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Indian students fail to land internships in US amid hire-local push



Mumbai: Indian students in the United States (US) are struggling to land even internships this summer amid a slowdown in job growth in the world’s largest economy. Many students, including those from the elite Ivy League universities, have failed to get an internship offer, which is considered crucial to gain on-job experience before stepping into the highly competitive job market, said people familiar with the matter.

A major reason is that the global economic slowdown has severely hit entry-level job opportunities, according to several students, education consultants and Indian-American professionals in the US,

What has made matters worse, many of them claimed, is the propensity of several companies to hire local students in an election year. High inflation, escalating cost of living, local unemployment and sponsorship problems have further added to the woes of Indian students graduating in the US this year, they said.

“There were about 400 undergrad students in the final year in the East Coast and West Coast, including in Ivy League schools, whom I counselled over the years, who have not got any internship offers this summer,” said Adarsh Khandelwal, co-founder at education consulting company Collegify.

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The Ivy League comprises eight private universities in the northeastern US – including Harvard University, Yale University and University of Pennsylvania -which are known for their academic excellence and social prestige.

“Indians, even in top US colleges such as NYU Stern, UC Berkeley, Brown University, University of Pennsylvania and University of Texas at Austin, are struggling. A lot of these kids have reached out to us seeking help to get placed in India,” Khandelwal said.

Citing the example of a 22-year-old final year undergraduate student majoring in economics and psychology at Harvard University, he said, “He has applied to numerous companies in the last six months but has yet to land a summer internship.”

This year, the going is tough even for the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) students, who were in high demand before Covid-19, as technology, consulting and new-age companies are either laying off staff or continuing with hiring freezes.

“There are hardly any jobs for vanilla coding skills, unless there is an element of AI (artificial intelligence) or emerging technology in it,” said Khandelwal.

“My firm prefers to hire Americans over Indians,” said an Indian American working at a leading consulting firm, who did not wish to be identified.

The development comes even as American colleges continue to lure foreign students, including Indians, and the number of Indian students going to the US is at an all-time high.

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