E-WEEK: Rutgers students share internship experiences with peers, faculty
Internships are a crucial part of any university's undergraduate college careers.
Lockheed Martin and Phillips 66 recently promoted an "Interns Present" event at the Fiber Optics Building on Busch campus. As a part of Engineers Week, this event consisted of select undergraduate students who presented their internship experiences to an audience of professors, peers and other members.
The competition's ultimate goal was to inform every student about the many opportunities that are present. Not only did these presenters talk about their experiences, they also gave tips on how to tackle interviews and make the best out of their resources.
In addition to providing students with work experience, internships allow students to put their unique skill sets to work. Internships give students the fundamental skills needed to work in the public arena, including teamwork and an affable nature.
A variety of different engineers presented their internship experiences at a myriad of companies.
For students to really excel in their internships they have to be proactive and not only stick to one type of field, said Nikhil Kumar, a School of Engineering senior studying biomedical engineering and computer science.
“Biomedical engineering is a very new field. Therefore, if you purely study only biomedical engineering, it is very hard to get a job,” Kumar said. “That is what (inspired) me to get a minor in computer science. It is best to keep an interest in an area that has a better perspective.”
Kumar's internship at Merck & Co., one of the world’s top pharmaceutical companies, allowed him to expand beyond his boundaries and really test his knowledge and ability, he said.
Though it may seem unimportant, Kumar was able to gain a lot of insight from the classes he took as a sophomore and junior, which helped him in his internship.
“'Introduction to Linear Algebra' and any core computer science course is important. Experience in Java, (a programming language) is very beneficial because it puts you a step above the others,” Kumar said.
Being able to share his experiences with his peers made his day, he said.
Sometimes to gain an internship, the best thing to do is to be flexible about the options out there. The most basic of classes may seem unimportant, but being able to extract the knowledge from these classes is what really helps boost the internship experience, Kumar said.
Even internships outside specific fields can help students, said Justin Yu, a School of Engineering senior studying chemical and biochemical engineering.
Yu said most of his internship experience interning at Deloitte University was powered by his prior internship experiences.
“I think what internships help you do is they help you realize what you want to do, what you can do, and how to push yourself further,
The mentoring that comes with an internship truly helped shape his experience, Yu said.
“I think that people with more experience really help you fix some of the things that you might not realize are wrong,” he said. “The cool thing about Deloitte is they saw you as a colleague, they don’t see (themselves) as a superior and you as an underling.”
In addition to the mentorship aspect of an internship, he focused on his experience consulting at Deloitte. It involved teamwork to communicate ideas to a client, Yu said.
“It really made sense to make a (presentation) that really highlighted the things we did,” he said. “We put it this way in this week and we realized there’s a better, more efficient way to make it the next week.”
Yu demonstrated what he did and how he did it, so attendees could understand the type of work he did at Deloitte. He is graduating in May and will be working at KPMG, another major consulting company.
The event showed that internships can help a student determine a path they want to continue working through, simply through the experience.
Spencer Chang, a School of Engineering junior studying electrical and computer engineering, said it was much more than he expected. Chang learned a lot from the many different engineers that presented and how unique their opportunities were, he said.
The event overall was a success, he said. Not only did many different engineering students talk about their experiences but attendees, especially fellow Rutgers undergraduates, were inspired to pursue an internship as well.
The presenting students not only shared the plethora of skills they gained, but also the passion they had for their fields and gaining and broader education, Chang said. The students, he said, brought passion to their internships and created a memorable experience.
“They did a really good job of having a bunch of people mix, like across a lot of different industries, and they show you a lot of different things,”
Shivang Pandya is a School of Engineering sophomore majoring in biomedical engineering. He is a contributing writer for The Daily Targum. See more on Twitter @ShivPandya3.