Mrigank Singh (AM1)
ML Internship at IISc
Tech Internship at Wipro Linecraft AI
Given that I just had a year of studying my subjects, I figured that core might not be something I wanted to pursue. So then I figured I should try my hand at various things, so that I might find something I like.
I first considered SURA. I applied for it too, but I withdrew at the last minute, right before my presentation. The reason I didn't move forward with it was that SURA is a big investment to make: it involved staying in Delhi throughout the summer, and the professor had told me that it was going to be intense, not to mention, most people who do SURA still keep working on it after the summer. More importantly, I wanted to explore different things, and I also wanted to do some amount of preparation for the incoming third-year intern season. So, I decided I'd follow the usual off-campus internship trend.
Process of Application:
I picked up my strategy internship at IISc in January. Towards the end of December, I was just scrolling through LinkedIn and figured it looked interesting. It was a strategy internship at IISc. I was thinking of picking up some project under a professor here ( at IIT Delhi), but then I thought, let's just go outside. That was the first time I made a resume. IISc got back to me a week later and scheduled a couple of rounds of interviews. The first one was like a case study, and a very general one too, be it about design, legislation, or even perception and PR. The second interview was with the project lead and was filled with standard questions: What do you expect? What do you think about it? A week later, I heard that I was selected. It was a steady internship and wasn't too hectic, and I had regular meetings with my professor and the project lead who was studying there.
The IISc internship would end in May, so for the summer, I thought I would try something in tech this time. So, I applied to a startup called Linecraft, which Wipro had acquired. I was in Pune for the summer.
I came across this company because my dad read about it on MoneyControl. I went on LinkedIn, read up about it, found the HR, and messaged her a couple of times. Luckily, this lead worked out for me. I had a round with some engineers over there. It was about coding, just the basics, and some DSA, a little about sorting and related things. I had done COL106, so the round seemed pretty easy afterwards. Then I had an HR round with standard questions such as 'Why this company?', 'Why machine learning?' and ‘Why do you want to get this internship?’ This entire process was pretty different from the conventional route that most people wherein they send 300-400 emails. I never did that.
Pre-Internship Preparations, Apprehensions, and Perceptions
As far as preparation went, I reached out to Linecraft and asked them if there was something I had to do before I came to Pune. There were a few lectures on YouTube that they asked me to watch. So that's what I did. It wasn't too much, say ten lectures of an hour each. They just wanted me to have a basic idea about coding and Python, as machine learning mostly happens in Python.
Experience, Challenges, and Takeaways:
My project at IISc was about eVTOLs: Electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing vehicles. My internship was centred on trying to analyse the Indian market and see where eVTOLs could be made applicable, the kinds of laws in India that would support them or create a hindrance, possible challenges and what kind of reception they would receive in the market. There was some amount of work in the design aspect too. It was a big project with around 30-40 people involved. I had project leads, and most of our work came through them only. They would tell us what to do and guide us along the research we had to do. The professor would come just to get an idea about what was happening.
As for the one at Wipro, the company that I was interning at works on the efficiency of production lines. In India, we have very archaic lines, so we have multiple alarms on production lines. Each has different components, and if one gets triggered, multiple other ones get triggered, too. So if the product stops moving, all subsequent alarms will go off, too. This entire process happens in minimal time gaps. My work was based on clustering to get an idea of which alarms will go off together. What is triggering the entire thing? If you have the answer to these questions, and if you have ten alarms going off at once, you know exactly what to work on to rectify the situation.
With regards to my research internship, my experience was along the expected lines. Given that mine was a strategy internship, I had an idea of what it would entail: reading reports, doing some research on the internet, and finding research papers from professors who were working on it.
The internship at Wipro was slightly different from what I had expected. What I expected, or at least the image I had of corporate tech, was that you do a very set amount of work. Maybe it was specifically the case of the company I worked in, but I observed that my boss gave me a lot of freedom. He never expected me to get everything done or always be correct. It was fun in the sense that I got to explore a lot. That’s probably one of the best things a student can ask for because, at this point, we are not sure about what we want to do.
People should try to explore things that seem interesting to them rather than following hearsay. If you have some information about a domain or a company, it’s a good idea to go into the depths of it. If something seems interesting to you, pick it up, study it and see if it is something that fascinates you. If it does, pick up an internship in that domain, else continue whatever it is that you do. Keep exploring and eliminating options.
Suppose you're considering working with a startup. Figure out where the startup is in the industry. Go to their website and see the backgrounds of people who work there. See what's happening with them on the news. Just try and be a little careful when you pick up startups.
As far as professionalism goes, one thing that I learned was that communication is critical. Be it the documentation of your work (so that other people can understand what you are doing) or just consistently being in touch and giving them an overview of what you're doing- it is very important to prioritise communication.