Hello everyone! I am Ankit and I have just completed my 3rd year of chemical engineering. I am currently interning at Piramal Pharma Solutions (PPS) at their Digwal site, which is about 120 km from Hyderabad city. PPS is largely involved in the contract drug manufacturing business. The plant at which I am interning has facilities for late phase APIs and advanced Pharma intermediates production. I will try to cover as much as possible in the later part.
The company came for internships around mid-August. As Piramal has only recruited interns from insti once, the major source of information regarding the profile was only through their PPT. Although the profile offered was core, Piramal as a firm believes in developing your overall profile too. I have had a fair bit of experience in core at my 2nd year summer intern at Aditya Birla Chemicals and a sound interest in operations too, so my interests aligned with the offered profile and hence I signed the JAF. There was an initial shortlist for the online test which consisted of a portion having quant, vocabulary, and basics of chemical engineering based on which the GD shortlist was released. After a quick round of group discussions, 8 out of 35 candidates were shortlisted for interviews. The first round of interviews had some mixed technical and HR questions. Though the major part of my interview revolved around the internship projects and motivation, basic knowledge about core subjects will be more than sufficient for any counter questions during the interview which will reflect in your problem-solving approach. Albeit the profile was core, involvement in other institute activities will always give you an extra edge during the HR round. Three of us were shortlisted for the second round of the interview, which was mostly a personal interview. Piramal is one of the very few companies whose core profile doesn’t require a high CPI as a pre-requisite, all they want is your clear approach and fair clarity about the work you have done.
Kickstart to the Internship
Piramal has a launchpad programme under which there are 72 trainees from various business schools for other management profiles and 6 of us for the technical roles. We were allotted our internship location way before the internship began. Specifically for Pharma solutions, they had a 2-day orientation planned for us at their corporate office and the following day we were on our way to our respective locations (namely Digwal and Ennore (Chennai)). As of now, Piramal under its core profile hires from IIT Bombay and IIT Madras.
About the Project
A two-day site induction was held as we arrived here after which we were allotted our project mentors. We are three interns here at this site and our work is with the Technical Services Department (TSD) which deals as a bridge between the R&D and the production teams here. On a superficial level, my project work deals with developing a comprehensive approach for the scale-up of an early phase Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API) production from laboratory to commercial scale. You might know that Pharma industries generally operate at a pilot scale based on product demand. My work requires intensive research about the unit operations in an API production and build a strategy to scale up. You might consider it a desk job but we have visited all their production units. You can approach the mentor and any other employee for that matter, they are always ready to help and contribute to your work. You will come across some of the very crucial insights about the project through efficient networking, which accounts to their immense experience in this field. Delivering results on or before allotted deadlines would certainly attract opportunities to work on some other live projects as well.
They have a 6-day working policy here. The work hours are somewhat fixed, the shift starts from 9 AM and goes on till 5:30 in the evening and the worst part (or the best?) is that you have to submit your mobile phone at the main gate. They have provided us with laptops to work.
We are residing at the company’s guest house in Zaheerabad. The guest house is way better than our expectations and is by far the most comfortable place here in this remote town. Breakfast and dinner are supposed to be managed by us, though we do have a housekeeper to take care of these. There are no such eventful and happening places in this town that you can visit but this town is well connected to Hyderabad through RTC buses so we visit Hyderabad on Sundays, which is the only day off.
Only about a month remains in my internship, I believe that there is a lot that I have learned. This internship is a wonderful opportunity for a ChE enthusiast to gain a lot in 2 months. Apart from the work, another take-away from this internship is meeting new people who probably share the same interests as you. On a personal note, don’t get disheartened about the lack of opportunities you get in core profile based on your CPI, the interest and the approach is what matters during an interview. You can always ping me on Facebook regarding any queries.