Anirudh Rathi and his summer as an IT Intern at AARP Inc. Washington DC

Apart for gaining the technical knowledge, I wanted to experience the American corporate culture. My summer internship at AARP was a good fit. I worked as an IT Intern in AARP's office in Washington DC. Through this article, I will delineate how I got this internship and what I did there.   

Landing up an internship was not easy for me. I started applying in late December and by the end, I lost the count on the number of applications I submitted. I was receiving on an average of 4 to 5 rejects every day starting mid-February. It was disheartening, but I kept going. I majorly used LinkedIn, but also made use of other resources like Indeed and Glassdoor.

I came to know about AARP from the fall career fair. I was receiving the standard reply from all the companies: “apply online”. AARP had the criteria for the applicant to be a US Citizen, but I was taken aback by the effort each AARP spokesperson was dedicating to an individual student. This made me approach them. I received heaps of information from the Intern Manager and I managed to get her contact information, which helped me apply online for a position which I found to be a fit.  
With co-workers
During the first week of the internship, the organization acquired the title of the 4th best midsized organization to work in IT. The company underwent major renovation and thus needed interns to help them with latest gadgets and technologies. My role in the organization was to provide assistance in transforming IT infrastructure from traditional TDM Telecom PBX to Cloud based PBX. I spent a lot time working on SfB on-premise to online migration and providing end user support. Other responsibilities included network and call quality monitoring for SfB, researching devices for LEED certification, writing knowledge articles for new devices and troubleshooting techniques. I got a chance to visit the Data Center and got some prodigious information about the current and upcoming architecture the organization is planning to implement.  
Before the Baseball game
During the internship, I got an in-depth insight about the upcoming industry standards from some highly experienced and skillful minds. I got to connect with people who have 20+ years of experience in my field of interest. The organization has been doing a lot of work in the cloud space and is getting involved with AI for innovation for 50+.
What made the internship a memorable experience were the co-workers and amazing bosses. I got a chance to work on multiple projects. Speaker sessions, panel discussion and social events defintely helped me understand organization’s mission in better way.

Working culture in the US is very different from India.  I had 6 months of experience before joining UMD. Lots of companies are looking for fresh talent, which motivated me to keep trying. I used to find the quote “Networking is everything you need to land up a job” overrated, until this summer. I consider myself an introvert but I highly recommend all the readers to make an extra effort to build your network. 

In a nutshell, luck matters but harder you work the luckier you become.      
About the Author: Anirudh Rathi is a second year graduate student majoring in telecommunications at University of Maryland. Anirudh spent his summer as an IT Intern II for AARP, one of world's largest non-profit organizations. His work involved transitioning from TDM to Cloud based PBX, migration of Skype For Business (SfB) and end user support,