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Well well, it’s that time of the year again! No, not Christmas, not the 4th of July – but the sprightly month of March. And with March, comes the end of semesters, end of semesters means looking out for internships, looking out for jobs. Jobs & Internships mean people and basically reaching out to A WHOLE LOT OF PEOPLE! You get the drill, right?

Before we get to the hero of our conversation, let’s do some introspection, shall we?
Do you have a LinkedIn account of yours, check ✅
Do you know the alumni of your college, check ✅
But most importantly, do you know the importance of having an internship? Lets dive deeper here.

If you’re a fan of the start-up ecosystem in the USA, or follow the young turks building their name in the technology space, Kanav Kariya is a name you should have heard by now. Kanav was an Indian student, studying Bachelor Of Arts/Science at the University Of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. In 2017, he joined a well known giant, Jump Trading, operating in the space of Quantitative Trading. Cut to, 2022 & Kanav is leading a team of 172 people at Jump Crypto, the crypto division of the same organisation. Ahh, and he’s also a Forbes 30 under 30, North America, in the field of Finance. You can check it out here .

But how did he do it? He joined Jump Trading as an intern. He started work by building the Early trading platform at Jump, Got hired as a full time employee then became a Quantitative Researcher/Developer, moved on to become the “ Director of Strategic Initiatives and Digital Assets”, and is now the president of Jump Crypto. Kanav is a great representation of the Indian diaspora, but he’s a better example of why you should pursue an internship in the field you like and maximise your resources, your chances of excelling!

Why Internships?

Circling back to where we were, Internships are a great mechanism to understand & build for real world scenarios. Simply put, Internships provide a unique opportunity to gain practical experience in a particular field, working alongside professionals and industry experts. This is particularly important for Indian students and the Indian diaspora, since we have to apply for different visas for study, work if we want to continue staying in the USA, or any other country where the opportunities may be better. By taking up internships, you can not only gain valuable experience and knowledge, but also build your professional network, a definite asset for the future.

Internships help you gain “ Work Experience “, and trust us when we say this, Work Experience is a highly valued asset in the USA. You can pack a punch above your weight with the right work experience and the right skill set. However, there’s a slight difference here in the United States.

Do campus placements exist in the universities of the USA?

Yes, and no. This may sound a little confusing, but when you look at the situation back in India; a lot of companies travel down to colleges and offer what are called “ Campus Placements “ or jobs ( and sometimes Internships) to students who are about to graduate. The university helps students get a job and secure their placement. While this sounds very lucrative, at the outset there are a few compromises that the students have to make. This culture practically doesn’t exist in the USA. So yes, a few colleges may offer on-campus placements and jobs in the USA, but this number is practically negligible. Most students and recent graduates depend on themselves, and build networks or connect with alumni to get a good job for themselves.

So, does it help? Networking by myself? Boy it does! There are a lot of benefits that networking empowers you with.

The most obvious advantage is that it becomes easier for you to get a job, or secure an internship at a place you like, or the field you want to pursue, but it also helps you gauge your skills and learn about what employers are looking for in candidates and what skills and experience are required for specific jobs. Your professional connections become stronger. Networking allows you to develop professional relationships with people who can provide guidance and support throughout your career. These relationships can lead to mentorship opportunities and help you make better-informed career decisions. There are only 6 levels of people standing between you and the person you admire to be, and networking helps you reach there more efficiently. Being a part of the Indian diaspora, culture and ethics are something we all swear by; and networking with professionals from different cultures can help international students develop a better understanding of the cultural nuances of the American workplace. This becomes particularly helpful when it comes to navigating the job market and building professional relationships.

I’m convinced, but how do I approach an internship?

It’s important to note that internships are competitive, and it’s essential to invest time and effort in applying to as many opportunities as possible. This requires researching companies and start-ups, tailoring resumes and cover letters to each opportunity, and preparing for interviews. By dedicating time and effort to the application process, doing your bit of research and prepping early on; you’re right on track to gain experience and join a company you like. Often organisations roll out their internship and/or job requirements on their careers portals around this time in summer to hire recent graduates and interns for various roles and responsibilities. It’s good to be on top of these things and look out for a role of your choice. Moreover, internships offer a stipend, which can be a great motivation for most of us. You get to earn some money, build networks, learn and showcase your talent. In fact, this financial support can help cover some of your living expenses, or reduce your student loan burden, or just save up for the next iPhone 🤌🏼

“ This sounds good, some additional points that you suggest ?”

In addition to applying for internships, it’s also important to invest time in up-skilling and building one’s skill set. Many companies and start-ups in the USA value candidates who have a diverse range of skills, including technical and soft skills. Make the best use of online resources that your colleges and universities may be providing you with. Additionally, participate in hackathons, attend conferences and workshops, and join relevant forums which can provide opportunities to develop new skills and build one’s professional network.

Wrapping It Up

You would have heard that “well begun, is half done”. If you’ve reached here, we can definitely say that you’ve begun very well!
The other half is now for you to implement what you’ve read and learnt. In conclusion, internships provide an incredible opportunity for Indian students and the diaspora to upskill themselves, gain real-world experience, and build your professional networks. With the academic semester coming to an end, now is the time to start researching opportunities and investing time in the application process. Time to get going!

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