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IIT Bombay cuts back on foreign internships
June, 03rd 2008

IIT Bombay BTech and dual-degree programme students will not be able to opt for foreign internships from the academic year beginning 2008-09. As part of its course curriculum, the premier institute has decided to make it mandatory for students to enrol with an Indian company or institution for an internship if they want their course credits (the degree).

The BTech is a four-year course and the dual-degree programme lasts five years. An eight-week internship for BTech and dual-degree students is mandatory at the end of the third and fourth year respectively.

BTech students who wish to opt for foreign internship after the second year, however, would be allowed to do so. Domestic internships in the third year will still be compulsory.

IIT Bombay has around 1,335 BTech and 1,065 dual degree programme students. Over 60 per cent of these students go for foreign internships to pursue their PhD studies and take up research-related jobs at universities or to work with foreign companies.

While the universities include Georgia Tech, McGill, Ohio State, Southern California and Columbia, among others, labs/organisations include Corus Steel (UK), Suzuki Motors, Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Temasek Life Sciences, Microsoft and DaimlerChrysler.

"We want our students to see the excitement of engineering companies in India. We want our industry to see our exciting students. Thus for the mandatory part of their training, the students must go to Indian companies if they want their credits," Ashok Misra, Director, IIT Bombay, told Business Standard.

He noted that the students were unaware of what was happening at Indian industries like Reliance, Bharat Forge and Tata Motors. "The industries in India are using state-of-the-art technology. When we ask the industry, they tell us the BTech students at IIT are not interested. This move should help the students and the country," added Misra.

Students can now opt for an internship in India with institutes like the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research and Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Mumbai, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, and other government R&D labs, besides prominent Indian firms.

However, students do not seem very excited about this change. "This move will hamper the chances of students who wish to go abroad for a PhD or higher studies. Students face a lot of difficulty in finding a good internship prospect as it is difficult to find a good company," explains Ankit Agarwal, a third-year student of mechanical engineering at IIT Bombay.

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