Intern Q&A — Debanjan Ghosh


Career Guide – Internship

Debanjan Ghosh

Major: Chemical Engineering

Year: Junior

Where I worked: 3M

What I did: Worked in a chemical plant in Cottage Grove, Minn., from May 2010 to August 2010. My major project was to complete pressure relief calculations on various safety devices, such as relief valves and rupture disks, throughout the pilot plant at the Cottage Grove site. From my calculations I notified plant management about any potential safety risks and established a documentation basis for all of the safety devices in the plant.

In addition to this project, I was also tasked with managing several projects, such as the installation of a steam heater for a building. For each of these projects I developed the project scope, contacted vendors for price quotes, and established a timeline so that I would have the project completed on time and within budget.

1. How did you hear about the job? Did you attend the Career Fairs before finding it?

I attended the Spring 2010 Career Fair and secured several interviews from various engineering companies. However, after the interviews I was still without a job for the summer of 2010, so I proceeded to search for potential internships through the sponsors of the various organizations I am involved in. 3M was a major sponsor for one of these organizations, and after I expressed my interest in working for them, I was put into contact with the recruitment team who proceeded to facilitate my hiring.

2. Why do you think you got the job? What made you stand out from other candidates?

I believe the large amount of extracurricular activities and leadership experience are the primary factors which caused me to get hired. In addition, I was sure to highlight these involvements, especially those in which I had leadership positions and other unique experiences, such as being a peer mentor and attending an international conference. The combination of a solid academic record and a collection of leadership experiences definitely set me apart from the other candidates.

3. What was my favorite memory from my internship?

The internship program at 3M provided a large number of opportunities for networking, especially with individuals in management. My personal favorite was a boat trip that the interns took with the leadership team of the engineering department. In addition, the atmosphere of helpfulness and mentorship that 3M fostered is another fond memory of mine.

4. What was the biggest thing I learned from the experience?

The fact that I have the skills and knowledge to work as a practicing engineer while still a college student. At first, I was rather apprehensive about my internship and whether I would be competent enough to serve as an engineer for 3M. However, with all of the resources and support that were provided by the company, such as connecting me with a younger engineer who would serve as my mentor and a thorough training process, I had a very good experience and am confident in my decision to pursue a career as a professional chemical engineer.

5. What advice would I give to student job seekers?

Do your research. It shows the companies that you have a genuine interest in working for their company and are willing to go the extra mile.

Get involved. It is very important to have activities on your resume that will supplement your academic record. Industry is looking for well-rounded individuals, not just bookworms.

Be persistent. Just because you cannot secure an internship or co-op with the first company you interview with does not mean that you should give up. Instead, you should continue your search, for once you have a work experience under your belt, finding the next one becomes much easier.