Internship: Larsen and Turbo
GT: Despite the countless architectural firms to choose from, why did you choose Larsen and Turbo, a corporate firm, for your internship?
Sriya: Well, I had two reasons. One was so that I could learn concepts other than just designing, like estimation and quantification. Another reason was to maintain a strict policy of working hours. In corporate firms like L&T, there are standard protocols and procedures where we as interns must report to our allotted guide. These numerous direct interactions with my guide have helped me work on the way I talk and how I represent myself.
GT: What did your selection process look like?
Sriya: L&T is made up of many departments. Some of which include hospitality, residence, public work, and factories. You need to know which department you want to apply to within the company, so you have to make sure your portfolio is aligned to the needs of the particular department you want to work under. If not, your portfolio can be generalized much like mine, and HR will decide on where to put you. After having a look at my portfolio, HR decided to place me in the public department, which I am happy about.
GT: What did you think of the workplace culture, and how did you adjust your interests to suit it?
Sriya: The choice is with us, we can either work long hours with lots of responsibility in smaller firms or do a limited amount of work which allows us to work until we perfect what we’re doing. In both these scenarios, the work experience is challenging, but ultimately it is your decision. Working as a freelancer, you'd have minimal restrictions and or a fixed time frame. Working in an architectural firm, you'd have to take up a lot of responsibility, and have a shorter time frame. In an MNC, we are assigned to a department, and the work we do here would be done with lots of detail.
So, an intern would have to compare all these factors and decide. You can do an offline internship beforehand if you wish to do so; however, it is not necessary. Instead, you can use the time to explore various fields.
GT: How was your internship experience overall?
Sriya: I knew what I was getting into and knew I wouldn't have a lot of designing opportunities. A few of my seniors were working at L&T. From what I’ve heard from them, their guide was decent, however, my guide was more strict and stern. The work culture was a little different from what I was told. It wasn't as easy as I expected it to be; it was rather challenging.
GT: What advice would you give to your juniors?
Sriya: Always research the company you want to work under. If you're going to work for vernacular architecture, make sure your portfolio reflects the same. I would suggest not taking everything your seniors say to heart. Experiences may vary depending on the firm they work at. The more open-minded you are, the better the experience will be. Prepare yourself mentally and physically, and most importantly be humble.
GT: What is your opinion on the Intern Diaries series?
Sriya: I believe this is a great initiative for bringing awareness to how different companies treat architecture. It's an opportunity that lets juniors prepare themselves mentally. This platform also gives us a chance to read about internship experiences in various fields. I am thrilled that this idea was put forth.
GT wishes Sriya all the best for her future endeavours and thanks her for sharing her experience with us!