"I use Slack and have dedicated a fixed time to effectively communicate with the Students" - Samarth
We had a chat with our fellow InternLink mentor, Samarth Goyal who has been mentoring the students on the project "E-Commerce Product Tracker". Samarth was part of our "Beta-Phase" mentors, who started the project cycle earlier than other mentors to give us an insight into what is working and what is not. