MNC summer internships


Adding fuel to the start-up versus Multi-national Corporation (MNC) debate, we discuss the pros and cons that both the entities have on offer for college interns.

“IIM Lucknow has a median salary of X INR!” 

“Great, but IIM Calcutta recorded (X+Y) INR last year.” 

“That’s nothing, FMS (Faculty of Management Studies) Delhi went all the way to (X+Y+Z) INR this placement season.”

More often than not, most of us have had similar conversations, which perfectly encapsulate the current rat-race involving institutions, companies and jobs in the country.

With the increasing number of access points of good quality higher education in the country, coupled with innovative methods of teaching going far beyond the pages of the academic curriculum, the past two decades have witnessed an enormous rise in competition among graduates and post graduates for jobs, both in the private and the public sector. 

This cut-throat competition necessitates the need for job applicants to stand out from the crowd if they wish to get a decent working position in a – preferably creamy layer – company, which means they need to stack up their curriculum vitae, or resume, the most prominent catalyst instrumental in landing them their dream job in their dream company, the importance for which was aptly described by writer Mokokoma Mokhonoana as, “Give a typical employee a million and he is most likely to use the money to print his CV on fancier paper”.

An ideal Curriculum Vitae (CV) of a fresh graduate or post-graduate contains, apart from academic and extra-curricular achievements, a list of organisations or companies where he/she spent time attempting to learn the particular trade, or in other words, worked as an intern. This list of internships gives the prospective employer examining the CV a fair idea of the applicant’s capability and area of expertise, and also a stamp of validation. “Sometimes your marks might not be able to land you a seat in a prestigious university abroad, or a prestigious company, but the right amount of internships at the right places surely can,” said a University of Delhi, Professor, on the condition of anonymity.

One’s CV undoubtedly holds a huge stake and influence in one’s future, and thus, an undergraduate student needs to take calculated decisions while choosing one’s preferred places of internship. With the country riding on a remarkable rise of economic and industrial growth, numerous successful start-ups have popped up, while already existing corporate firms have registered gains. A huge dilemma which students, mostly freshers, face, is making the choice between interning at a growing start-up or interning at an established multinational corporate. Both entities have certain distinct characteristics which might be a stimulant for some, and a deterrent for others.

Writing for Business World, Pulkit Jain describes start-ups as comprising of “casual wear, no-formalities-involved-group-discussions , no fixed working hours, fresh and flexible” while for MNCs he writes “formal wear, sophisticated meetings, nine to five on the dot working hours, prim and proper,” thus driving home the significant gulf between the work atmosphere and living spaces of both entities.

To the inquisitive and innovative intern with an entrepreneurial bent of mind, the flexible and out-of-the-box attitude of the start-up would be more appealing – though opining that MNCs do not receive such types of interns at all, would be a wrong assumption to make. Working at a start-up also allows for more widespread exposure to the corporate space and atmosphere for a new entrant, due to the relative absence of an in-built hierarchy. The intern will get to juggle a wider variety of roles, sometimes even highly critical ones, as opposed to the MNCs which mostly have a distinct horizontal separation of numerous departments and a distinct vertical hierarchy, and thus will offer a distinct and smaller role. 

But a valuable point to be noted is that working in a smaller role will allow for far more specialisation in that particular area of expertise and shall allow the entrant to perform well in similar roles in the future. A significant number of people would prefer to learn specific skills in depth, with a security net, one at a time, instead of trying to juggle and gain experience in multiple areas of expertise at once, though conversely the latter would have a considerable amount of takers too.

One area in which the MNC has sole bragging rights over the start-up is brand name and recognition – not taking into consideration extremely successful unicorn start-ups like Flipkart, Swiggy, Byju’s etc. While the start-up might provide an intern with an unorthodox set of ideas and new working styles, something which the MNC will not, it cannot be denied that work or internship experience at a well-established conglomerate, say Goldman Sachs, or Deloitte, weighs far heavier than one at a start-up, on a CV, and might turn out to be a clinical deal clincher when the candidate applies for a full-time job in the future. In fact, interning at such a place also increases the chance of the candidate being offered a job at the same company after his/her graduation.

