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Summer 2017

Summer Diaries: Tata Steel

June 26, 2017
- Shrutika Yeola

As is common, in my 3rd year, I was still ascertaining where my interests lay. The question of whether I should take up an internship in my “core” field (i.e. Metallurgy) remained largely unanswered until a professor advised me to do so. I chose to take heed of his advice: I had studied these subjects for two and a half years, and felt I had nothing to lose.

TATA Steel’s selection process is relatively easy, in that it has no CGPA criteria. The first round was a 2.5 hour long online test comprising questions of Mental Ability, English and Metallurgy. 10 out of 90 candidates were then shortlisted for a Group Discussion, where we were asked to “imagine that you are waiters working for a loss-making hotel. How, then – in your capacity as a waiter – can you do to turn a profit?” 6 students consequentially made it into the personal interview round.

Never had I (previously) faced the critical eyes of the interviewer; although initially cynical of such an exchange, I managed to exceed my expectations, and the interview has since become a fond memory. I was asked a mix of technical and HR questions. An in-depth knowledge of two sub-topics is also necessary to get past the interview ( a detailed version of the proceedings can be found here ). Two of us were thus selected to intern at TATA steel.

There are three other ways to bag the internship:

  1. Mind Over Matter (MOM) competition: Details can be found on Channel I. Questions are of a technical nature, and are to be answered either individually, or in pairs of two. All 3rd year students (regardless of their field of study) are eligible to participate. 23 students were selected through this route.

  2. Women of Mettle: Since the programme is a recent development, I do not possess adequate information about the same. Relevant details can be procured first-hand from the website.

  3. Word-of-mouth recommendations (a.k.a “contacts”), although this directly implies that a PPO cannot be secured.

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Work culture:


The primary focus of TATA steel is values, as is evident by their motto “Values stronger than steel”. Many-a-senior had stated that the company is indifferent to incurring loss, but is very uptight about basic ethical considerations (such as wearing a safety helmet). Non-adherence to such simple yet important rules is liable to get you fired. Excluding such circumstances, however, one’s job at TATA Steel is largely secure. At present, it is the best corporation for a “core” job in Metallurgy; the joining salary has also risen to 10.5 LPA.

A 5-day working week is the norm, with working hours being 9:30 am to 5:30 pm. Interns are put up in the Graduate Trainee Hostel (with double rooms for boys and single rooms for girls), which is not without its fair share of problems: a time restriction for girls (7:30 pm), absence of basic commodities such as Wi-Fi, washing machines, and a considerable number of insects. Most days are tiring, and there is no energy left to wander the city (on working days). A mess adjoining the hostel provides food 4 times a day.

The stipend is a humble Rs. 10,000, in addition to reimbursement of 3-tier A/C tickets for travel. The quanta of work depends on the guide, but is usually manageable. The attire is also determined by the guide, although safety shoes and a safety band are compulsory. The internship/ job is ideal for those having parallel pursuits such as the UPSC and CAT (or a completely different career) as there is sufficient time left over. At the end of one’s time here, there is a 20 – 30 minute long presentation, serving as the sole criteria for securing a PPO.

My project was on “The Crystallographic and Texture Analysis of Ti+Nb+Mo HS 800 Steel”, under the Flat Product Technology Group (it is scarcely as dangerous as it sounds). A few days of study on the topic at hand fosters an interest for it. Moreover, I was fortunate enough to be appointed a guide who kept in constant touch through weekly updates, and also helped me with experiments. Sincere work can result in the publication of a research paper within the stipulated period of two months; many students have done so in the past.

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TATA Steel possess a variety of equipment: the Coke plant, Pellet plant, Blast furnace and LD furnace, to name a few. One gets to see, in real time, all that they have studied and – at long last – an answer to why we study the course.

The employees of the plant are rather helpful; they are forever ready to help and guide the interns.

About Jamshedpur


Jamshedpur has a scant number of attractions: Dimna Lake, HUDCO Lake, Jubilee Park, the Dalma trek and the Zoo. Further off (4-8 hours away) are Kolkata, Puri, Konarak and Bhubaneshwar. Bakeries and restaurants nearby include Bon Appetite, Le Bon, and Brubeck. Though it may initially seem (by observing the area around the Railway Station) that you are in for a dreadful bore of two months, time shall tell you different.

The weather here is mostly hot and humid, interspersed by frequent rain (once every 3 days).

Takeaways


TATA Steel is best for those in metallurgy wishing to pursue a “core” job, or explore its possibilities. It is a rather secure job, and the probability of being laid off is very low, provided one sticks to the ethical code of the corporation. Chances of bagging a PPO, as well as of publishing a research paper are good. Its work culture makes it a good company to start with.

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