There are multiple reasons why an individual would want to pursue a Masters degree post a Bachelors. While there are some who wish to gain specialized knowledge in a particular field or domain, others are looking for an upgrade in their professional lives, which implies senior positions or a salary raise or both. Apart from these reasons, there’s also a section of students who see a Masters as a rung in the ladder leading up to a PhD followed by a career in research or academia. The existent system at IIT Bombay seems far too insistent on the research aspect of a Masters. It does little to cater to students who join IIT Bombay with the intention of getting into the industry and adding to their industry-relevant skill set. One of the major experiences that MTech folks at IIT Bombay miss out on, is that of an internship.
An internship gives the students a chance to get an experience of what it is like to work in the industry. It helps them make a better decision at the end of their program as to what suits them and their skillset better. Industries today are focused a lot more on soft skills and ‘company-fit’-ness. These aren’t developed in a classroom or a lab and require on ground work with proper guidance.
Problems With the Existing System
The current system lacks a dedicated team and a well structured policy catering to the internships for MTechs. In most cases, the MTech students have to find internships on their own, increasing the required efforts manifold. In addition to this, the MTech curriculum, in the current state, is not really suited for internships and thus needs more flexibility. The time table and curriculum are such that they allow for a very brief or no summer break, thus making it even more difficult to carry out the internship. Students are usually willing to take the internships as their MTech projects in their area of specialisation and under the MTech guide. But mostly it’s really hard to find a guide for the desired project thus impeding the practical training for them. Explicitly, the core engineering sector has got very limited opportunities and hunting for them just makes the process even more straining. MTech projects, by their very nature, can’t be finished in two months, unlike the case for the UGs, thus making it difficult for students to take them up as a two months internship. Hence, keeping this in mind, the internship opportunities which can be taken up as the MTech project boils down to a very narrow range. Organisations, such as DRDO, usually have opportunities for internships spread over a duration of roughly one year. So to search for similar other industries and organisations, extensive opportunity mining has to be done, pressing for the need of having a dedicated and organised structure within the PT cell. Furthermore, many a times the professors are usually working on projects involving direct industrial collaboration. They can also be approached for internship opportunities.
Scope for Improvement
What we need at this point is a major revamp in the internship process along with the course structure. The PT Cell needs to be more proactive while contacting companies to open up for PG students. All departments need to have dedicated PG representatives in the PT Cell so as to maximize core opportunities for the students. The PT Cell in itself needs greater representation from the PG students community, not just for internships, but for placements too. On the academic front, changes are required. The MTP needs to be restructured so that students can find at least 8-10 weeks to complete an internship. More collaborations between departments, professors and the industry can lead to more internship opportunities. Professors should be encouraged to integrate industry training/internship as a part of the MTP, by involving students on their ongoing industry projects.
To sum up, significant changes are required in the existing system. With the recent announcement regarding revamping of the PT Cell, one can only hope that the new model shall benefit everyone and be more aligned with the industry requirements.