General Electric – Pranav Keni

719 Views, Posted on: June 28, 2017

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A little over a month into my internship at General Electric (GE) has left me with a feeling of ambivalence about my experience here.  While getting acquainted with the work going on in one of the biggest core engineering companies in the world (on a plush 50 acre campus equipped with state-of-the-art facilities) has been an enriching experience, the overall project work has been a bit of a letdown.

Selection Procedure and Preparation:

Getting a flavor of working in the corporate world and an opportunity to apply the concepts learnt in the classroom in an industrial setting were my main expectations for my summer internship. An R&D profile in core mechanical engineering which was offered by GE seemed to fit the bill perfectly.

The selection procedure was fairly elaborate. First round was primarily an online test, which comprised of both technical as well as aptitude based questions. Students were shortlisted based on their test performance and resumes. There were two rounds of interviews following this – a technical and an HR interview.

The technical round was more of an elaboration of the technical projects I had mentioned on my resume. It did not involve recapitulation of any factual knowledge or concepts learnt in any course. The HR interview was pretty straightforward with routine HR questions on your motivation to work for GE, short term goals, long term goals and so on.

As far as the preparation is concerned, practising some aptitude questions in order to be able to complete the test in the stipulated time would be advisable. Make sure you brush up concepts from some of your key courses before the technical test. For the interviews, be thorough with your resume and be ready for some cross-questioning on the projects you have mentioned.

Well begun is half done but otherwise…

Prior to the onset of the internship, we had to deal with some serious unprofessionalism from the company. Our actual stipend was reduced from the amount specified in the IAF with no prior intimation.  In addition to this, actual dates of the internship were altered weeks after official offer letters were sent out which forced us to reschedule our travel bookings. In a nutshell, we have had to deal with a lot of carelessness, lack of transparency and an overall sense of apathy towards interns which has spilled over to the actual internship as well.

Actual Internship

A total of eight students were selected across Mechanical, Aerospace and Metallurgical Engineering Departments. All of us were inducted into the GE Aviation Department and were posted at JFWTC, their R&D centre in Bengaluru. Each of us was allotted different projects under different mentors across various teams of GE Aviation like High Pressure Compressor Subsystem, Automated Design Team, Tools Team etc.

Elaborating on my personal experience (note that this would vary from person to person depending on the project and the mentor), I was allotted a project in the High Pressure Compressor Subsystem. Most of my initial excitement was dampened in one of the first few meetings with my mentor. I was blatantly told that I would be working on something which is not on their high priority list and the mentor, being faced with plenty of deadlines of his own, would not be able to devote sufficient time to me. Moreover, the work which was allotted to me was abstract data analysis, which he needed to finish and had no element of core mechanical engineering. I was sure of not wanting to work on these allotted tasks during the entire course of my intern. A week later, I requested for a change of project and asked for something which would be more germane to my interests. He conceded and consequently I am performing simulations on different compressor rotor blade designs. Although this project seems pretty interesting, every meeting with my mentor has given me vibes of me impeding his progress in his primary work and being more of a liability. Nevertheless, with my new project being more aligned with my interests, I am optimistic that things will ameliorate soon.

Campus Atmosphere

The overall work atmosphere is pretty relaxed with no strict timings or dress codes. Most employees are pretty approachable and friendly. Although I have more of a desk job, we, as interns have had lab visits to explore different research facilities within the campus. An opportunity to see a transverse section of an actual aircraft engine was a truly fascinating experience. Apart from work, there are a myriad of recreational activities that one can participate in. With volleyball courts, badminton courts, state of the art gym on campus and a cricket ground; one is always bound to find some fun activity or the other. Customary TT, pool or foosball after lunch has become a part of our routine here now.


Life in Bengaluru

Accommodation for a week was provided by GE and post that we are staying in a PG at a walkable distance from office, thus saving us the trouble of daily commute in the infamous Bengaluru traffic. The city as a whole was aptly summarized during an interaction with a local who had seen its transformation from Garden City to IT City. He described the city to be a rapidly growing concrete jungle with IT parks on one front and massive shopping malls on the other,all of them engulfed in an endless sea of traffic. However, with congenial weather complementing numerous sight-seeing locations, one can always have a good time in the city; more so if you are a fan of South Indian cuisine.   

Excursions to places like Mysore, Ooty, Pondicherry, Coorg, Gokarna and numerous trekking destinations ensure that you have your weekends booked. Proper planning and bookings done well in advance will ensure that you utilize whatever free time you have appropriately.


Final Thoughts

As I sign off I would like to provide a word of caution to anyone applying for internships, to not blindly sign for companies solely because of its name and stature; instead, ensure you match the profile being offered with your interests. Remember that everything will not be rosy but try to ensure that you maximise your learning in whatever you choose through active effort from your own side irrespective of circumstances.

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