A start-up allows more freedom in terms of expression of ideas, as opposed to the largely orthodox and time-tested work methods applied in the conglomerate structure. Thus, the risk factor in MNCs is low while its significantly high in start-ups. Outcomes are extreme in the start-up world, and a large proportion of them fail in the initial stages itself. Out of the small proportion which do manage to stay afloat, an ever smaller proportion is ultimately able to rise to sub-unicorn and unicorn levels, albeit in a short time. This can be beneficial for interns and new entrants who were a part of the start-up in the initial stages, who might get top designations in a very short while. On the other hand, in MNCs, the rise to the top of the company takes several years.

Every college student has different ambitions and attitudes, some are ready to take risks, some want a secure future, some wish to build their own company, some wish to work in their dream company. Interning at a conglomerate and at a start-up nurture these different paths for them. Japneet Singh, a Computer Science undergraduate at IIT Delhi, opines, “It’s not right or wrong to choose a particular option between the two, both offer valuable learning experiences and I think one should make the choice based on one’s needs and ambitions”.

Featured Image Credits: Analytics India Magazine

Araba Kongbam

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Having completed an entire month in office, if I were given a choice again, chances are I might never choose to do an internship at all. In hindsight, whilst doing an internship is sometimes enriching and enlightening, not doing an internship also has its merits. Yes, internships are a part of your college experience, but not doing one doesn’t mean you haven’t lived your college life well. Yes, doing an internship is a good way of having a productive summer, but not having one is not the end of the world. So, here we are bursting the bubble, and breaking the myths.


  1. Internships are overhyped


    Contrary to popular belief, not getting an internship is NOT the end of your career. If you haven’t applied for an internship at some big ass corporate house, you will not end up living in your parent’s house forever. There are a bunch of other ways to kickstart your career. I am, in no manner implying that internships are completely futile. But they are not the only avenue for you to build your resumes or pick up skills and learnings. Don’t just do what everyone else is doing. If you utilise your summer well, you can work on defining your personal brand effectively too!


  2. Internships won’t solve the perpetual existential crisis


    There are other, far simpler ways to discover your potential and work on your skills. You could translate a new interest into a hobby, or take up some projects to hone your existing skills. You can enrol in an online course, or take up some research work based on your educational background.So stop panicking, or wallowing in jealousy. Just breathe.


  3. Internships might be a costly affair

    Keeping aside the fact that most of the internships available are unpaid, most paid internships too are a farce and often a trap. In case of unpaid internships, you need to finance your commute, eating expenses, inter alia. In case of paid internships, while the stipend will only barely cover your travel and lunch expenses, it might not necessarily bring life back to your wallet. And then there are internships for which students have to pay to intern with a company. Now that is another issue altogether.Hence, it becomes extremely difficult for an outstation student, particularly, to do an internship. If however, you do decide to take one up, be mindful of the return on your investment.


  4. It gets tiring


    With 12 hour days everyday, I am not just I’ll-take-a-nap-and-be-okay-in-the-morning tired, I am more like I-need-to-sleep-for-an-entire-month tired. How I wish to sneak away each weekend to recharge my batteries. Overtime, what I have realised is that I would have liked travelling uninterrupted for an entire month more than spending most of my days in office. Taking care of those pangs of wanderlust is a whole lot easier during the break than during college days. Plus, when you travel you’ll always have a cooler story to tell later on!


College offers an interesting proposition of permutations and combinations of fun and learning, and sometimes you really ought to choose well. My internship has taught me a lot of things, of which the most important lesson is: If I hadn’t taken this internship; I would have been just fine.


Image Credits: giphy.com

Surbhi Arora

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