Mugdha Arora is a final-year undergraduate in the Electrical Engineering department. She interned with Texas Instruments. Read on as she recollects her experience at Texas Instruments, Bangalore.
The Not-so-Perfect Intern
Hi! I am Mugdha Arora, a fourth-year undergraduate in the department of Electrical Engineering. I interned in Texas Instruments, Bangalore in 2018 summers as an Analog intern. My choice of the field was mostly based on eliminating what all I was not interested in pursuing or did not have the acumen for (maybe not a very nice idea to rely on – works well when in doubt). This elimination left me with Electrical core companies (majorly) and since they are very less in number, I knew it was important to be shortlisted within a few days.
Texas Instruments (henceforth written as TI) came on the day 2 of intern season. The selection procedure was pretty simple. We appeared for a test which consisted of 4 sections- software, analog, digital and aptitude. I was shortlisted for Analog profile (some students had more than one shortlist). This was followed by one round of technical interview and finally HR interview. The test questions in Analog were basic circuit theory. The other two had Verilog and basic digital (as far as I remember). For preparation, I had done some mock tests on pariksha.co for aptitude and brushed up basic electronics courses (ESC201, EE210).
Pro tip:- Focus on basics, TI is least interested in how much you know; in-depth understanding is important. In fact, most of my interview (also the PPO interview) was on RC circuits and opamps.
The HR interview was more of a chit-chat session on our expectations and future plans. TI hires a whole lot of interns during summers (our estimate was ~150 this year): 13 shortlists from our campus. In my opinion, getting through to TI is pretty easy if you are good enough and the Gods up there aren’t strictly against you.
Before the intern, all of us were given some generic reading material and a few simple quizzes to attempt (with goodies for the winners). Towards the beginning, we were given mentor details who contacted us with project details and related reading material. It was a 9-week intern with one week of Orientation and Training and 8 weeks of work. The first day was mostly talks from experienced employees, HR, security et al. Following this we had basic Analog/Digital (profile specific) and Unix training for a week. You are not expected to know a lot. You will be taught everything you need.
I was allotted a mentor in Systems role in the Isolation product line. My project was Competition Analysis of Isolation devices. It was mostly lab work with a list of experiments. I learned the basic functioning of the devices followed by basics and relevance of tests I was to perform. The results I produced would either be used in the product definition of new devices or in improving marketing strategies of the existing ones. The work, although important to TI, was not very creatively involved and hence, not something that I expected or enjoyed a lot. I did have a tough time accepting it. Although, exposure to workflow and my learning of the dynamics of a semiconductor industry were worthwhile. A few sessions organized by the HR with very old employees of TI were insightful as well.
The work culture at TI is very flexible. All that matters is that you deliver; your work timings, your coffee breaks, the time you spend playing is all up to you. I used to give considerable time to breaks and some time to playing in Texins – the sports facility of TI. Texins offers a variety of sports facilities- badminton, TT, billiards, volleyball, lawn tennis, gyming etc. The best part of TI is the absence of strict hierarchies. I loved how you can approach any senior employee as and when you like and expect to be heard as well.
TI appoints mentors very randomly (as I have heard) and it’s the mentors that finalize your project; which in turn results in a huge spectrum of intern experiences you get to hear. In my case, I was lucky to have a supportive mentor I really enjoyed working with but I expected more from the project. I came across all the other permutations of liking for the project and mentor as well. So you can never be sure.
I received a Pre-Placement Offer after the intern which I have accepted. I found some people doing some real interesting work. In expectation of such fun work and keeping in mind the flexibility to change TI offers, my short-term plans are to work for TI starting next year.
Final Tip:- If you are looking for a long-term career at TI, an internship could be your perfect beginning. But if you want the perfect intern of your dreams, TI could be a gamble!
To the aspirants:- I am sorry to not have painted a rosy picture before you. Feel free to ping me for any specific doubts you might have!