WEBSITE Four IIT-ians have helped bridge the gap between internship seekers and employers through their website HelloIntern. SONAM JAIN
The difficulties faced in the elusive hunt for internships by the four students of IIT Mumbai — Abhishek Sharma, Jatin Jindal, Raviraj Jain and Snehal Nimje — turned out to be a blessing in disguise for thousands of those in a similar state.
“When we were in our second year, we had a very difficult time looking for an internship project. It struck us that if we, being from a premier institute like IIT Mumbai, were facing such problems, students elsewhere, especially in lesser known colleges must be facing similar, if not more problems. That is when we decided to come up with a portal like HelloIntern.com to address the internship needs of students,” says Snehal. They presented their idea in a couple of Business Plan Competitions. In the summer of 2006, they won in one where Narayana Murthy was a judge. He gave them a very good feedback and advised them to go ahead. After that, there was no holding back, and the team of four got down to serious business, literally! Creating and running a website can be a challenge for anyone, especially while simultaneously undergoing the IIT grill.
“We prioritise. If you really want to do something, you’ll have to find time to do it. Each one of us puts in one to two hours regularly, but two to three weeks before exams, everything else stops. Also, this is a part-time thing, which is very different from a full-time work, as we work on it as and when we get the time,” says Snehal.In their first year, they did not get as many companies as they would have liked on their portal, but they grew with time and experience. Playing on contacts in the corporate world and attending conferences like Proto (platform for encouraging start up companies) helped them gain recognition, and now HelloIntern boasts of over 400 companies and 17,000 registered students.
The fields are as diverse as engineering, law, management, medical and anyone else looking for internship. “We created a market where the area did not exist. We helped organise the internship market where there was none earlier, affecting the market in a positive way. More portals came up after us, but we had the first mover advantage,” says Jatin.Like any other job portal, you can register your resume with this site. On the other side, companies looking for interns register themselves stating specific needs. The resumes are compared with company needs, and voila! — the perfect match is created.The internship arrangement is mutually beneficial to both students and companies.
How it works
Other than building up your resume and setting a strong base for your career, executing an internship project gives you relevant experience in a given field as also exploring your interest before committing yourself to a role. As for companies, those on the lookout for cheap skilled labour can get them by hiring interns on project basis. It works especially well for start-ups who can’t afford high salaries, and can get work done cost-effectively as also have the opportunity to absorb interns after project completion. HelloInetrn also has a high ratio of start-up companies.Of the original co-founders, three have made job commitments and will be giving up HelloIntern for the time-being, but have plans of collecting capital in their respective jobs to return and scale-up operations. In the meantime, a back-up team is ready to carry the torch.
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