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

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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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