Updated: Nov 16, 2020
If you're looking to apply for a research internship at IIT or IIM and wondering whether the professors will be accepting applications during the lockdown, here is a great news. Recently, a student pursuing two parallel courses: Master's in Clinical Psychology & MBA, Deepika Chahal, completed her research internships at IIT and IIM and she'd like to share her experience to help all the aspirants who wish to apply for this opportunity.
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In Deepika's Words:
Research Internship at IIT & IIM
I am writing this because I know that many people have this doubt that ‘How to get into IIM or IIT for research internships’. I hope it would help someone to get the desired platform in their life’s journey.
First of all, my name is Deepika Chahal and I am doing two courses parallelly. First course is ‘Master’s in Clinical Psychology’, which is from IGNOU and another one is ‘MBA in Marketing and International Business’ from Maharshi Dayanand University.
As you can see that I am not from very popular universities, so it had always been a struggle to find reputed internship opportunities. At first, I thought that my two different courses will cause a problem but they literally helped me out a lot. Secondly, I didn’t know that IITs and IIMs provide internships to outsiders but while surfing online, I got to know that they do provide these amazing experiences to the students.
Internship at IIT Delhi
Somehow, I got inspired and made a list of the top 5 IITs for psychology. Frankly speaking, I didn’t apply in any of these except IIT Delhi because I knew that I will never get a reply. But within 20 minutes, I got a positive response from Dr. Kamlesh Singh and BINGO.
I went through a telephonic interview and she hired me on the same day. She is truly a mentor and a positive personality. She helped me everywhere she could (even in my PhD related stuff) and gave me handsome stipends. In a few days, I developed a connection with her and now, apart from being a mentor, she is more like a mother to me.
Internship at IIM Kozhikode
At the same time, I had to apply somewhere for my MBA internship and I applied to IIM Kozhikode, Indore and Ahmedabad. I applied to five professors though email and got response from four.
First professor from IIM Ahmedabad said that “I am not looking for an intern right now”. Second professor from Ahmedabad said that “I will hire you in September” and third one from Indore gave me the offer letter but I was more interested in Kozhikode.
So unfortunately, I had to say no to Indore which I did and I said “yes” to Kozhikode. There, I worked under Dr. Aishwarya R. and we worked for a month on a ‘marketing and psychology’ based research. Before hiring me, she asked me to write 2 articles on her research topic and read as much as anyone can to check own's limits.
Overall Experience of Internship
As I applied in the lockdown, I couldn’t get a chance to explore the campus. I worked from home, but the professor asked me to come over there for a week to collect the stipend and the letter of recommendation.
During my internships, both the professors were really supportive and friendly. They never gave me a timeline to finish a work and we were always connected through the mails and phone calls on a daily basis.
I did a lot of research work for them, e.g. - reading research papers, preparing structured data for analysis, making videos for the research etc.
How to Apply for Research Internships?
There are 2 types of internships: Summer/Winter Internship and Research Internship. You can apply to both by directly mailing the professors and people easily get the email addresses of professors by going to their university’s website and finding the faculty pages.
Now, the tricky question is what should we write in the mail? The answer is really simple, you just have to do an introspection like what all qualities do you have and which of those qualities would help the professor.
Now, divide the mail into two parts. First one is the cover letter. Here, you will write about the stuff which will attract the attention of the professor in a single glance, for example - if you have done any prior internship or experience, courses, institutions etc.
Plus, you will also write some things about the professor, e.g - which article or book by him/her you liked the most, your area of interest in their research and praise them a bit because they are worth it.
Second one is the CV. Keep your CV simple and just add those things only which you really meant because professors generally don’t expect students to behave like a 40 year-old with some experience.
Tips for Future Applicants
According to me, anyone who is interested in his or her subjects and wants to get a tag of IIT or IIM should apply for the internship. These experiences changed me a lot and gave me the courage for my PhD abroad. The first thing which I would suggest to the students is not to go blindly while applying to the professors because they will only hire you if you are exactly what they want. So choose properly as to which professor is working in your area of interest.
Keep your study and activity field broad because they generally go through each and every aspect of your life, whether you are into dancing or singing or gardening etc. For my MBA internship, Professor asked me, “Do you dance or sing, Miss. Deepika?”
Last but not the least suggestion is to prepare a well-expressive email to apply. Instead of writing Dear Sir, it's better to write Dear Dr. XXX or Dear Dr. Prof. XXX and be more specific and truthful in your CV, that’s it.
So, these were a couple of insights about internships at IITs and IIMs by Deepika Chahal. Hope her experience benefits you. Thank you so much, Deepika for contributing your article to the blog.
A similar internship at IIM Ahmedabad was pursued by Aditi Mulye. You can read her research internship experience as well.
If you also wish to contribute to the blog, submit your story here - Contribute to Non-Engineers.
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