This write-up only explains how I applied and why I did things the way I did. It definitely isn’t an advise and certainly doesn’t guarantee you an internship if you do what I did.
WHERE IT ALL STARTED.
Back in my Third semester, one of my faculty in Architecture school took personal interest in my academic performance and would regularly give me wings and chop them off as and when required. Soon enough I had mentally made her my Guru. It was her opinion, that I should step out of the city and explore my options, meet new people, and make connections. This I obviously gave serious thought to. A couple of semesters later, I was done with my thesis and my wings were in their best shape by now. Strong enough to take off on it’s own and tinted with just the perfect amount of color.
SMALL OR BIG OFFICE?
If you happen to talk to people about what kind of office works best for an internship, you’re bound to hear all praise for small offices. Smaller, the better and greater interaction, responsibilities and learning. To each, his own I guess. Initially I believed the same too, but discovered with time that both has their own benefits and you need to decide which of those would benefit YOU.
Very determined to get out of the city, I didn’t even make efforts to look for options here in Bangalore. A list of potential cities and top offices in them, was made and scotch-taped on my bedroom wall. The overly confident and ambitious me, didn’t find the need to look for more than five offices. At least that’s what I thought. Haha.
A portfolio with 3 of my best works from architecture school was made. Mind you, they need to be semesters with computerized works. None of the offices care a damn about how well you can hand-render that tree, or how well you can make clouds with stumping powder. One slide exhibited my model-making skills. And a couple of my sketches were included in the end. This is all that’s required for the contents part, a total of 13-15 pages.
Coming to the first two slides. The first slide is THE most important, it decides the fate of your portfolio and whether or not it will be viewed further. It can be a fancy edited picture of any thing that you consider to be your best work in Architecture school. I had a thin strip of collage with pictures of all my models in the middle. On top it said Portfolio 2012-2015 and below, it had my name. All of this against a deep blue background. It’s bonus points if you have a good color scheme.
The next slide talks about you. A nice and clear picture of you, definitely not a formal passport photo. That’s not what our field is about and certainly NOT a selfie. I have personally made fun of hilarious cover pages with my sub-bosses. So a big NO to that. You can throw in a few things that talks about you. Like an aim, maybe? Then of course, your academic history and achievements. It’s not necessary to mention anything before Architecture school, but I did. This, followed by your skills. That is, how much you know about how many softwares. You need to be very honest with this and mention a software only if you know it.
Then you can make it fun by mentioning some hobbies and please do NOT say Photography unless you breathe it. *rolls eyes* If you want to stand out, mention something that no one else would. *wink* And that’s your portfolio. Make 3 different copies of different sizes. PDF files of 2.5mb, 5mb and 8mb is the most appropriate.
Put your letter writing skills from junior school to use here. The E-mail should be written in such a way, that it can be used to apply to more than one office by just editing a line or two. At the same time it should show that you are well-read about their projects and are interested in only, that office. Read it more than you usually would and get it proof-read by someone who, you think has a good hand at grammar. Both, the mail and the portfolio cannot have any grammatical errors. Once you’re done, mail the offices in your list and sit back and wait for a day or two. Or maybe a month. A month and a half, tops. *Grins*
Sometimes you won’t get a reply for a long time so you need to start applying well in advance. A couple of months prior to your start-date, should do the trick.
Ahmedabad, every Indian architect’s paradise was top priority for me. I did my research, found this blog that had listed the top 5 offices for internship in Ahmedabad.
Looked up websites of these offices and checked out their internship page. I Took an interest to 2 of those offices and applied there and one other office that came up during general research (And several other in other cities, just to be safe). Haha.
HCP design Planning and management
Dr.B.V.Doshi – Vastu Shilpa Consultants
I finalized on these 3 in Ahmedabad.
Heard back from Saaransh initially and from HCP after a fortnight which led me to a dilemma cause I had already confirmed with the former. But I believe we aren’t obligated to please everyone. So I wrote a mail being as polite as possible to Saaransh, apologizing for the inconvenience caused and confirmed with HCP. I did get in touch with interns from Saaransh as well and we were more or less on the same boat so there weren’t any regrets thankfully.
HCP had a special corner for trainees, there was Shaikh sir who was our mentor for the first term and Mudassar our current mentor. We had a lot of presentations by architects, fellow trainees and Sir himself apart from the regular office routine. We also had trips that we organised every weekend which were both architectural and leisure.
Living on my own was by far the best decision I’ve made. From a girl who was dropped and picked during late-night studios and group-work, to now, one who’s getting around the city discovering herself and the Sun doesn’t affect whether or not she needs company.
Hope this helped. Cheers!