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Internship Experience | Luv Sehgal | Midwest High Speed Rail Association, USA | Technical internship

Today we have an experience shared by Luv who is currently doing MS in United States and had done his B.Tech from NIT Hamirpur. He talks about how it is networking along with your qualifications that help you get internships in the United States.

InterFeel (IF): Please tell us something about yourself. Where are you studying currently? What are your hobbies and interests?

Luv Sehgal (LS): I am a graduate research assistant with University of Illinois Urbana Champaign. My field of specialization is high speed trains. I am into second year of my masters. It has been ranked the best civil engineering university in world in latest US news rankings 2016

IF: Tell us something about your internship including stipend, duration and place?

LS: My internship was with Midwest High Speed Rail Association, Chicago, USA

Duration of the internship – 3 months (May to August 2016)
Stipend – Varies from voluntary to $2000 per month, mine was paid

InterFeel (IF): Please tell us something about yourself. Where are you studying currently? What are your hobbies and interests?

Luv Sehgal (LS): I am a graduate research assistant with University of Illinois Urbana Champaign. My field of specialization is high speed trains. I am into second year of my masters. It has been ranked the best civil engineering university in world in latest US news rankings 2016

IF: How competitive was the selection process? According to you, which qualities have helped you have an edge in the selection process? Also, what were the key things that selectors were looking for?

LS: It is a very different scenario here in USA. Everything depends upon your networking skills, apart from your experience and qualifications. It really depends how you sell yourself to the recruiters. In my case I was delivering a presentation at a conference, there I met the president of the company and I was offered an internship there. I had met him once before. It really depends how you interact with people and how you make a mark, apart from technical abilities. They look for technically skilled, social/ outgoing person.

IF: Could you please highlight the work/research you carried out during your internship period?

LS: My internship involved upgradation of existing assets for high speed trains in Midwest area around Chicago, capacity improvement studies within Chicago, scheduling of trains, preparing rough estimates.

IF: Can you give us interesting details about your experience – good and bad?

LS: It was a chance to explore the public transportation system of the busiest city of the world, plus the office was in Chicago downtown area, which as always a magnificent and mesmerizing.

IF: How do you think this internship has helped you grow? In other words, what are your key takeaways from the internship?

LS: I was the only engineer there, it is basically an advocacy firm for high speed train, it was like leading the engineering team. It made me self-reliant. I am still in touch with them and doing their work voluntarily.

IF: Has this internship had a decision altering impact on your career? Do you now think of a different future path as compared to before doing the internship?

LS: Hopefully yes. In career fair (unlike campus recruitment in India), it gives me an edge and a chance to express myself more. Recruiters weigh experience gained in USA more as compared to Indian experience, that’s what I feel.

IF: Lastly, do you have any words of advice or caution for students aspiring for this internship and reading this piece?

LS: Finding job in civil engineering (even mechanical electrical, aerospace, etc.) stream may seem to be very difficult because of sponsorship issues and recruitment process. Nevertheless, it is much more rewarding, you actually learn a lot and you are a changed person. Almost most of my seniors have got jobs, which is a ray of hope for international students doing MS in core branches.

Internship with DMRC at Jaipur Metro Rail Project by Luv Sehgal

IF: Please tell us about yourself. What makes you different?

Luv: I am a civil engineer from a family of civil engineers. I have always been fascinated by civil engineering works, specially railway infrastructure. Being from a railway family, I always wanted to learn about different railway systems and particularly metro systems. I can rightly be called a rail enthusiast.

IF: Which internship you got the chance to take? What is it all about? Stipend, duration and place?

Luv: I was an intern with DMRC at Jaipur metro Rail project. It was all about observing construction methodology and technology, also learning designing of bridges/aqueducts. Few students only 5 out of 30 got stipend that too based on past performance/ CV. It was from 1 May 2011 to 15 July 2011.

IF: How you came to know about the internship? To what all sources you kept yourself connected?

Luv: I read an article in newspaper that Govt of Rajasthan has directed DMRC to give summer training and hire interns. After reading that article I and my friends wrote a letter through our TPO, to HR Dept. DMRC, regarding internship, in Oct 2010. We got the call letter in January 2011. 2 students from NIT Hamirpur including me were selected.

IF:Tell us on the procedure to apply for the internship. Who all are eligible to apply for this internship?

