On October 27th, Firsthand hosted a Diversity & Inclusion in Internships Virtual Career Fair. This unique fair offered a rare opportunity for students to increase their internship prospects and connect with top employers. They were able to meet with a community of experts and alumni who helped them connect the dots between their education, career dreams, and next step forward.
On the day of the fair, in addition to the ability to meet with top employers, interns had access to several live events, including a fireside chat with Inderpreet Sawhney, one of the top 25 Women Leaders in IT Services. Inderpreet is Group General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer of Infosys, leading the tech services firm’s legal and compliance function. She is also a strategic business partner at the firm who ensures success for Infosys in legal and regulatory matters while spearheading the firm’s compliance and ethics program.
Inderpreet serves on the Board of Directors of NYSE-listed Hillenbrand Inc. and is a member of the National Advisory Council of SABANA (South Asian Bar Association of North America). She’s a recipient of the Thought Leadership Award at the 2018 Global Transformative Leadership Awards and was featured among the top 25 Women Leaders in IT Services of 2020, published by The IT Services Report.
Here are some key takeaways we learned from her.
Hone Your Instincts
Your career may take you in directions you never expected, and that’s okay. How you get there sometimes is as simple as a gut feeling that an opportunity is right for you. “Intuition is a quality we must all learn to hone,” Inderpreet explained. “It’s like a muscle: the more you train it, the better you get at it.” Intuition is also more than just a “feeling”; it’s often based on skills and information that are ingrained in you on a subconscious level. Trust your instincts. “You know more about yourself than you may realize; no one knows you better than you,” Inderpreet said.
Diverse Teams Do Better
Employers are looking for diverse candidates because they want diversity, not because they’re looking to check off a “diversity” box. Whatever minority you represent, understand that employers want that vantage point. Study after study shows that diverse teams do better. “At Infosys, we are in the business of problem-solving,” Inderpreet said, “and problems get solved when people come at it from different angles vs. groupthink.” The world is also responding to what stakeholders want: investors, employees, customers, and partners all want to see diversity. Nine times out of ten, you have a seat at the table because you deserve to be there.
What Kind of Students Does Infosys Hire?
Although Infosys has primarily hired engineering graduates, that has changed in the past few years. “As a company, we realize that if we want to be identifying problems for our customers, we also need to think like them,” Inderpreet explained. “So we are deliberately hiring people without a technology background.” Infosys has a partnership with Rhode Island School of Design. They also hire people with a liberal arts background or a knowledge of financial services. Those employees then work on projects for their customers in these segments. They also hire people with associate’s degrees now, not just four-year degrees. “Our thinking has evolved primarily as a result of understanding that this generation that is entering the workforce is going to be on a journey of continuous learning,” Inderpreet said.
InStep Internship Program
InStep is Infosys’s flagship global internship program, ranked the #1 internship by Vault for the past three years in a row. InStep also earned the first rank in Best Internship for Overall Diversity.
The program enrolls students from campuses worldwide for an 8–12 week experience in India. They’ve now expanded the program in the U.S., Australia, and Europe, as well as an MBA program. The program is enriching and immersive: interns live on campus and work on real-life projects with cutting-edge technology. This opportunity isn’t limited to engineering students. Infosys has had students with design backgrounds, liberal arts backgrounds…even lawyers have enrolled in the program. “So, you may start as a design student and end up in technology,” Inderpreet shared. “It’s all part of the continuous learning experience.”
Below you can watch the entire Fireside Chat with Inderpreet Sawhney at the Firsthand D&I Internship Career Fair:
Originally published on Firsthand.
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