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Acquiring Knowledge, Skills and Experience during an Internship in India

29 Jul 2015

April 2015 – Undergoing an internship in a degree programme is valuable as this is the student’s opportunity to acquire more knowledge, skills and experience. This is what a final year International Medical University (IMU) Pharmaceutical Chemistry student, Hovah Marie Emilie Leiticia did. She took the opportunity to do her internship in Clearsynth, a well-established chemical company in Hyderabad, India. Making this decision to do the internship outside of Malaysia was not an easy one because it means stepping out of her comfort zone. P1 “The first week itself, I was doing hands-on work and, it is definitely the best way to learn. Initially, I was given simple tasks, for instance, TLC monitoring of reactions or distillation of small amounts of solvents but soon enough, I was assigned the responsibility of an individual project. The latter provided me with a lot of prospects for my career path. If it went well, it could be turned into a publication.” “Undeniably, I acquired tremendous knowledge, skills and experience while conducting the project. First of all, new synthetic schemes, reaction conditions and chemicals I never heard of before were involved. It was a golden opportunity to broaden my knowledge on synthetic organic chemistry. I learnt how to handle dangerous chemicals such as sodium metal, hydrazine hydrate or even triphosgene while keeping the lab safe at all times.”

“I also became familiar with the dry solvent distillation plants as I watched and helped my seniors in their set-up. While I knew how to operate a rotavapor from my past practical sessions, I became more aware of its extensive usage in the industry; how to effectively clean and control it. Another equipment I never thought I would ever use in my degree life is a steel bomb, that is, the equipment in which hydrogenation reactions are carried out at very high pressures. Certainly, such exposure sharpened my skills to a great extent.”

P3 Moreover, Hovah Marie Emilie Leiticia was lucky enough to work with one of the most knowledgeable senior persons in the laboratory, Mr Lingamurthy Eppakayala; he, along with other people on his team were the ones who always lent a helping hand while she needed it most- during the setting up of reactions, while doing the reaction work ups and compound purification. He also encouraged her to challenge herself and to always aim higher. He would often teach her some name to reactions and how to come up with new schemes when one was not working through the basic concept of retrosynthesis. “His knowledge was extensive and I’m glad that I managed to acquire some of it during my internship. Additionally, I had the kind guidance of my supervisor, Dr Naveen, who despite being busy with his schedule, would sometimes pay a visit to ask about my project and make suggestions whenever I was having a hard time.” “I did face some challenges during this internship. Going out of Malaysia meant to step out of a certain comfort zone and the work life in India is very much different from what I have experienced before. Becoming part of a company usually involves more professionalism, accountability and responsibility. I was not part of the IMU cocoon anymore and I had to become a more independent person which was quite challenging at first. But, all this is part of the learning process and IMU did bestow me with the necessary tools to survive in the industry, be it in terms of knowledge or professional attitude.”

“Finally, I must say going to India for my internship was a good move for my career. I definitely learnt a lot, more than I ever expected. I can say that I now have the confidence and experience I never had before.”

Hovah Marie Emilie Leiticia also had the opportunity to discover an amazing city and culture. Hyderabad is a very beautiful place and she was glad that she had the opportunity to see some of its wonders while being in India. “I am more than grateful to my lecturers that made it possible as well as to the manager of Clearsynth, Dr Sastry, who readily opened the doors of its company to IMU students.”

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