“Somehow, all that we studied starts to make sense!”
Masters’ in Structural Engineering, Final year, College of Engineering, Guindy
Interviewer: Anusha Richelle (GT)
Interviewee: Swetha Gummalla
GT: Tell us about yourself.
Swetha: I’m Swetha, from Andhra Pradesh, doing my master's in Structural Engineering at Anna University. I’m in my final semester, working on my thesis. I’ve been interning with Dow Chemicals for three months now.
GT: How did you come across this internship?
Swetha: This internship was through CUIC. I initially did not have the idea to apply since it was a chemical company but one of my professors suggested that it is an established company for any discipline. So, that’s how I went ahead and applied for it.
GT: What was the selection process like?
Swetha: The selection process consisted of four rounds: written test, group discussion, technical interview, and finally, HR interview. And while academic grades are not one of their main criteria, a higher GPA gives one an edge over other applicants.
GT: Can you please brief us on the project you are currently working on?
Swetha: The company has its own design aids and guidelines which follow standard codebook. I am working on upgrading one such design document with the help of software tools like STAAD Pro, RAM Connection, and Mat 3D. I coordinated with another intern from Houston, and we have been working on it together.
GT: Does this project require skills you weren’t initially familiar with? If so, how did you cope with it?
Swetha: Yes, I was unfamiliar with one software. I learned through YouTube tutorials and my mentors too taught me its working. They provided me with ample files that I could learn from and they cleared my doubts, as and when they occurred to me.
GT: How did the company help you in accustoming to the virtual internship?
Swetha: The company has been very supportive and helpful. They provided me with a laptop installed with all the software that I was going to work on and also the apps that they use for meetings like WebEx and Jabber. They also taught me how to use them.
GT: In what way do you think the college environment is different from work?
Swetha: In college, it’s all about strengthening your basics, learning from a theoretical point of view. But in work, you can actually put the things that you have learnt in your course to practical use. So, you get a hang of what you have learnt and somehow, you’ll recognise that what we studied starts to make sense!
GT: Are there any interesting or amusing incidents you’d like to share?
Swetha: Their meetings are great fun to attend. They talk about video games, what they cooked or ate, apart from the subject. Once there was an employee who was presenting a topic for all the interns. His dog was in the same room, being as chaotically adorable as he could. So, he had to bring his dog and make him sit on his lap, and attend the session along with us. They keep things really light, so it is truly enjoyable.
GT: Did the company give you opportunities to maximise your knowledge and exposure in your field?
Swetha: Yes, apart from the project that was given to me, there have been weekly sessions that I had to attend along with the interns from Houston. So, various leaders from the civil engineering team would share their knowledge on the subject and we would also be given assignments on the information that they would give us. We have been divided into groups so that we would work on it together and finally, would present it on alternate weeks.
GT: Did you find any difference in technical and professional knowledge to work along with interns from Houston?
Swetha: Technically, I did not find any difference but there are certain things that we follow like Indians standards whereas they follow American codes and also the metric system. We learn a set of software according to our curriculum. These are the few changes that I found but none apart from that.
GT: How was your interaction with the staff?
Swetha: They’ve been very helpful and supportive. They always make sure that we understand what we are doing. Even if bombarded with questions, they will always clarify your queries.
GT: How did this internship enhance your career goals?
Swetha: Many industries have various career opportunities that you can choose from and you generally tend to get confused with what option you should opt for. But this internship has given me a clear idea of what I am actually good at, to have a good career.
GT: Based on your experience, how do you think one can derive maximum benefits from an internship?
Swetha: I think internships are a great platform to gain hands-on experience and build your skillset. They also improve your technical knowledge in the field you are interested in. It can also help you in learning how to conduct yourself formally and improving communication skills.
GT: So, what advice do you have for your juniors?
Swetha: If you get opportunities, you should try to make the best use of it. Your profile is very important, and courses or internships will help you in adding great value to your resume.
GT: What do you think about the Intern Diaries?
Swetha: I think it’s a great initiative. I hope it’ll be of any use to juniors. A lot of hard work goes behind it like talking to people, approaching and coordinating with them. I think you guys are doing a great job!
The Guindy Times thanks Swetha Gummalla for spending her valuable time with us and wishes her all the best for her future endeavors.