September 23 2009
Janna Keatseangsilp, BSILR '11 shares her summer internship experience at Infosys, India
Tell me about your summer internship experience at Infosys in India.
This summer I interned for Infosys in Bangalore, India for ten weeks through "Instep," Infosys' global internship program. Instep aims to attract global talent, create a global brand, and facilitate cross-cultural intellectual exchange. I heard about this opportunity through ILR International Programs.
I worked in the Human Resources department aligned to the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) group. I was a part of the Employee Relations Team, yet I also interacted with the International HR group, Operations, Finance, and Business HR units.
My project entailed developing a culture of reward and recognition. I worked on developing a revised policy for all locations in India, as well as new policies for China, Philippines and Poland centers. These policies consisted of a new philosophy, objectives, budget, monetary awards and non-monetary awards, implementation plan and impact analysis measures.
What made you travel to India for an internship experience you could have obtained in the US?
I saw this opportunity in India as a once in a lifetime experience. The US will always have opportunities and NYC will always be around. However, the chance to grow and learn from an international experience is something I really wanted to accomplish prior to graduating from the ILR School. Further, I had learnt about emerging markets and the outsourcing industry through my coursework at ILR. I thought it would be interesting to experience it first hand.
How do you compare your work experience in India to your work experience in the US?
The work culture was completely different from what I expected. People came in at all different times of the day (my office was open 24 hours, 7 days a week because I was in BPO) and had distinct working styles. However, I soon learnt to alter my style to get things done. The work itself was a great learning experience. My image of outsourcing was limited to a call center. However, the company was doing some really interesting and high quality work in the area of business processes. The outsourcing industry is so complex, I wish I had more time to learn and understand it. It wasn’t until this summer in India that I really learnt about US companies and globalization.
What was your image of India prior to travelling there? How has it changed since the summer?
Prior to my travel, I didn't know what to expect. I had a stereotypical image of the outsourcing industry. Moreover, Slum Dog Millionaire had given me some cultural insight. However, my experience was completely different. I was living in a tech bubble and was constantly interacting on a global basis. Having said that, I encountered a number of unexpected cultural shocks and personal challenges. Getting used to Indian food took some adjustment for my stomach and while I came to enjoy it, I never was able to fully succeed at eating with my hands. Learning about arranged marriages was always fascinating and one of my favorite topics of conversation. I never quite got used to the security guards in camouflage with enormous rifles at every entrance of the campus.
What did you do for fun?
While I worked about fifty to sixty hours a week, I traveled on weekends to many parts of India including Goa, Kerala, Mysore, Agra, Delhi, Jaipur, and Bandipur. Although the trips were short, it was great to escape the bubble of Infosys and see glimpses of so many different parts of India.
One weekend, I participated in an Infosys sponsored CSR activity where we traveled to a village about five hours from Bangalore, slept in a wedding hall, and distributed thousands of notebooks to about twenty tribal schools. It was an incredible experience and definitely one of the highlights of my time in India.
Outside work, I regularly hung out with both my coworkers and the other interns. I frequently went to dinner parties, shopped at the local markets and watched movies. I also made great friends with the interns who were from all over the world including, Dominican Republic, Canada, and Italy, among other nationalities. We all lived together in the Infosys guesthouse which was on campus and had all the amenities of a 4 star hotel.
The campus, in general, was very impressive with incredibly modern and clean facilities, two gyms, six food courts, tennis courts, pool and more.