Celebrating Viterbi Students: The Power of Networking

Divya Choudhary, a master’s student in data science, kicked off 2020 with a dream summer internship offer focusing on her interest in deep learning and advanced natural language processing. On April 9, however, her internship was cancelled. Divya responded by tapping into her professional network and secured another offer just twelve days later. Here’s how she did it.

“I woke up with a determination to take my cancelled internship as a challenge and beat it. I started by evaluating my best and worst options to understand the baselines before going for enhanced tuning of the model (deep learning alert!). After this analysis, I turned to my network for support.

I learned that everything we hear about networking is true! I found a handful of individuals in my close network who could help me make my ‘worst case baseline’ much better if it came to that. I’ve been fortunate to build connections with the right people – not necessarily people at high positions but people with high knowledge and understanding. Specifically, I took the following steps:

  • Prepared for interviews.
  • Created a list of all companies that could potentially hire.
  • Applied to LinkedIn job postings (most were stale, however).
  • Talked to my close professional connections including Viterbi Career Connections & VASE to seek advice and not a job. Talking to your mentors or close connections expands your horizons to tackle the problem.
  • Explored connections who might be hiring, applied to links in their posts, and reached out to them to ask about summer internship openings.
  • Stayed confident and smart. I knew that the situation wasn’t my fault.

A Bay Area startup responded to my application and I had an amazing two-hour interview with the team. My preparation definitely helped! I received a verbal offer within two hours of my interview. Even though the summer didn’t work out as planned in January, I am excited and happy. This startup will always have an amazing mark in my life.”

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