Intern connects with Indian IT giant

Nikhil Kumar's three-month online internship with Indian-based global IT company Tata Consultancy Services provided him with a chance to apply his study to a real-world work environment and also connect with his Indian heritage.
Nikhil looking at a computer in an office

The internship provided Nikhil a chance to put his studies to practical use

India has always been a part of who I am, but it has always felt like a distant part. I had no real cultural context or connection to this part of my heritage, so being able to learn important business skills, as well as having some connection to India was an incredibly valuable experience for me.

When I signed up for the internship, I didn’t realise that I had joined one of the world’s largest IT companies; what’s more, it is a “purpose driven” enterprise, meaning it is not driven by profit alone. In fact, nearly 66 percent of all profits go towards philanthropic causes, which made working for them that much more rewarding.

Starting the internship with Covid still impacting how we worked was a daunting but exciting experience. I was in a new environment and had to adjust to the new normal of remote working.

Thankfully, both the Asia New Zealand Foundation and my TCS colleagues helped out with making the transition a smooth one.

The inductions and frequent online meetings with TCS and the Foundation, as well as catching up with other interns, helped me stay grounded and put everything I was doing in perspective.

Tata Consultancy placed me with the Geographical Information Systems team at Downer. Downer is one of Oceania’s biggest Integrated Services providers, working on various construction projects such as the City Rail Link in the Auckland CBD.

Working at the Downer office was definitely a new experience for me. Learning about the company culture and how IT operates was interesting and introduced me to a range of technologies and competencies I had never seen before.

Nikhil in the Downer office foyer

Nikhil was placed with the Geographical Information Systems team at Downer

The team I worked provides users with important geographical information from various surveys. The work was interesting, and I felt I was able to learn a lot from them and also apply knowledge and skills that I have been honing during my time at university. I loved getting to understand complex systems with many moving parts for a very important service. 

I consulted the GIS team on how to improve aspects of their existing services, such as their SharePoint offerings, and tested code-less front-end applications in PowerApps.

The Foundation went to great lengths to facilitate learning for us interns by holding cultural seminars and helping us gain an understanding of business in a global setting, which included language classes and catchups with members of the Foundation's Leadership Network who have worked in both New Zealand and India.

An interesting meeting we had was with Suzannah Jessep. She was the Deputy High Commissioner to India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, Deputy Ambassador to Nepal and New Zealand's Deputy High Commissioner to Vanuatu.

Being able to have an opportunity to chat with her and ask her a few of my many burning questions was a wonderful experience, and  she was able to shed light on New Zealand and India’s relationship.

Overall, this internship has given me a wide range of experiences and knowledge, which I will carry with me always. From cultural understanding, technical and technological competency, and introduction in office culture, I found everything I did either enriched or up skilled me.

I’m genuinely grateful to Asia New Zealand Foundation and Tata Consultancy Services for the opportunity. I can easily say that everything that I have done during this internship will help me strive to create a better future.