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The why of it all (Internship for students of planning)

April 9, 2013

The Faculty of Planning Summer Internship Committee is out on streets.

Out with a fancy booklet with mostly irrelevant photos and even fancier designations printed at the back.

The students, some smart and some not, are looking to spend their time in offices and organisations learning something that’ll help them in their next year of studies and prepare them for future. More like prepare their employers for what they’ll be looking at in a year or two.

How long is the internship?

Two months.

True, the internship idea itself was the child of necessity, how else to make a 1.5 year course 2 years long?

Divide the extra 6 months in two: extend the thesis duration, and send the students out for some months.

Well, that was when the course became a degree.


Coming back to internship:

Where could a post graduate student spend her/ his time fruitfully with their employer also gaining from their energy and enthusiasm?

Generally speaking, in short range research, documentation and conceptualising projects with clear strategy and where their work is well defined – where someone has time and leisure to cut it to measure, and monitor. The pace is slower. And either where bulk of the work is done by others, or similar roles already exist in bulk… A place where an inexperienced person coming in is not such a novelty, and a trained person leaving is not such a problem.

This is the opposite of what most private consultancies are. This is the reason so many of them will turn them down, not explaining why. Also, many students who do end up in one of these high paced and demanding places are going to be used as fodder, being shunted about, sort of wasting their time, and sort of the other party’s as well. Too much to learn, and no one with the time to teach it. Sadly, this is a pre-curser to what they’ll face when they land their first job. Not enough skills, no patience to acquire it. Both sides lack latitude – One side wants quick money, the other, quick work. Believe me, market is replete with employers disillusioned. Post graduates with a bright future, but many of them will be disoriented if they pick out a wrong place because of ignorance, outward glamour or lured by higher pay.

And there’s no-one to tell them this. Partly because those who are supposed to be doing these things are themselves turning into those hurried practices.

More on that another time.

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