Wondering how to get product design internship in USA? We have a great example with us – Ajita Shukla and she has graciously shared her story with us.
You know what’s the incredible part? She did not have any long formal work experience in design before going to USA. Sometimes, we choose safer options because we believe its not easy to get into a niche area like design. Ajita’s story tells us that you don’t have to compromise on what you want to do.
Watch the video at the end of this article to hear her talk about it all. I am summarizing few salient points below-
What kind of background helps
Ajita graduated from Delhi University with a BTech in Computer Science. An active participant in fests, college magazines, Enactus etc, Ajita figured her early interests in product management and design. To explore these further, she undertook a couple of internships with startups.
Eventually realizing that a Master’s program will be helpful, she zeroed in on MIS programs that offered such specializations in USA. She came to Scholar Strategy in 2018 and started working on her applications from Aug. She got admits from University of Washington – HCDE program (which she finally accepted), CMU Software Management, UIUC MSIM and so on.
Starting the internship preparation early
She attended the Internship Masterclass sessions with Scholar Strategy which helps applicants to prepare for internship and job hunt (sometimes before starting the Grad School). This proved helpful since she got more clarity about the roles she would seek, and created effective resume and LinkedIn profiles which saved a lot of time later on. More importantly, it helped her being mentally prepared for the challenges that were about to come.
She had started working on few independent design projects. These came handy in building her profile even though she had no long corporate experience in design.
Taking relevant courses and doing hands-on projects at University of Washington added well on her resume. She started her product design internship hunt from December and applied to 30 places overall. Chan Zuckerberg Initiative was one of these places.
(Details of finding the internship and its interview process is covered in the video below)
Cracking the actual interviews
Ajita talked to seniors and searched online to understand what the design internship recruitment involves. Usually, they have a phone screening and then onsite interviews. There are multiple number of design interviews and a behavioral round. A major aspect of it involves creating a good portfolio and being able to talk about it.
Additional Tips for finding Product Design Internship
Ajita shares the following:
- Design roles involve a lot of user understanding and storytelling. One critical aspect of cracking these interviews was to able to tell her story well.
- She also recommends reading a lot of design articles (follow relevant publications on Medium etc).
Hear Ajita’s story in her own words
So that was it. Here are my final takeaways
- You can get any role as long as you strategize properly
- Stay focused on 1 (max 2) roles else you will dilute your efforts
- Starting early is the key. So if you are going to Grad School this year, make sure you prepare from right now
You can also find your dream role with our Internship Masterclass ($100K+ salaries)