studies have consistently shown in the last few years that the sheer value of summer
internships in an undergraduate’s career — both from the student’s personal growth
perspective and the industry perspective — is immense. This is especially true for an
environment like IIT wherein we are exposed to a gamut of options. The options available
to a student have never been this varied and confusing. In such a scenario, an internship
is invaluable in helping students explore their interests and aids the transition between
theoretical knowledge and industry experience. It exposes students to real industry
expectations and helps him form opinions about various career options. Imperative
soft skills such as work ethics, teamwork, interpersonal skills are honed. Working in a
company and meeting deadlines with limited resources inculcates a sense of responsibility.
Successfully completing your internship leaves you with a sense of accomplishment and in
rare cases, with a Pre-Placement Offer (PPO)
Previously internships/ industry experience was mandatory in IIT-B. This system
was revamped in 2009 with internships being omitted from the curriculum. This was
accompanied by the formation of the PT cell under the GSAA, which today is instrumental
in securing some of the best internships for 3rd year undergraduates. Considering how
valuable these internships are during placements, a disparity among students has the
potential to snowball into widespread discontent.
What’s the problem?
Every year, hundreds of students register for the PT cell in the hopes of securing a coveted
internship. Presently, the PT cell caters mainly to 3rd year UGs.
As the accompanying stats clearly show, most companies that come to campus for
internships do not open for 3rd year dual degree students. This is because they prefer ‘pre-
final year’ students whom they can subsequently offer pre-placement offers (PPOs) to,
and since 3rdDDs aren’t in their ‘prefinal’ year, they are not eligible. This means that
while B.Techs get a chance to have a go at the whole pie, DDs are left with very limited
opportunities which they still have to share with B.Techs. A staggering 63% of companies
open solely for B.Techs, and it is left to DDs to fight it out with B.Techs for the remaining
Also, comparing success ratios for DDs vs. B.Techs, we see that the conversion rate in
B.Techs is 61%, while for DDs it is lesser at 51%. This may be attributed to the above fact,
that opportunities for an average DD are much lesser than those for an average B.Tech.
Since Dual Degree students form a sizeable chunk of the undergraduate population, many
students are left to literally fend for themselves. Scouting for an internship on your own is
an art in itself – mailing, cold-calling, canvassing family and friends’ networks and above
all-lots of luck. Even those who do manage to secure an internship – they usually find
themselves stuck in sub-standard work-conditions and non-existent projects. This trend
has caused great discontent among the DD students, as they feel virtually locked out of
several respectable companies that offer coveted internships, despite having comparable
The Problem Continues
These woes don’t end however, when Dual Degree students do finally become pre-final
year students in their 4th year and hence eligible for the internships that they missed out
on the previous year, the PT cell doesn’t allow them to register. The main reason for this is
that the summer of the DD 4thyear is reserved for the Dual Degree Project.
DDs still stand a small chance of doing an internship if his/her guide is willing to allow
it; that is on the back of the assumption that he/she has secured one on his own. Guides
prefer that students pursue an internship related to their dual degree project (if at all).
Even if your DDP guide permits you to take up the internship, it doesn’t necessarily imply
that you will be allowed to pursue it. Internships related to the DD project will get an NOC
from the institute, but if the internship is unrelated to the project, then an NOC application
may be rejected. Moreover, DDP guides are decided late in the 7th semester, and in the 8th
semester for some departments, making it virtually impossible to get these permissions in
time to be able to apply to companies – via the PT cell or otherwise, as most companies are
done with their recruitment cycles for internships by then.
Last year, 4th year DD students were allowed to submit their resumes to the PT cell during
registration. But as they were unable to get permissions in time for PT cell registration, no
JAFs opened for them. This year once again, 4th year DDs have been kept out of the PT cell.
In summation, DDs are denied several PT cell internship opportunities for major
companies in their 3rdyear due to company policies and in the 4th year due to the
A rumour that made the rounds last year was that when the student body moved the
Senate to accommodate DD internships, it had rejected this motion. This is not entirely
true. Last year, the student body had planned to pursue the case of allowing internships
for fourth year DDs in the Senate (hence, fourth year DDs were preemptively told to
submit their resumes in case the motion was successful). But, the issue was not taken up
with the senate at that time because of the general opinion that more groundwork was
needed and professors’ and students’ expectations had to be aligned before putting it up for
deliberation. Hence there might still be some hope for DDs if viable solutions are presented
to the Senate.
We have tried to come out with 2 possible solutions:
Allocation of all DDP guides early in the 7th semester:
This would enable students to be able to plan out their DDPs well ahead in time,
understand their guide’s expectations and perhaps compensate for the time they would
lose in the summers due to an internship, by working on his/her DD Project beforehand.
This would also leave sufficient time to obtain an NOC and secure an internship via the PT
cell or otherwise.
According to the GSAA, Ramanjit Singh Anand, this is already being implemented this year
onwards – the institute plans to ensure the allotment of guides by the end of 7th semester
to give enough time for the DDP.
Splitting the DDP into more stages:
The DDP project could be made more flexible by breaking it into more number of stages
and allowing the students to complete one stage in the 8th semester itself without reducing
the effective number of months of the DDP. The students can then be officially allowed to
pursue any internship in the summer. This has a 2-fold advantage of possibly improving
DDP qualities via regular evaluation and greater accountability, and at the same time giving
DDs an opportunity to be a part of the PT cell just like their B.Tech counterparts albeit in
the 4th year.Multiple evaluations and gaps in the DDP may cause some problems, but if a
new structure is implemented that grants credits to the work done before summers, we
could end up with better quality projects.
Another solution worth exploring may be to have a blanket policy for all companies that
come via the PT Cell that forces them to open for both B.Techs and DDs in the 3rd year
itself. This may not be a viable solution as companies may simply refuse to follow these
terms and we may lose out on internship opportunities.
Having said all this, it is important for us to understand the institute’s perspective.
Although DDs and B.Techs both enter IIT via the JEE and are considered equal by the
larger student community, they are mutually independent in their core philosophies if
viewed from the Institute’s perspective- the institute perceives B.Techs as UG students
to be given freedom, but DDs as potential researchers. A recurrent theme during our
interaction with professors showed a general disappointment in the quality of DDPs by
students. The reduction in DDP credits was a result of this lack of quality of DDPs. However,
since the institute doesn’t see a DDP in the same light as a course, the usual course-credit
proportionality doesn’t exist for the DDP. As a result of this, even though the DDP credits
were reduced, the time period wasn’t. The internship is presently viewed by the institute as
an extra-curricular activity pursued in vacations – and not something to be accommodated
if it means compromising on academics.
This disparity in students’ and faculty’s expectations is slowly but surely leading to many
departments phasing out their DD programme, with Aerospace, Civil and Computer Science
departments leading the pack. More changes are expected after the DDP review being
conducted under the guidance of Prof. Nithyanand Prabhu is submitted.
This issue is a rather complex one, with many stakeholders – DD students, the PT cell, the
Institute and recruiting companies. Although, our analysis substantiates the perception
among DD students that they are bereft of equal opportunities and have been handed the
short end of the stick, finding a solution that satisfies all the stake holders is far from easy.
Perhaps that is the reason why a viable solution has not been found already. The solutions
that we have proposed may not be fool-proof but they can initiate discussion and dialogue,
which might go a long way in reconciling everyone’s expectations and enabling more
students to make the best of the Dual Degree Programme while at the same time providing
ASHISH RATHI, NIDHI SHANBHAG, ROHAN SABLAY, RUSHABH SHETH, SOURABH BISWAS