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My intern ended yesterday and I am yet to come to terms with it. The excitement, rigour and endless cups of coffee are yet to be flushed from my veins, making it an ideal frame of mind to talk about the last 45 days.
I’ll go about it in parts:
IIM-A takes in up to 40-50 summer interns each sem, of which a sizeable chunk are from IITs, NITs, BITS and VIT. Officially, each professor can take only 2 interns every summer but they normally take in one more(some even taken in 10 interns).
I had formally applied(apped) here during November end, following which I had been assigned a series of tasks before being selected. Before applying it’s important to be thoroughly aware of the professor’s research area. Most of the professors take in their interns between November to January and the later you app, the harder it will be for you to land a paid intern.
My intern was under Prof. Anand Kumar Jaiswal of the marketing department, who specializes in Bottom of Pyramid(BOP) marketing strategies. It’s an interesting concept about how the market of over 2.5 billion people who live with less than 2.5$ per day, is a billion dollar market waiting to be tapped. For those interested in more, refer The Fortune at the Bottom of Pyramid (original by Prahalad & Hart) or BOP Strategy (brief).
I had read this when I was small and was blown away by its relevance in India. While applying, I had half expected to make basic models or assist in an ongoing project (meh), so when I was given a model on Health care industry before coming here and told that I had to write my own paper on it, I was over the moon.
The work involved talking to Doctors and executives across the industry, researching the most innovative strategies used by them, a Rajkot trip (yes, part of work) and 10 hours a day in the library(you could spend a lifetime there).
The work you get here depends highly on the professor whom you apply to. There are interns working on stock market analysis, government policies, supply chain optimization or even sentiment analysis.
If you come here before the sem starts, you should be (reluctantly)given dorm facilities at INR 150 per day. However, as the term structure here is different, you will soon find yourself shooed off your nests, 15 days before the sem starts(by May end) to make way for its rightful inhabitants.
Heartless as it may seem, trust me it’s the best thing that can happen to you. The dorms here are made of bricks and the temperatures may touch 50 degrees. Living in this combination, might be the closest you get to being baked alive.
Following this you either have to find yourself a PG or if you are lucky(like I was) you can get an MSH flat, a fully furnished, air conditioned flat, whose electricity bill(along with rent) has to be paid by you. Vastrapur however is a hub of universities and finding an affordable and nice PG shouldn’t be hard. Also an MSH flat can easily house 3 and slash down your expenses.
Until the sem starts, the only food source on campus is a south Indian restaurant called Radhika. The mess and a few cafes open only in June. Ahmedabad however is an expensive city and even a dinner in the mess can cost upto INR 110(there goes your stipend). Livestreaming is blocked but Game of Thrones shouldn’t be a problem (figure that one out yourself). Apart from this the campus has all the basic facilities needed, possibly for a token charge.
What I liked
First and foremost the culture. Research assistants or students I may have met for the first time have helped me find accommodation, spent hours explaining their work to me or helped me out if I was stuck somewhere. “Work” or discussing “work” here is not a taboo and the libraries remain full throughout the day.
Another thing I felt should be implemented in IITs is discussion based classrooms. There are marks for class participation here. This not only encourages students to prepare for the class but also makes them more interactive and interesting.
Lastly, the sheer diversity of people working here and the variety of projects they undertake is astonishing. You can learn a lot of new and interesting things, simply by talking to them.