About the Author: Pushkal Agarwal from The LNM Institute of Information Technology, Jaipur, shares how he was able to pursue an internship at Nielsen in the field of his choice – Text Analytics – and how the internship (almost) gave him a chance to visit US.
Chennai to Chicago: Internship ++
“Arise, awake and do not stop until the goal is reached”- Swami Vivekananda. Indeed this statement is a complete lesson for all the learners. My desire to bag an internship started from these aforementioned experiences. By the end of the fifth semester, I had started exploring the field of text analytics. I improved my coding skills in R programming and worked (as team mentor) on three projects under faculty. I also presented my text analysis research work for publication in an international journal. I used to meet faculty, code till late night and implement my ideas with my coding skill. Hence, some faculty members were aware of my skills and working domain.
At the beginning of sixth semester (in January), I got the opportunity to attend ‘Machine Leaning’ workshop at Central University of Rajasthan and I became even more definite about my future plans in this field. Then I started applying for various internships openings in India and abroad as well (IAS, CeNSE, IIT, NIT, CERN, AStar). I updated my Internshala account and started looking for more options. My actual goal was to convert a foreign based internship this year. I contacted some of the alumni that were working or studying aboard (Singapore, France, and Dubai).
The foremost thing to apply for an internship is a good resume/CV. I took suggestions and templates from my seniors and prepared one and a half page long resume. This was covering one publication, data analysis/java/C projects, 8.5 CPI, four teaching assistant-ships, and ongoing chairperson experience of a Student Chapter in the institute. Hence, I was ready with my stuff; only thing was to frame it in a captivating form. Once I completed that, I e-mailed it to one of the experienced professors of the institute for review and getting his letter of recommendation. He was a bit friendly with me and always guided me in my decisions. He asked for a weekend to review it and then I forgot that.
Two week later, my friend & I got an email mail from the same professor stating – “After lot of background processing, Nielsen has zeroed in on you two. Congratulations for that and you two have earned it and truly deserve it! The work that they do is perfectly fitting your ambition to work in data analytics. I advise you to take decisions accordingly”. (So, Internship.)
I was surprised and a bit confused because I had neither applied to such company nor sir had mentioned anytime in past about this offer. I was looking for internship under some professor but not in corporate world. I immediately called him for more details. On the phone, he explained me that the resume I had shared with him some days back had been selected out of fifteen students for the summer internship at Nielsen’s Chennai office under company’s Director. He added that this can be extended as our curriculum B.Tech Project and I could look forward to a job prospect if it suits me and the company. The next step will be a phone call from the company’s Director under whom me and my friend will be working. If that went fine, surely we will get this internship with a decent stipend offer.
A month passed and I was curious about the offer because the foreign internship was still on my mind. In second week of March, I got the phone call from company’s Director. He asked me the details and my role in the projects, CPI, and exact working domain for my internship project. Soon, I got the offer letter stating 16 May 2016 as the joining date, 25,000/month as stipend, 2nd AC travel reimbursement and starting 15 Days stay in a four start hotel in Chennai. So, everything was covered in this. We were about to experience an MNC culture with world class learning opportunities and luxuries.
We joined the company on 16 May 2016. We met our guide, the Director of the company. In an hour long session, we all (2 LNMIIT + 1 IIT Kharagpur student) discussed our experiences, family backgrounds and working domains. At first meeting itself it was clear that the guide is very humble and friendly as was mentioned by our professor. Also, we got to know that he has wealth of experience with Ph.D from IIT Kanpur, 3 patents, several publications and much more.
Our project was related to Data analysis using R programming and social media. We took data from Twitter etc. and processed it to match with sales. In the first week itself, we got a mail from Nielsen’s Mumbai office that our project will be showcased at company’s symposium in Chicago (USA) in July. Yes, it was USA – a country I so eagerly wanted to visit. Our mentor confirmed that we were to meet and present our work to top officials. The visa, travel ,accommodation etc. will be taken care of and paid by the company itself. So it was like a dream come true for me (Internship++).
All of us applied for the US Visa, and got it. The project was in a good shape by the end of June with only presentation and reports left. The results showed 95 % accuracy with a visualization application completely deployed by Shiny platform. We shopped to get some branded formal suits for the presentation. Tickets and hotel were booked, the currency was converted. And then something strange happened.
We got the mail from New York head office that the event had been postponed due to company delivery dates and client requirements. All my excitement vanished. Next day our mentor confirmed this and asked us not to lose hope. This was an add-on to the internship experience and not the end of the world. Good news was that we got the visa for ten years, hence could explore future possibility if we were to join again. Since the US visit got cancelled, I got to stay one extra week at home which in a way was also good.
But what I got from this internship was great satisfaction. It proved the fact that one’s work and trust in people (professor, guide) are essential for learning and converting great opportunities. Success and recognition are a by-product of the same.
At the final day, we went out for a dinner with our guide. We enjoyed South Indian food while cracking jokes with each other. With great memories we returned to our respective hometowns. I did a lot of shopping for all the family members. They were very excited about that. Finally we joined the 7th semester, we are in touch with our guide and are working for a publication from the results. We wished him both ‘Friendship Day’ and ‘Teachers Day’ because for us he was a friend who knows better than us and guide who always carves out the niche of ideas and comes up with solutions.
So, I got a global Nielsen learning experience, loads of pleasant memories of Chennai, and yes a 10 years business, conference and tourism Visa for US. Learning and memories are the things that no one can steal from you.
Editor’s Note – Want to be a Mr. Analyst yourself? Check out these exciting Analytics internships on Internshala. Or want to take your first dive into the fascinating world of Analytics, check out Internshala online training on Analytics in partnership with Analytics Vidhya.