‘In God We Trust. For All Others, We Need Data’ – A Summer Internship Experience

A quote by William Deming mentions, “In God we trust, for all others we need Data”.

The data of knowledge in the library of the mind has churned the trust in values and experience to form a never-ending learning curve in my life. An interview that ranges from the company profile knowledge to the deep roots of technology and electronics to the power of music and the interests of the interviewer’s own music experience – Such is the dream!

As I entered the interview room, my heart thumped for all sorts of questions the interviewer would ask. Would he talk about me? Would he talk about my choices? Or my decisions? And by the time I finished pondering, I made the decision myself to sit in the chair in front of me. One eyebrow raised, the interviewer looked at my CV. “Mmm…” was his reaction. Now what is that? Is it good? Is it bad? A trickle of sweat ran through my forehead.

The first question was the usual one as he asked me about my background. Well, good footing! I answered keeping in mind the specific jargons that I would be questioned on! And truthfully enough, the God of Inquisitiveness has shot the arrow and point on, the interviewer asked me what I had anticipated for. The interview went on to the company profile and the interviewer stopped me in between as he said, “Cool the jets! Violinist? I am a drummer!”

Oh great! And this was what I was waiting for since the first time I had sat for interviews. For one person to recognize that talent in me for music! We discussed on his interests and mine and then found out our love for western classical music to be alike! 14 years of experience in the domain was an unmatched one, even for the interviewer! It was one of the most wonderful interviews of my life, where I linked the power of Art with the logics of Technology!

So how did I even reach this point?

It is the measurement of life with the specific parameters of the enriching experiences that help you improve it. Life is considered to be a heartbeat. With ups and downs, the beat keeps you alive, and along with it, the learning curve. I am a student of Indian Institute of Management, Shillong, an institute that stands to “disseminate knowledge in all aspects of management education for sustainable development and to develop innovative leaders with strong ethical values.” And in this Campus in Clouds did I find my beating measurement that flooded me with opportunities of improvement.

Among all such experiences, one of the most important parts is the inculcation of learning with the very ground rules of the practical world. The merging lines of the academic and professional lives give rise to the beautiful structure of the coordinated pillars of application. Being a consulting enthusiast and coming from a technical background, it was the deep roots of data and its analysis that converged in my opinion of decision making with the touch and flavour of the experienced individuals of the business. Hence, when the news of VMware coming to campus was announced with the desired role, I was very much intrigued to apply and prepare for the same.

It is never a situation of dissatisfying sense if you have the interest to carry forward the flag of progress in the specific domain. Since I had my interest in both the domain and the company, I knew that it would be a wonderful way to understand my learnings and apply them in a situation which befits my interest. Hence, started my preparation. I started with the company website and the knowledge of the domain they performed in. Virtualization was an upcoming and growing trend in the society and aligning to my technical background, the consulting work for the same would be pretty interesting to note and understand. Going through the products of the company, the awards they had achieved, the notes and lectures by the CEO, Patrick Gelsinger, and the comments by the top leaders gave me an understanding of the company and its culture. The mission, vision and core values were the most important to consider while making my route to VMware. It was a fact that couldn’t be compromised with in any way to decide my alignment with an organization. With these in consideration, I tried to understand the future work of the company and the basic analysis of the existing data on the profile of VMware. The current situation in financial markets (NYSE) and the posts by the company on their LinkedIn website helped a lot to enrich my information.

A specific part of my preparation was my interaction with my seniors who have interned there previously. Meeting up with them, talking in their rooms about their experiences in the company and their views regarding the tips to consider in the process was a noteworthy part of the journey.

On the D-Day, with thumping hearts we entered, and with joyful faces did we come out! The pre-placement presentation helped to verify my research and the values that I had been standing up for.

One of the primary tips for my juniors to crack an interview of the same nature would be to understand the company, their culture, and the profile being offered. Having the right skill set and the match of values is necessary to sustain and also grow alongside the company. This also helps to enjoy the work that will be done in the coming months and helps to have a smooth interview with the panellists who would be coming from the organization that you’d actually be inclined to work for. Having a good discussion is essential to a story building and this in integral to the interview that you’d be sitting for.

My next destination was Bangalore and hence started my story. The first three days were exciting and filled with the care that VMware had given us. I had heard about their excellence in employee relations but the first-hand experience of the same was something wonderful to feel. With small activities and Knowledge transfer sessions, we were entrusted to our managers who took us through the team. I began the journey of my career, with a smooth movement from my college life to my professional life and the credit completely goes to my organization. Over the first week would be interacting with the team members and other people around to understand the specifics of the work done. People were very helpful and eagerly helped us understand the work that we were required to do. I was presented with the opportunity to leverage my knowledge and skills in understanding and solving a real-life problem. This was very exciting to me since it put forward an empty cup that I could fill according to my choice and yet achieve the success that I was expected to do. A lot of freedom to think and work was given to us. When having that conversation over in my head, I was glad to pe present at a place with a friendly atmosphere and a free will to think. The mind can spring in different directions and that allows the innovation to rise within an individual. From the small spring of innovative thinking brings out the possibility of revolutionizing solutions in a different and a more efficient way.

A very important part of the whole internship was that we had an opportunity that we never even dreamed that we would ever get. Mr. Patrick Gelsinger, the CEO had come down to the office himself from USA to connect with the employees and more importantly, the “budding innovators”, us. That was probably the best day of the whole internship experience, that imbibed in me the sense of connection that is encouraged to have with the employees that provide the zeal to work and excel. I shall always remember his definition of success. It was to see others succeed and be a reason for it! A learning that shall always be one of the forefronts of my goal.

Not only work, VMware ensured that we had fun and a learning-filled experience in the two months we were at Bangalore. Team building exercises, team outings, Brainstorming sessions and even a movie night to top it all were prepared for us. All of these, though trivial at times, helped to understand the importance of specific activities that made us realize the gravity and the power of working together. A team is always more productive than an individual. Having such learnings inculcated over the period of two months, and working accordingly, we found out some excellent results to our joy! Learning different curriculums through the VMware portal and also trying to gather knowledge on the skills that we built over the internship period was a great value addition to myself. Tools and software to better our performances and increase the efficiency, aligning with our ideas pertaining to the projects we were working in, helped us the most. The growth from a student to a professional happened in those two months. Towards the end, we even learnt how to make an interesting presentation through references that were out of the blue and yet related to the work we were doing. Creativity was encouraged and the combination of data, creatives and logical knowledge building was the deadliest in attacking the existing problems. Moreover, the subjects of my first year, like Information Tools and Technology, Statistics and Decision Making, Strategic Management, Operations Management, could all be used and applied to the domain I was working in.

It was fun to see the applications turning out magically successful as the learnings from the class came to life in the lively room of VMware, Bangalore. Churning out problems, working my way through with help from my team, and applying the new perspectives and class learnings was an experience that I could never forget.

One primary takeaway from my two months of internship at a leading organization in Virtualization, summed up in one single sentence would be:
Look out everywhere. There is something to learn…from everything

Indrasis Roy

I am a student of Indian Institute of Management Shillong. I have done my BTech in Electronics and Communications Engineering. My hobby is playing the Violin.