SFU students Andreas Hovland (left) and Erick Oduor are among the first Western Canadian students to participate in Instep

An internship in India

Simon Fraser University doctoral students intern at Infosys, one of India's top technological companies.

Simon Fraser University doctoral student Erick Oduor and international student Andreas Hovland are among the first students from Western Canada to participate in InStep, a prestigious global internship program with Infosys, one of India’s top technology companies.

Oduor, of Surrey, who is in the School of Interactive Arts and Technology (SIAT) graduate program, did a nine-week stint working at the company’s Bangalore-based headquarters while Hovland, majoring in economics and anthropology at SFU, recently completed a 12-week business research project.

“InStep provides opportunities for the best and brightest students to work on some of the most challenging projects. While the program began in 1999, this is the first year we have students from universities in Western Canada,” said V. Ganapathy Subramanian, head of Strategy and Planning at Infosys.

“This is a clear recognition of the growing need to take advantage of the talent coming from Canada. We are happy to welcome the Western Canadian students to the program.”

“SFU’s participation in the InStep program reflects our vision as an engaged university to provide students with unparalleled experiential learning opportunities at home and around the world,” added SFU President Andrew Petter.

More than 1,250 students have been accepted for InStep internships to date, including students from some of the world’s top institutions, including MIT and Oxford.

The University of Toronto was the first Canadian university to become involved in the program.

Students work on high-impact projects that focus on technology, liberal arts and business, while getting first-hand exposure to one of the world’s fastest growing economies. They brush shoulders with business leaders and senior management, participate in workshops and training programs and are guided by mentors.

“This was a rare opportunity for me to develop my research interests in a global setting and learn from a wide scope of experiences,” said Oduor, a third-year student spending the fall term as a prototype designer at Siemens Corporate Research in Princeton, New Jersey. In all, 147 global students converged at Infosys from the spring to fall of 2013.

While at Infosys, Oduor researched protocols and mechanisms used to manage devices and applications that run across multiple Machine-to-Machine Device Management (M2M DM) platforms.

He identified the gaps that exist in current M2M DM space versus existing global standards.

Hovland, now completing his third undergraduate year at SFU, developed an  “experience database” that is expected to be an integral component of any culture-related training program run by Education & Research at Infosys.

He followed it up with a training needs analysis aimed at enabling cultural competency among chosen geographies.

Says Hovland: “The InStep model is project-based and applicants are chosen according to their individual fit to a certain project.

“As I am pursuing a double major with honors in economics and anthropology, I was expected to approach the project with a diversified perspective.”

In addition to a monthly stipend, interns receive on-campus, guesthouse accommodation, round-trip airfare, medical insurance and a health club membership.

The internship provides students with opportunities to explore and experience the culture of India and gain exposure to its emerging market.

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