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Like every other sophomore, I too was confused and undecided about which internship to pursue during my summer vacations. The foreign lands looked enticing and so I began apping to different professors trying to sell myself as an eager and competent student.However, deep down I knew that I did not have the remotest of interest in my field of research (Metallurgy). I was just applying so that I could get a paid eurotrip and discover uncharted waters thanks to the rosy pictures of the foreign lands of my seniors. In the end, I received a few offers but didn’t take any due to lack of funding.
As I dropped plans of finding an internship abroad, I began panicking as it was already mid-March and there was no light at the end of my ‘internship crisis’ tunnel. For a last resort I started using personal contacts. I spoke to my uncle who was a professor in the business school at University of South Florida. It was during these talks with him that he told me to pursue something which excited me as he himself being an IIT Roorkee graduate chose to switch fields into academia at a business school at a later stage in life.
As I had an interest in economics from my high school years, I thought it would be a good experience to intern at a business school. So he recommended me to his fellow profs at ISB and then after a brief interaction with the professor there I was selected as an intern in ISB. Initially I had never thought that I would intern at business school, let alone ISB! Sometimes life takes you for a ride. Fortunately enough, for me ISB was a joyful ride.
I joined ISB in mid-May. On the first day I found my professor to be very helpful plus it was great to talk to his RA (research assistant). ISB doesn’t offer accommodation to interns. It offers a stipend enough to cover your daily expenses. My RA helped me in finding a PG accommodation nearby. The PG was nothing grand but after living in cramped rooms of IIT you find this luxurious. In this regard, IIT does train you well to live in the outside world as I don’t think you could find a more cramped room than the one you live in at IIT.
The ISB campus is extremely beautiful and scenic plus it is very well maintained. They have all modern state of the art facilities plus the developed infrastructure shows that a lot of planning has gone into it. I used to routinely swim or play squash after a day’s work. ISB is located in the newer developed part of the city. It is basically surrounded by the IT industry of Hyderabad. There are swanky offices of IT giants around it like Infosys, Wipro etc. So ISB is like a peaceful island in an ocean of maddening rush and rat race of the IT industry that engulfs it.
I was working in the information systems department. My team’s work involved applying game-theory models to econometric problems. Although I had some knowledge of economics it was very rudimentary to help directly in research. But, as the name of the department suggests, there’s a lot of information gathering and processing to be done to be able to validate your intuitions. So, here came my role. I was working on a few of sir’s research papers collecting and scraping data from different websites. Then after scraping the websites you needed to clean, I had to parse the data so that it could be used in analysis. I had to work on large data-sets running text-mining operations to analyse the data.
Basically, it involved a lot of coding. I had not anticipated this as I usually avoided coding and was relieved after my CS101 endsem that this was the last of my coding adventures with this. But with Google on my side I was able to learn Python pretty quickly and most of my work was based on this language. My RA and sir were extremely helpful and open to my ideas and views. So they bounced a lot of their ideas off me. I was extremely interested in a paper of theirs on the vertical integration of platforms. It basically explores why Google started venturing into the already competitive smartphone market launching the Nexus series and its advent into the Fiber industry with Google Fiber. Apart from my work, I was also able to attend a few research paper presentations of some distinguished professors. As a bonus, I also sat in a few of the MBA classes to get a feel of the business school.
It was a different experience to work with a faculty member in the institute as until now I had just the experience from a student’s point of view. It made me realise how much effort a professor puts into his lectures and tutorials. I have gained more respect for our professors now (I never thought this could happen :p)
Here I got to interact a lot with the RA community. Quite a few of them are IITians and a lot of people have joined here after leaving big corporate firms as amazon.com. The single minded approach of the researchers is to work hard and get a good recommendation, so that they can get into a good PhD programme in the US. I was enriched by such interactions and it planted the seed of going abroad for studies in me.
Hyderabad is a paradise for non-vegetarians like myself as you can relish local delicacies like Hyderabadi biryani and haleem. You have the Charminar and Golconda fort to visit around.. Apart from that a visit to the Birla temple is a must as it offers a great view of the city. Prasads – Asia’s largest IMAX screen is an experience in itself. The weather in the first few weeks offered sweltering heat but then the rains start and it becomes very pleasant.
The auto drivers are pretty unruly and the Mumbai ones seem very innocent in comparison. There’s a bit of a language barrier when you speak to locals but a combination of Hindi and English should suffice.
It was in general overall a great experience to work at ISB. The overall atmosphere of the business school appealed to me a lot. ISB helps you enrich your personality and will help you make an informed decision for life after college.