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Nitish Sontakke is a 3rd year Undergraduate pursuing a B.Tech in Aerospace
Being in Aero and being core enthu is a difficult situation to be in. The universities that open through the Placement Cell usually end up selecting the top DRs. There are very few core companies* (read Gulfstream, Airbus, GE and Sukra Helitek) that hire students from the department for internships. Most core company IAFs usually open quite late. It is easy to get flustered and desperate when everyone around you has already bagged an internship which pays them handsome sums of money (subtly referring to non-core internships here). But I assure you, the experience is worth the wait.
I found out more about this intern through one of my seniors, Sreenath Dama, who had interned here the year before. The selection procedure involved a telephonic interview. For the technical part, I read about the profile and what would be required of me should I get selected and tried linking it to whatever relevant projects I had done till then. I talked to a few of my seniors and friends for advice and tips on how to prepare for the HR interview. Luckily for me, there was no HR interview. One of my friends on the other hand, only had to go through an HR interview. The results were declared around a week after the interview. I was sitting in class when I got the email. It took some time for the good news to sink in. It did not help that the result was declared on the 1st of April. Airbus gives a stipend of Rs. 10K to B.Tech students and Rs. 15K to Dual Degree students.
At Airbus, I spent the first two weeks conducting a literature survey, which basically involved me reading a few technical papers. Now, while this may sound a bit boring, I did come across a few interesting papers such as this one:
“Remarks on Mesh Quality” by Patrick M. Knupp.
Interested readers may find the full text of the paper here.
All interns here are assigned a mentor (the person who conducted the interview). Employees are required to come in by 9:30 am, put in 8 hours (excluding lunch hour), after which they’re free to go (there was no such official rule for interns, but we usually stuck to the timings). The best part is that you do not have to worry about work after you leave the office. The work atmosphere is also pretty chilled out. The people here are extremely friendly, approachable, helpful and patient. My work here is related to Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and Computational Geometry. It involves creating a tool from scratch to perform quality checks on a given aircraft/aircraft part mesh based on certain metrics which were zeroed in on through the literature survey. I was required to code in C++. There were times when I got stuck due to restricted access, but then this is true of any company as they have to be careful about security. This is especially true in the Aerospace sector. But forcing me to work with restricted access enabled me to try new and creative approaches to get the job done.
Airbus tries to engage and involve all the interns by conducting various activities such as interns vs employees basketball, cricket and football matches, t-shirt painting competitions, etc. It also takes care of the travel (both to and fro). We were given accommodation for the first 2 weeks, after which we shifted to a PG. Before coming here, I used to think that mess food was bad. Mess food was rock bottom, level 0. Turns out, there’s a level -1 as well: enter PG food. I usually ate breakfast and lunch at the office. For dinner we either eat out or in the PG, depending on how broke we are.
Life in the City
There are quite a few places to see in and around Bengaluru: Bannerghatta National Park, Nandi Hills, Coorg, Mysuru, and Pondicherry (or Puducherry, whatever floats your boat), Ooty and Kodaikanal if you’re up for the travel. Road trips are also a great idea. You can rent a Harley Davidson as well, provided you can cough up enough cash. Wonder la did not disappoint. Bangalore is also famous for its microbreweries. There are so many pubs scattered around the city that you’re spoilt for choice. The traffic though, is horrible. Whitefield is almost at the outskirts of the main city and it takes ages to get to the nicer and more fun parts like Indiranagar and Koramangala.
As I near the denouement of this chapter of my life, I can say that it has been a fun experience so far. The other interns are pretty cool too and we have developed a nice bonding and camaraderie. We play foosball in the office during lunch hour and mafia after office hours. The work has also been quite engaging. There has rarely been a time when I left office before 6:30 pm. It has been enlightening so far in that I got to learn about how things function in the industry, in what manner they are different from academia (industry is very results-driven whereas people tend to be more patient in academia where the deadlines are usually not as tight), what kind of work may be expected if one were to take up a job at a core company like Airbus and also got an opportunity to build a network and develop and hone both technical and non-technical skills.
*There are a few other companies that open for Aero, such as Texas Instruments and Shell, but these aren’t exactly core in the true sense of the term (for Aero). Also, I haven’t mentioned government organizations such as DRDO, HAL, NAL, ISRO and have stuck to only companies.