found out I had been selected for an interview with Infosys - partially because it was the only internship program I had even applied to this year outside the United States. Even my parents had believed I was joking when I told them news of my offer. As a person who cannot even handle spicy food, the decision to go to India seemed daunting. Debating over whether to take up the internship was a simple question of whether I was willing to step out of my comfort zone and seize an opportunity.

Overall, my time with Infosys and the InStep program has been unparalleled.

It's an experience that I do not think I could ever find back home. The campus itself is incredible from the plentiful food options (home to the first food court in India) to the stunning architecture that expresses the forward-thinking mentality of the company. As a mix-mash of west-meets-east, Infosys has provided me a better understanding of different business cultures, an opportunity to take on projects that solve real-world problems, and a new appreciation for Indian food. Such lessons are important; for example, learning to adapt to the business culture is vital to success in today's globalized society, where people must understand how to work with those from different cultures and backgrounds. Through my project, I've learned to understand problems from different perspectives, while my coworkers are incredibly friendly and always willing to help. Through InStep, I've met interns from around the world providing me a more multifaceted perspective of just about everything. As interns, we are even given the chance to meet leaders from various industries and attend educational seminars. The learning doesn't stop during the weekends since I can travel to other cities within this country that is full of rich history.

I am incredibly thankful of the experience I have had so far with Infosys and the InStep program. I've gained a better vision of what I hope to do when I graduate, and an appreciation for the contrasts and similarities between working in India and my home country.


Continue reading "My experience with InStep" »

July 5, 2011



This past Saturday, a group of interns and I took an early morning bus to see the temples of Belur, Halebidu and Shavranabelagola.  Waking up at 5am on a Saturday was not my ideal way of spending a weekend but this was an exception.  We boarded the bus at Badami House in Bangalore at 6.30am and by 9.30 in the morning, we were at our first stop, Shavranabelagola and its 760 steps.  Much like at Hampi, the climb was rather tiring but once we got to the top, the panoramic view of the village below us with endless greenery and the cooling breeze was enough to make us say it was worth every barefooted step.


After an hour and a half of admiring the view and taking holiday pics as interns usually tend to do at these places, we climbed down the monolith which was surprisingly more difficult since the steps were not only slanted but trying to control the descent was also proving to be quite a task on our knees (well, at least mine were starting to hurt and I'm hoping it's not because of my age...).  We quenched our thirst with some fresh coconut juice at the foot of the temple and then we were off to our second destination point, Halebidu.

Halebidu was the regal capital of the Hoysala Empire and according to our guide, the name means "ruined city" and looking at the carvings, you'll see why this is so.  During the Moghul invasion, the armies of Malik Kafur destroyed most of the images since in Islam, portrayal of people and animals are considered Haram. But regardless, what's still left of the temple is amazing and it is adorned by over 20,000 carvings each depicting a story in itself.


Our final stop after a hearty lunch at some shady restaurant was Belur.  Here again, you can see the similar architecture and artwork that is seen at Halebidu and Shavranabelagola.  So if you're ever up for an early morning wake up call and have a good group of friends to go with or even alone, I would highly recommend taking a day trip into the villages of Karnataka and checking out these marvels of the past.  And the best thing is, you'll be home in time to get a round of pizza from the campus Domino's!


 And... me and the gang :)



July 29, 2010

Weekend trip to Mysore

Six in the morning, sleepily a mob of interns get into a bus to go to Mysore. All we could think of was more sleep. How foolish!  We were unaware of the notorious side of our lovely student mentors. What was supposed to be a quiet and calm 3 hour road trip, transformed into full of laughter, fun and pranks. We discovered talented singers, dancers and comedians among us - a Bulgarian who can sing in Hindi, an Indian with opera talent. We had multicultural performance from all parts of the world - the cute boyz band from French, the beautiful galz band from Sweden, football fever songs from Mexico and melodious songs from India. We were so captivated in the fun that we were reluctant to leave the bus at Mysore.


In Mysore our first destination was Chamundeshwari Temple and Nandi statue. As an Indian, I feel the holy temples bring calmness and peace to my inner being. In my deep prayers, the worldly matters and possessions seem silly. Our lunch was at Royal Orchid, a place befitting Kings and Queens. Wary and hungry we feasted without shame!


After lunch we went to Mysore palace -simply marvelous and ornate. We learned rich and colorful stories of the dynasty that ruled Mysore. Next we went to St. Philomena's Church, where God heard my prayers and blessed me immediately. By divine intervention, the group left without me. As I waited in fear and confusion, my dream damsel came in a 200 horse power carriage (Jeep) to pick me up. No words to describe how wonderful this was J


After that, the group went for shopping and high tea, before heading back to the Mysore Place once again. The sun has set and its growing dark slowly. As our bus took the turn towards palace parking lot, we were filled with awe and went speechless. The palace was fully lit with 96000 bulbs. It was an amazing and wonderful sight. We quickly found a spot to soak the warmth of this sight. Imagine adding melodious music to this wonderful eye fest. The flute played by an unknown Indian monk was just perfect.


