By Dr. Lakshmi Mohan, Director
Though the pandemic has affected the internship format and opportunities, students have to be optimistic and persuasive about their learning. Through remote internships, which is the current option for internships, students must carve their way to preparing for a bright career. They need to pick up the ability to apply their conceptual learnings, build confidence and believe in the best.
Summer internships are a great way to acclimatize students to real-time work experience in course of their education. The short exposure leads to experiential learning and benefits the students immensely in learning the nuances of the corporate world. Students must take their internship seriously as though they are employed with the company, to bring the best outcome. Companies invest time and efforts to train the interns and in return student interns must take feedback from company mentors and develop themselves, thus making the best out of the internship.
The pandemic has imposed constraints on several walks of our life and, unfortunately, students have to bear the brunt of the deadly virus. The live interactions in a corporate surrounding make excellent learning for students, but due to social distancing, the students are deprived of live exposure at the workplace. Many companies are going through turmoil, especially in the hospitality and tourism sector, and are not in a position to employ interns.
It was also experienced that internships were postponed by companies as their employees were suffering from Covid. Many students who had joined companies for internships had mentors who could not guide them as they were struck by the disease. The rigor of an on-ground internship is lost. Students are at a loss as soft skills, Conflict management, time management, interpersonal skills, socio-emotional development, etc get compromised due to lack of proper internship. Many students who would have otherwise earned stipend for internship got deprived of earning due to the pandemic. Most companies believe that since students are working from home, they do not need to be paid an internship stipend, though I feel every effort of the intern must be rewarded in some formso that the student emulates the same when he/she becomes a corporate professional.
ITM Business School lays emphasis on real life learnings and offers 5 months industry Internship Program as a part of the curriculum. The intention of this initiative is to ensure that students have hands-on experience in a real time environment with organisations of repute. This leads to not only pre-placement opportunity and employability but also prepares them well for their upcoming corporate journey. The internship period is from April to August and ITM recorded 100% of internship placements for the PGDM 2020- 22 batch in spite of the ongoing global pandemic. The students are pursuing their internship with esteemed brand such as Deloitte, Tata Consultancy Services, United Bank of Switzerland ( UBS group) , HDFC Bank Ltd., Neilsen, Chr. Hansen (India) Pvt. Ltd., Aditya Birla Sun Life (Capital),Kotak Life Insurance, Reliance Retail Ltd., Reliance Jio,Kansai Nerolac Paints, Dun & Bradstreet, Shapoorji Pallonji Group etc. These internships are spanning across sectors like BFSI, IT & ITES, Consultancy, FMCG, FMCD, Digital Marketing, Real Estate and few others. The highest Stipend offered to the students in the current year is 25000/- per month.
If we dwell on the problem for long, we will get engulfed and ruined. The best way is to focus on the solution. Ray of hope appeared in the form of “work from home internships”(WFH) which students had to opt for, considering the perils of the pandemic. Companies are hiring interns though less in comparison to times before the pandemic. WFH internships have brought in a set of new learnings for students. Efficiency in remote working, new technology, analytics, research, digital acumen, conferencing techniques, etc has become part of internship learning. Digital adoption by companies is enabling students to learn the new-age business. Students are guided by companies to take up online courses to get more adept with digital technology.