October 10, 2009
Let’s get down into the details
I know I was really brief about my internships in my previous posts, but that was purposely done :-) so I could elaborate here, so here goes…
When I joined the School of information in the winter term, I hadn’t thought what I would be doing in the summer, specifically because I didn’t know that there would be 4 months of no school, since it doesn’t happen in India. As February came I became aware of these 4 months of no school and got to know that this is the part where you do an internship.
I started my quest for the search of an internship. I was a complete newbie at this, my resume was pathetic, I didn’t have a portfolio of my work, nothing, I had to start from scratch. Kelly and Joanna helped me shape-up my resume and get onto iTrack (SI’s career site). I started sending out my resume and started applying for jobs from various jobsites like monster, careerbuilder, juju, etc. No response.
Then came this career fair at the engineering school, and guess what I didn’t have a suit and also no money to buy one :-(. Luckily there was a sale going on at Sears in Briarwood mall on Arrow jackets and trousers, so I mixed and matched and got myself a suit for the career fair. I was all ready with my resume and certificates put into my SI folder. The career fair came and went by; I applied, but again no response. Then again there was a career fair specifically for new start-ups in the Ann Arbor area; I went to it but with dampened enthusiasm. Applied again, but still no response.
I visited a lot of career events organized by SI career office, the specific one that I remember was the internship panel, where there were 4 seniors who were talking about their internship experience. I just remember what one of them (Andres Montejo) said – “Gorilla tactics – if you want a position keep applying to it until you get it”. I took it as a motivation and kept going at my internship search. I got a few enthusiastic responses at SI ExpoSItion but still no response. At this point I also started building an online portfolio which is now at: http://www.umich.edu/~malhar.
Then came the Yahoo! Hack day at the college of engineering. I wasn’t able to attend it because of the course load (15 credits, Phew!), even though I heard some of the biggies like Paul Tarjan and Rasmus Lardoff were there. Fortunately, Prof. Drago, with whom I was taking Information Retrieval, got these folks to one of our lectures and they gave a super-cool presentation and also their email addresses to collect resumes. I sent across mine and guess what, no response; just kidding I got a phone interview setup.
Wow this was a dream come true for me interviewing for a position with Yahoo! Awesome. I had the interview followed all the protocols of a good phone interview but they decided to take someone else. That was a really de-motivated me, but I kept going. Finally after a number of failed attempts, I got a position at a U-M office, but they only paid $10.50 an hour (great! I would earn more if I drove the blue bus I thought) but money wasn’t a concern, still I had to consider it since I had to pay-off my education loans. Thankfully to God I got offered a job then by HiperLogic, Prof. Drago, MAIS and Rackham Graduate school, all within 4 days :-):-):-) This was great but unfortunately I cannot work for more than 40 hours at U-M so I had to turn down Prof. Drago’s and MAIS’s offer.
I was all set working my two jobs (one was remote work), then one day I get an email from a guy in Texas that he saw my portfolio and wants to hire me. And this person is the Director of Business development at eDirect Impact. Wow! I couldn’t turn him down and started remote work with him as well. At that point my summer became no less than a school semester of more than 18 credits. I was working most of the time. I would work 8 to 5 at one job and come back home and work around 6 hours for the other two. On the weekends I used to work around 16 hours so that I could cope up with my other two jobs. But it was a fun and wild experience, I learned so very much.
Ah! I forgot to mention one thing. During my internship search someone told me that you cannot work off-campus on an F-1 visa until you have completed a year of school and this was true for me since I had only completed 6 months of school – this shattered me. Luckily :-) there is a loophole in this. If you are required to work as a requirement for you course, then you can. Great! School of information had this concept of PEP (Professional Engagement Program), which allowed me to earn credits for my internship and hence I could get a CPT to work!
Posted by malhar at October 10, 2009 05:16 PM