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Summer internships: To log in or log out? 

Tasks on WhatsApp, virtual meetings and guidance... Online internships may be safer during a second Covid wave but students are worried about missing out on real-world experience

Published: 22nd March 2021 01:44 AM  |   Last Updated: 22nd March 2021 01:44 AM   |  A+A-

Oshin Shah, Pic| Meghana Sastry

Express News Service

BENGALURU : The fear of a second wave of Covid-19 has left everyone worried. With many colleges soon wrapping up their semester exams, students are left wondering how they will spend their summer holidays and whether an internship is possible or not. While online internships have gained popularity, it has garnered different responses. 

Oshin Shah, a second-year mass communication student, interned with an education management firm based in Noida. She started her internship in October 2020 but found it stressful, with limited social interaction. This month, Shah quit the internship. “I taught children English. However, I was spending a total of eight hours on screens for the internship and online classes,” says Shah,  who is now looking for offline opportunities instead. 

Some believe online internships will not support them in the long term. Jai Sham, a final-year mass communication student, is not even considering it because he believes ground work helps him network better and understand job dynamics. Others, however, have found the situation to benefit them. Roopashree BR, placement coordinator for NMKRV Degree College for Women, says, “Initially students found it difficult because online work requires more internet support than classes. However, they managed.” According to her, online internships in digital marketing, content writing and counselling internships were more in number.  

Lalitha Shree, who has been interning with a branding company for three months, says, “Working from home is serving its purpose. However, it does create a communication gap between the organisation and me. It has impacted my communication skills and I have become more of an introvert after spending time on screens,” she says. Dhanush MK, a second-year MBA student, who is keen to take up an internship in finance also believes online internships have one drawback: Communication. “Apart from this, an online internship in finance is manageable. Whether it is auditing or analysing stock market data, it requires appropriate software and trading platforms to manage the work online.”

Sarthak Baijal, CEO of a brand consultancy firm in Bengaluru, personally finds face-to-face interactions to enhance the performance. “However, the current situation is best aligned with online work. We have had interns for a year now and their performance has not been hit. But going forward, I would not recommend online internships as the only way,” he says. 

A similar thought is echoed by Prashant Pandey, country manager, Right Management India, which is a part of ManpowerGroup. The company is hiring 3-5 summer interns across offices at Bengaluru, Mumbai and Delhi. A blended approach, feels Pandey, is what will serve students and employers best. “Market research or desk analysis are possible online but in live client projects, in-person work experience works well,” he says. 

How it works
An online internship allows students to work from home and engage with the organisation virtually. Students are usually given their day-to-day tasks on WhatsApp or through official email IDs. 

The organisations often holds virtual meetings to instruct and guide the interns. The work format, however, varies from one organisation to another, considering the nature of the industry. 



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