Internship Stories: Samsung Research India

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by Ganesh Kumar, final year B. Tech (Computer Science) student.

Summer of 2014. Ten of the most precious and enjoyable weeks of my life. Two and a half months that changed me from an average guy, with little experience in public transport and habituated to the comfort of air-conditioned rooms and cars, to someone who can get by on his own in a completely alien city. Ten weeks that saw me make new friends, explore places and spend time in a corporate world that would soon become my second home. A summer spent as much in learning as it was spent in having fun, spent as much in making new bonds as renewing existing ones. A summer almost wholly spent interning at Samsung Research Institute, Bangalore (or SRI-B, as we call it).

The selection process was relatively simple, and happened very early — in the first month of my fifth semester. Interested students were asked to submit resumes, but no shortlisting was done based on this, and it all came down to a small MCQ test on basic C programming. There was some nervousness as I fancied my chances of getting selected, but the tension soon passed as, after a small talk about Samsung, the list of selected candidates was announced. The wait was over, and I had an internship!

The internship began on May 15th, a mere week after the end of my third year. During this one week, apart from packing, I used to think a lot about how I would spend my time in Bangalore. The last time I had been there was when I was a small kid. I had absolutely no memories of the city and knew nothing about living there, except for the hype that Bangalore natives among my classmates had generated. There were 8 of us interning at SRI-B from IIT Madras. I wondered if I would make new friends. I wondered if I would make my mark in the corporate world. I wondered if it would become a memory to cherish, or one that I’d speedily forget and never wish to remember again. Fortunately for me, it was the former.

 

The IIT-M intern gang
The IIT-M intern gang

I was travelling to another city for ten weeks, and my excitement level was high. I was never alone, because two of my closest friends interned in the same city — and over the next ten weeks, I met a few other people who became my best friends over the ten weeks we spent together.

SRI-B hosted us in a wonderful hotel for a week before we moved to our PGs. That week was amazing and went by in a flash. From a chance meeting paving the way for new friendships, to a DJ night where we danced till we dropped, to an exciting induction seminar (well, except for the bits in the end where they explained the rules), I was pretty happy with my first week in Bangalore. Any cribs? Not really.

My first weekend in Bangalore was spent PG hunting, which was quite an experience! If you are a male looking for a decent PG in the Marathahalli area of Bangalore, I’d recommend you conduct some research and make a few phone calls. We saw some 10-15 PGs on the first day, walked a good 6-7 km before we finally settled on one that was downright uncomfortable but made up for it with its proximity to shops and the main road. For the girls, the process was apparently simpler as the number of girls who were interning at SRI-B was much smaller (sigh!).

 

One of the 2 office buildings. This one is called 'Phoenix'.
One of the 2 office buildings. This one is called ‘Phoenix’.

 

I won’t go into the details of the technical aspects of my internship, partly because I don’t want to bore the non-Computer Science readers, and partly because I must not. Everyone learns during interns. It is what you do apart from learning that is interesting, isn’t it? The office space at SRI-B was really stimulating at a creative level. The first thing I noticed about the workspaces in the office was the absence of cubicles. Before this, I had seen only my dad’s office, and had mentally expected a closed corner cubicle when I was told that the Director of the Advanced Research Team — to which I was assigned — was also working on the same floor as me. However, there were no doors on my floor, save for a few meetings rooms. It also had a cafeteria, which provided coffee, tea, soft drinks and of course water, all for free. I remember asking the cafeteria guy the price of a bottle of Coke, and then asking him again a second time because I did not believe that it was free.

The employees at SRI-B were also really friendly. Each intern is assigned a representative in the HR department who will essentially be their guide for the full duration of their internship. That is another thing that I liked about SRI-B. It is organized to a fault. Anything you need? You just need to raise a request in their internal workflow and it gets delivered to your workspace. The FTEs, i.e Full Time Employees, in my team were really friendly and helped me get settled down in office. I could talk to them freely (strictly on a first name basis, mind you) and ask them any queries I had — technical, non-technical or just questions about the city. I used to ‘pain’ them every Friday by asking them to suggest some place to go to during the weekend. My mentor, despite being a busy man (he was the Director of ART), was very approachable and sometimes even responded to my queries over the internal chat engine, which I found rather strange in the beginning, but soon got accustomed to.

 

The team that I was a part of at SRI-B.
The team that I was a part of at SRI-B.

Lunch at Samsung is free, and so is dinner, provided you stay till then. And the food is really amazing — at least, much better than the food in our PG or in insti messes. My friends and I used to eat together everyday, and lunch breaks frequently stretched to 2 hours, from 12 to 2. Samsung also has this ritual of team lunches once in a month, to enable the team to spend a light moment together and take a step back from professional pressures.

So that’s about the office. What about the city? The real fun was during the weekends, when we generally roamed around, going to malls and other places of attraction. Bangalore offers enough and more to keep you occupied for 8 weeks — Bannerghatta Zoo, Lalbagh Botanical Gardens, a large number of malls (Phoenix and Orion are the most famous) and the finger-licking, mouth-wateringly good MTR restaurant. We visited the Visveshwarayya Museum and Shivasamudram falls near Mysore. In short, we had a lot of fun.

This post is already too long, so I will stop here. The intern has definitely affected me positively. I can sense something different in me — the way I interact with others, my outlook towards life and my worldview in general. And the Pre Placement Offer that was extended to me by SRI-B has given a boost to my self-confidence. Truly, the summer of 2014 is not one that I will want to forget in a hurry.

About the author: Friendly and fun-loving, Ganesh is a final year B. Tech student.  When not talking and laughing or generally fooling around with his friends, you can find him thinking about deep and totally useless things. He’s a huge fan of CSK, MSD and now, Chennaiyin FC!  You can reach him at [email protected]l.com.

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