Luv: After reading the Article in newspaper, we sent a letter to HR Dept of DMRC through our Training and placement Officer (TPO). As such they decided solely based on our CVs and academic performance at college.

IF: Let’s talk about how competitive is the selection process.

What qualities of yours, you believe helped you in having an edge over the selection process? What key things you feel were looked for by the selectors?

Luv: It was the strong cover letter written by me (like an SOP) indicating strong desire for Internship specially in transport infrastructure project like metro systems plus Good academic record, consistent cgpi (always >8). Strong letter by TPO must have helped in selection.

IF: About when you got the news for the selection? How was the celebration?

Luv: I applied in October 2010, and results were out in January 2011. Me and my friend, both were extremely delighted as we both were from Jaipur and our project was Jaipur metro Rail project and it was a matter of pride for both of us.

IF: What all preparations you did after the results in view of the internship?

Luv:I read books on bridge engineering. Read many codes like IS 456:2000, IRC 5,6,21.

IF: Please tell us with what work/research project you carried out during the internship period? It’s application in near future and your work in it?

Luv: I was initially involved in observing construction methodolgy for pile foundations, pile cap, pier and pier cap, metro stations, construction of segments at Casting yard, Batching plant. Later I was deployed with the design cell where I learnt staad pro software and basic design procedure for bridges. It was extremely useful as bridge engineering forms a basis for my job, in designing of aqueducts.

IF: What was the best thing about the work culture and the internship? What all things you liked there?

Luv: I specifically liked working with design cell. People were cordial and I got a chance to learn staadpro software. Site experience was great as we were working with the only metro system that carried a flyover and metro on a single pier for a particular portion. It was also an opportunity to learn the construction technology for underground, on ground and elevated corridors simultaneously.

IF: Were there any special events during the internships?

Luv: As such there were no formal social events. Only eventful days during internship were the days we saw massive structures being pulled and placed in ground like massive diaphgram walls, i.e. at construction site of underground system. Also the day when we completed a bridge deign and it got approved, was indeed an eventful day for me.

IF: What was the guidance provided by your guide/mentor? What all support you received from administration at the intern place?

Luv: My guide Mr Anurag Mishra from meridian design consultants was very understanding in explaining various design methodologies. Even the administration was helpful in deploying me at various sites where different works were in progress.

IF: Let’s now talk about some negatives.

What problems you or your friends faced, regards to the internship, which your juniors may be able to avoid?

Luv: I don’t think there was any problem before joining, rather they are felxible in adjusting internship dates as per summer vacations. There were 5-6 girls and they were grouped togather. Food and accommodation may be a problem as one is supposed to be deployed at all the different sites
situated at different corners of the city. Commuting to sites may be a problem.

IF: Anything you would like to tell us please. Feel free to share any interesting thing that happened.

Luv: It depends on you how you want to proceed, you may continue with site or you may continue with design cell, you just need to inform the administration about it. I prolonged my training with design cell foe total of 5 weeks.

IF: Was this your first internship / training? 

No, second.

IF: To which all people you would, like to thank in context of this internship?

Luv: I want to thank my mentor Mr Anurag Mishra who had the patience and perseverence to teach us designing. The administration to help us fabricate our training as we want.

IF: How much difference this internship period has made in your intellectual capabilities and mindset. In broad terms what are your gains from this?

Luv: This was actually my first experience at site. I learnt how important it is to ensure safety, quality and environment friendly techniques. This was my first major experience with actual design of massive structures.

IF: Advice for juniors? Which can help them in getting internships in their future college life and also advice for making the best out of it.

Luv: Keep vigilant about openings. Apply on time. Keep documents like CV, Letter from TPO ready.

IF: What are your future plans after this internship and how much impact this internship will have on it?

Luv: I am currently working with WAPCOS Ltd. (Govt of ndia undertaking), and my experience with handling concrete with DMRC is still helping me in construction supervision project.

IF: Any views about this initiative of InternFeel, and how beneficial it would be? Any suggestions for improvement?

Luv: T his a great step by InternFeel. It will surely help students. Keep it up.

IF: It was so nice to know all about this. We agree you would have been busy with your academics. Even then you took out time for this. We thank you and wish you best of luck for all your future endeavors.

Luv: Thanks a lot, it was my pleasure.

Have you done internship / training? Please Share your experience . It won’t take more than an hour but will help 1000s!