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.