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An integral part of being a student in today’s world is doing internships. And an integral platform for securing internships is Internshala. But it doesn’t help much when such the integral platform is a hypocrite.
Run! Keep on running. Don’t stop. They will trample you if you stop. Just for two more years.
This is the stuff of nightmares of most college-going students – the stuff of daydreams as well if you think about it. But I am not here to write an extended tome on the Indian education system that shockingly seems to revolve around marks. But I am rather here to talk about my personal opinion of a growing aspect of education i.e. internships, and a company dominating that field i.e Internshala.
There would be an ‘infinitesimally’ small amount of students who wouldn’t know of Internshala, but for those students – Internshala is a web platform that connects students and companies for internships. Let’s see what the company’s got to say for itself:
Internshala is India’s no.1 internship and training platform with 40000+ paid internships in Engineering, MBA, media, law, arts, and other streams.
With no real competitor other than LinkedIn, the company has a tacit dominance in the internship market. And what does that domination translate to? Or stem from? Well, I would say it’s the student-centric policies of Internshala. Here’s what the terms and conditions look like:
- No unpaid internships are allowed unless the company’s an NGO.
- The minimum stipend to be offered is ?1000.
- Companies cannot demand any security deposits in lieu of their internships, nor can they demand any money for ‘training’ before their internships.
- Any job involving alcohol, smoking and the likes is prohibited.
- Third-party recruiting is prohibited.
- It has an inbuilt chat feature to talk to recruiters so as to clear any doubts they have before accepting the offer.
Sounds good right?
Well, not really. The execution sucks! I have applied for a gazillion internships, got selected in a few and 90% of them took the conversation outside the ‘chat’ feature of Internshala almost immediately. So, the whole point of protecting the ‘privacy’ of students doesn’t work. Though it provides a warning that the conversation is going outside the chat, the students have very little control over it. If they say they want to stick to Internshala chat and are not comfortable going outside, they can as well kiss their internships goodbye. Then, there’s still some noise of ‘Internshala scams’ being run, though their legitimacy can be questioned. And some companies, despite posting some stipend, give unpaid internships while sharing offer letters with the candidates. Doesn’t sound so good right?
Is this why I am calling Internshala a hypocrite? Not quite. I know it’s difficult for companies to ensure adherence to their protocols and some drastic measure in that regard might cost them revenue. No, I’m calling them hypocrites because Internshala proscribes all Network-Level Marketing internships.
So, what’s network-level marketing? The company website gives us this –
“Network Level Marketing (NLM) jobs/internships where applicants/individuals have to use their personal connections and personal social media accounts to promote a business.”
And then Internshala has their grand ISP. Yeah, that’s why I call them hypocrites.
The almost hallmark program of Internshala – the ISP or Internshala Student Partner programme. What’s that? Oh, it’s nothing but a pretentious name for a network marketing internship. But, again let’s see what the Internshala website says about it.
“Internshala Student Partner (ISP) is a 70-day transformational work-from-home program aimed at building the leaders of tomorrow.”
What else does Internshala say about it? First, no eligibility criteria. Any college student from any stream, year, blah blah… can apply. They can apply and they can a) learn, b) earn and c) grow. As a former ISP, I can honestly say that you can earn, but learn and grow? Meh, not so much. Yeah, I am a former ISP – embarrassingly so. Hey, but don’t blame me. I was young, naïve, new to the internship scene… and I fell into the trap with the hope that I could actually do something. Silly me!
Now let me finally get to why exactly is Internshala a hypocrite. It doesn’t allow network marketing internships (oh good for them). But their flagship ISP program’s objectives are – 1. Promote Internshala internships among your peers; 2. Help your peers learn new skills via Internshala training; 3. Train your peers to get an internship.
When I was an ISP, it was essentially a rat race of 10,000 “interns” who were “competing” against each other to see how much Internshala stuff they could sell to their friends and family. And based on that, they received certificates, T-shirts, iPhones and stuff. Yeah, we marketed it on our social media accounts which is a direct contradiction of the terms and rules of the company.
Now, why did I waste one-and-half hours of my time calling out Internshala? It’s the same reason why people write lamba-lamba posts on LinkedIn calling out companies for their wrongs. To make sure no one is misled into it like I was. I honestly thought that they would give us the platform and it would be up to us to market it. But to use our own platforms, it makes an uneven playing field and I don’t see the point of it all. A person with poor marketing skills but a lot of rich friends would obviously sell more. So, even a great marketer, if they had a peer circle of less privileged friends, wouldn’t be able to sell much. That’s why I say there’s only earning potential to this – no learning or growing. And don’t consider this the rant of one not-so-successful ISP. Here’s what another (‘successful’) ISP had to say about this:
“In the first level, I was told to promote Internshala and its internships among the people I know. And in the second level, I had to promote their training among my contacts. According to our performance, we used to get ISP points…And on the basis of those ISP points, we were given rewards. I had got bronze. Truth be said, I didn’t know it was gonna be like this when I applied for it… selection ho gya toh certificate ke liye kuch toh karna hi tha na (since I was selected, I had to do this to get a certificate).
So, Internshala… hypocrisy much?
Featured Image Credits: Quora
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