June 14, 2014

The option of Design Internship

should I take a drop or should I join a job?

Your college days are almost over and you step out into the real world. You see a big and high signboard staring in front of you. Options of MBA, M.Tech, MS, M.Des tug at your desire to go back to college while a lucrative job shines her gold at you. So what’s it going to be?

If you are preparing for competitive exam, you may need time. For this many students choose the option of dropping a year, staying at home and preparing full time. Such students definitely do have a plenty of time to go through each and every detail, an advantage which the working professionals lose out upon.  The next question that comes up in your mind is, should I take a drop or should I join a job?

You see, there are many factors in deciding whether to take a drop or to join a company. These factors are: what liabilities you have at home, do you need to earn money, need to settle down quickly, etc.  If you take up a job, you wont get lots of time to prepare and if you take drop this year for preparations, you will lose time. Typically in IIT interviews, the people with exposure to design are seen to fare better than the students who don’t. So my suggestion is that have best of both worlds. Join internship in a design company. This way, you will have exposure to design field, which will be counted during your selection interviews, and you will get time to prepare for CEED and NID. Many of these internships are not paid, a relatively small price to pay for the time and experience you get.

How to get an internship position

Points to be noted:

Remember not all company offers internship positions all the time. Sometimes, if you have a friend in an organization that you are interested in, I would advise you to approach him/her and ask him/her to recommend you for an internship in that organization. If your friend is able to convince the right people in that organization, they might create an opening for you!
                I would suggest that you should apply to studios or a company that deals in FMCG. This is because these companies have a short product lifecycle. Simply put, they roll out a product typically in about 6 to 10 months’ time. This means that your short stint at such organizations guarantee that you will have a substantial material for the portfolio and interview at D-schools.
Another approach, which is a bit trickier but often seems to work is, study the business of the company you are interested in and then offer them some improvement. Like I said, this approach is trickier because, first, you will need to know the right person to pitch your idea to, and, second, the chances that your idea will be shot down are quite high. So do your homework thoroughly before you go on pitching your brain.
NGOs and non-profits make a lucrative bet too. They are always looking for more helping hand and you will probably be doing some meaningful work. Just be careful to double check if the job is really needs you to design something and not just social service.
Most design companies don’t really know how good you are, so you should approach them with your work samples and a portfolio that demonstrates what you are capable of. If nothing, it will give them an idea on how to use your skills.
Finally, most design internships are not paid and if at all they are paid, the pay is poor. Still don’t give up on the face of the situation; you can try to negotiate for a payment and other facilities like canteen and travel. Even if you don’t get paid, keep this in mind that you are applying for internship in order to gain the experience and time to prepare for the exam you are planning to appear for.

Steps to apply for internship

- Ask your friends if they know anyone in the organizations that interest you. If there is someone, then you need not read any further and start talking to your mutual friend. if not then read ahead.
- Go to this page and choose the industry that you find suitable 
- Go to their webpage and figure out what they might be looking for in their intern. If you are going to follow the idea-pitching method then you should spend lots of time trying to understand the basics of their business
- After understanding what the company wants, prepare a decent portfolio. This portfolio should be made on similar lines as described in this post. Be sure that you compress the portfolio in a PDF not more than 5 Mb in size. This is because most companies have an upper limit on the mail size. 
- Now you have the necessary things to send out your first mail. Find the contact page and send out the mail stating who you are, what you wish to do and why they should take you as an intern.
- Once they call you for a talk, book the appointment with the people at the organization, go to the work place in full formal clothes and present your works. Don’t forget to negotiate for the goodies! :)
- And hopefully they will see that you might turn out to be low-investment-high-turnout asset for them!

All the best interning before clearing CEED or NID. You will have a solid work experience to present in the interview!


Rudrani S said...

really helpful stuff sir , n design internships will not only boost our cv and give plethora of experience but it will give us the attitude and confidence to face interviews in D-schools. Thankyou sir and keep guiding us :)

Chetan Yadav said...

and uploading portfolio on various portfolio webpages helps too. I had got two job offers through Coroflot, one was like freelancing and other an interview call :) This gives confidence that one is doing great!

Rohan said...
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Rohan said...

Thanks for this amazing post....!

Vivek Aryan said...

I am a fresher, and i got selected for IIT Guwahati yesterday. Before that me too was thinking the same. But after having the interview i don't think design background or exposure to design field matters that much. My background is mechanical engineering and being a fresher, i did not have enough time to make a high profile portfolio. My portfolio contained only 5 products, 15 pages, all pencil sketches. For interview at Kanpur, i did not even have a portfolio. The thing is that the idea should be authentic, and you have to be very articulate about its description. I know that knowing nothing about design, i will be an underdog in midst of my batchmates most of whom belong to NID, NIFT, Arch and have work ex....and i will have to struggle to be at par with them. But then, what's life without some struggle after all !

Prasanna Gadkari (M.Des in Product Design from I.I.Sc. ) said...

Hi Vivek,
Thanks for sharing your opinion. Your skills must be high enough to differentiate you from the crowd and even what you describe as a humble portfolio must be really outstanding and you must have been able to present it well. However, every person may not posses these kinds of skills. This is where exposure to design comes into play. The experience may not be directly counted in the interviews, but it gives the candidates a confidence to use the language that designers use as well as gives some live material to put in the portfolio.

You can share your success story on TeaCupBlog, your opinions and stories will help the generations to come :)

You can mail me the story anytime

All the best with your career

Vivek Aryan said...

Sure sir...we all owe to you in one way or other...and you know this whole area a lot better than us.
Will mail the story as soon as I reach home....it may help people like me who could not score good rank in ceed, or are not that peroficiebt in sketching and such things..

Prasanna Gadkari (M.Des in Product Design from I.I.Sc. ) said...

Hello Vivek
Thank for saying so, but I am also learning, and every success story is unique. Take your time to write it. It will benefit many batches :)

samridhi pandey said...
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samridhi pandey said...

I decided to switch from my engineering field to design and pursue M.des just last year and this option of design internship has been plaguing me for a while.Unfortunately my lack of experience in this field has prevented me from seriously applying for the positions and now I feel I don't have enough time if I want to seriously prepare for the design entrance exams. This article helps me in understanding my choices. Thanks a lot:)

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