My Internship Experience – Tanvi Bikhchandani

by on April 6, 2013

As I began my first day as an intern at CSF, I was a bit nervous. Of the three summer interns working at that time, I was the only undergraduate, and the only one with no prior background working in education.Though I had been extremely excited to work with CSF, I questioned myself, wondering what I would do where everybody so had much more experience than me. Yet, as I very soon realised, my anxieties were unfounded. I was welcomed warmly, and was made to feel at home right from the start. Each member of the CSF team took time out to sit with me individually, talk me through his/her work, and get an idea of the type of projects I would find interesting. It ended up being a great first day, and I was looking forward to the following weeks.

During the course of my internship, I worked on three projects—in the Education Technology, Human Capital Development, and Accountability verticals. Each one proved to be a great learning experience with its own challenges and rewards. The first project involved doing research on companies involved in creating EdTech products/services in India, and writing brief profiles on them. This was especially interesting as I got an insight into the K12 education technology landscape, and learnt about the strategies, successes and challenges faced by entrepreneurs in this field. This also gave me an opportunity to work on my writing-always a beneficial skill.

For the next project, I had to conduct research to obtain data about selection, recruitment, and training of school leaders in India. The data that existed belonged to the government and was sparse and hard to come by using secondary sources, but follow up meetings with the government officials gave me a first-hand understanding of the national perspective on school leadership in India, which was extremely useful. The project for the Accountability vertical involved doing primary research on the implementation of RTE in private schools in Delhi. I visited schools, interviewed teachers, and observed classrooms. Apart from giving me lessons on the social integration problems faced in private schools by students from economically weaker sections of society, this project greatly deepened my interest in the inclusive education in Indian schools.

At CSF, learning did not only happen when I was working on my projects, but outside of that as well. Just seeing the organization’s processes- the weekly staff calls, quarterly reviews, information sharing, and knowledge management-was a learning on how to make most use of limited resources, and work toward maximizing impact. And finally, one of best aspects of interning with the organization was interacting with the team- hardworking, motivated, and passionate individuals. It was inspiring to see them at work, and I appreciated talking to them, asking them about their projects, and engaging in lively discussions on issues related and unrelated to education. Everyone was friendly,and understanding, and I really enjoyed their company.

My two months at CSF flew by, and I left with a much-increased interest in education, and a motivation to work in the social sector after college. Thank you CSF, for such an enriching experience!

Tanvi is now working full time with CSF as Programme Associate. She supports research and investments in the area of governance and school systems, primarily focusing on early childhood education and vocational learning.