Our next stop was Lalith Mahal. The best part of the trip was the folk dance performance by five talent local artists. The interns from different countries felt united through this awe inspiring performance. We toured the palace which is converted into hotel now.  We were dumbstruck to find it costs $750 per night for a suite. Add to this the bath tub in the suite is from 1930s. But it was historic and I felt like Prince of Mysore as I lay down in the royal bed. A sumptuous royal dinner was a fitting end to our long wary day!  


More than anything, the trip gave the interns a glimpse of India, a country that can only be experienced and impossible to describe. Through the bumpy bus ride, the long palace walks, heart filling fun moments and mouth watering food, we interns became closer to each other and shall remain as best friends for ever. Thanks, Infosys InStep team for the wonderful time we all had together J


July 28, 2010

Why internship @ Infosys

Why do internship in India? Why in Infosys? These are daunting questions I faced and still face! Before I answer these questions a little introduction might help you understand where I come from and where I am headed. I am doing my MBA at Ross, University of Michigan, US. Before that I worked in US for 8 years. Originally I hail from India, where I finished my under graduation in engineering before moving to US.


My choice of MBA School was solely based on business strategy guru C K Prahalad teaching at Ross. I took couple of classes with him and was transformed by his thoughts, values and beliefs. Inspired by his teachings and personal interactions, I decided not to follow the conventional path of doing internship in US. After reading and researching so much about the growth, innovation and excitement that is happening in emerging countries, I decided to do internship only in emerging countries for three reasons.

  • To become C-suite executive, experience in India or China is mandatory these days.
  • Lots of opportunities, as there is tremendous and fast growth.
  • Innovation, center of gravity is slowing moving away from US and other developed countries.

Globalization has opened many choices for students seeking international internships. Companies of all size are sourcing talent globally. For example, Infosys and TATA from India and Samsung from Korea recruit hundreds of students internationally every year.


Thus when an opportunity to intern at Infosys in Bangalore came, I jumped on it. I have been here for the past eight weeks. It has been better than my expectations in all aspects. Three things I have learned during my time here -

  • The infrastructure, systems and processes built by Infosys is simply world class.
  • Senior Management's innovative thought leadership, openness to ideas from all and availability to junior employees are the foundations that propel Infosys to greater heights.
  • Employees' ability to execute and realize the seemingly impossible goals demanded by shareholders and the market.

On the personal side, the internship has given me the chance to become friends with wonderful interns from 20 odd countries. The after-work hangouts, weekend trips and etc complete the perfect summer I needed after a busy year at school. Watch this blog space for more of my experiences and thoughts. Use the comment section to let me know your thoughts, concerns, suggestions or anything fun :-)

July 22, 2010

Interning with a purpose - commerce or research?

For an undergraduate student who has decided to go to graduate school to pursue an advanced degree, it can be a tough choice to make whether he wants to go for a Ph.D. as well after an M.S. degree. While some have a very clear line of thinking - doing a Ph.D., spending 5 years at graduate school is not something they wish to do; for the majority this decision is quite difficult to make. The dilemma is simple: while starting salaries for a fresh Ph.D. are higher than someone who just stepped out of graduate school with an M.S., the quest for attaining a doctoral degree is indeed long and arduous and this difference in starting salaries may not be big enough to make up for the income a doctoral student would lose staying in school for at least three more years. Several analyses have time and again shown that the M.S. degree holder is ahead in the race for making money in private company jobs.

As with most things in life, this one too does not seem to have a single correct answer. Looking from the student's perspective several things would count. Many students pursuing an M.S. degree would have accumulated substantial amount of debt to deal with (especially true for international students); with a general funding crunch at universities, majority of M.S. programs do not give financial assistance to students these days. For them getting a high-paying job sooner would definitely seem a more attractive option to pay off their loans or recover their family's savings. Staying in graduate school with a meager stipend during a Ph.D. would be economically unattractive. On the other hand - for some students the immense joy and satisfaction of doing and achieving the unknown through research, the pleasure of extending their field of study or joining academia and teaching and guiding future generations of students is paramount.  The subsequent respect one commands as a Ph.D. helps them in making their mind up towards a Ph.D. and also sees them through these difficult times. Undoubtedly, for those who are undecided, it is not an enviable position to be in.

An M.S. is more job-oriented and perhaps solely gears one for the industry, while a Ph.D. is more research oriented and prepares one for a career in academia or a research position in the industry. In these situations doing an internship (while one is still in the middle of an M.S. program or even at the undergrad level) in a premier company is one of the best things you can do to help you in making an informed choice. You have still not made that decision as to which way you want to go, you can have a sneak peek at what life in the industry would be and whether this is something you wanted to do or if going the other way and doing a Ph.D. is the way forward for you. And of course, you see the link between academia and industry -are they in sync? Is education imparted at graduate school relevant in the business context?  Alternatively, one can take up an internship with a research organization to test the waters on the other side too! This would help you find out if you are kind of a 'research oriented' individual and what is in store for you in the world of technology research.

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