Gulfstream Aerospace – Ashwin Kanhere

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Ashwin Kanhere is a 3rd year Undergraduate pursuing a B.Tech. in Aerospace Engineering.

(I know Insight does this, but thought I’d add a little bit of me to it and save them the trouble of having to add the header, seeing that they’ve already done their share of work in reminding me time and again to write. Also, fair disclaimer. I haven’t written since forever. I used to be bad before. Now, I’m sure I’m the worst there possibly can be. Here goes nothing.)
The views expressed here are the author’s and are in no way a representative of how people at IITB really think. The author is quite stupid compared to them. But also very lucky, hence we’re here.
The views represented here are also not a representative of Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation, which was a fun company to work at and certainly knows its stuff.
‘You know nothing Jon Snow.’ Most of us must’ve seen the stunning Rose Leslie deliver this line on TV’s Game of Thrones. But have you ever stopped and wondered, ‘How much do I know?’ Don’t worry, I’ve done your work for you. You know nothing too. (Go ahead. Curse me for my ‘holier than thou’ attitude. Call me a pessimist. But it’s definitely true.)
Fair enough. You say. I might not know everything possible but I know something about my particular area of expertise. So, I don’t know nothing. (My English teachers, go ahead. Shoot me for using the double negative.) Even I used to think that, being an aerospace engineer in the making, I had a fair handle on how things were done. I have never been more wrong. (I might have been, but that doesn’t drive the point home with as much force does it?)
I was one of the fortunate two students from my batch to get an internship at Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation in Savannah, Georgia. And what I’ve seen here has changed my perspective of my professional life forever. (That is, until I’m hit really hard on the head and I forget everything I’ve seen upto that point.)
The very nature of the industry is such that I can’t give out any details about what I’m doing or how things are done at Gulfstream. However, I will try to share the broad aspects of how I got the internship and what working here has been like so far.
(Also, I am not using any of the other/old internship blogs as a guide to what I should do. (That’s a lie) So, expect this to be of a lower quality than usual. I mean, how much can an editor do after a point?)
(All of you who came here to read my horrible humour, time to go home.)

View of the New York skyline from Liberty Island.

How’d I get an intern here?

Gulfstream Aerospace is one of the only core Aerospace Engineering companies that comes to the PT cell and has been doing so for the past six years. It is a program unlike any other because of the unwavering effort put in by Ms. Gita Mirchandani of Gita PR, who coordinated with the Gulfstream leadership (as the upper management is called here) and the PT cell at IIT Bombay. The process takes a lot of time and begins with a resume submission on the portal in the autumn semester, following which, a telephonic interview is conducted in the Spring semester. The nature of the interview is mainly to get to know the candidate better and make sure that he’ll fit in with the group which has selected him. Confirmation was quick, and I found out that I was selected the evening of my interview.

Life in the US of A:

Unless you’ve been to the country before, it’s going to be a shock when you find yourself thousands of miles away from home and alone, truly alone for the first time. (I had visited the US before, but a parent supervised visit and living here on your own for two months are complete opposites of each other.)
It is very easy to become self-reliant in the US. That’s the way their economy is built. However, one thing that’s going to strike you the moment you reach is that getting around here is a problem. The South is spread out and very difficult to navigate without a car. (No. Walking and cycling here aren’t as easy as you think they are. The massive cars, high speeds and massive roads are a slight hiccup).
Your parents won’t have to worry about you getting enough to eat (as long as you’re being paid which you should be because the labour laws here are followed). What you should worry about is the fact that you’re going to have to clean up after yourself (lazy people like me hate this).
Working at Gulfstream is like working in any big company (so I gather from what I’ve heard). It has made me value human interaction and how important collaboration and proper communication are to having a successful professional life.

The Savannah Bananas baseball game. We had free food passes.

For the people amongst you who are interested in doing engineering in the future (if you’re not, don’t know why you’re reading this, but flattered) never forget the value of actual engineering. It actually drives a lot of design in ways you would not have expected. And it is not easy as you’d think it is.
And, if you’re lucky, you’ll get to see a Gulfstream being made. They’re sleek and a sight to behold. The fact that you can see what you’re working on sitting in the hangar in front of you is inspiration unlike any other.

Future Prospects?

That’s the thing about Gulfstream. They have a very diverse workforce with people from Brazil, India, Australia, UK and a host of other countries joining the indigenous workforce. Because of the fact that they have such a diverse workforce already, and also, I think, aided by the fact that they make civilian aircraft makes Gulfstream a very good place to start working. It gives you a good entry point into the industry. And even if you decide not to work in America, the Aerospace industry is up and coming in India and you could do with the experience.
The internship also gives you the opportunity to work in a real-life professional setting. Not one where you’re coddled because you’re an intern. You might not be given important or complicated stuff to do, but all of your colleagues will treat you like you’re an equal.
Trust me. There is nothing like this.
And for all the airheads out there, the fact that Savannah Hilton Head International Airport plays home to F-15s and C-130s which you can easily see flying from where you work is a fun advantage that keeps reminding you about the beauty of aerospace engineering.

Smithsonian Visitor’s and information Center

What else can I do other than work?

Gulfstream’s hours make it easy to do whatever you like doing in the evenings. While you might not have heard of Savannah, it’s a nice place that has a surprisingly large amount of history behind it. You will not regret a visit downtown.
Atlanta is close by, is a big town that has a host of attractions such as the Georgia Aquarium, World of Coke and Six Flags Over Georgia.
Since your pay is quite handsome, you need not be restricted to the state and you can even visit other cities in the US such as New York and Washington DC.
All in all, I have loved every single part of being at Gulfstream. The memories, experiences and friends that I’ve made will stay with me forever. (Or until I get bonked really hard on the head.)