Internships are a matter of life and death for undergraduates. I remember the people around me being worried out of their wits to somehow waste their summers at an office that looks good. On a humorous note, our telecom industry offers there are two types of internships:
- Through HR
- Through reference
If you have grabbed an official internship, it is still fine. They will kick you everywhere and get you working. Through a referential entry, on the other hand, you would need to build everything on your own. Talking about vendors, you are lucky if you would find someone drawing off a little time and transferring some of his/her expertise to you. Else, it is all about assimilation- self learning!
I recall my internship at a vendor maintaining MSC of a leading mobile operator. There were hardly four regular employees at that site and I always felt like falling asleep in the chilly environ poised so delicately. I was informed the very first day that I have to learn everything on my own.
The year 2009 saw the release of second edition of NED University’s telecommunication magazine ‘CommuniCat’. In the cover story an Ericsson Radio Network Design Manager was found quoting that often the interns are handed the least important tasks. However, we try to expose the intern to maximum interaction to colleagues and to maximum awareness about workplace ethics.
On the other end however, where there is a rigorous process of roll-out underway, even a two-month internship might be of much use. In such cases interns are usually hired for drive testing, site installation and nominal office tasks.
I recently had a chance of discussing the culture of internship with a leading consumer based multinational company and I could not help pondering about the way we (in telecom) carry interns through the internship course. Often they are not considered the part of Human Resource a company should mandatorily look after.
If I should take the names then at one hand where major cellular operators are known for treating an intern as a part of their HR, a few others do not really bother about the intern’s motivation level.
In early part of its roll-out phase, Qubee recruited a few final year interns to deploy its sites. They were not even given laptops from the company; one ended up losing his own, yet the company never cared.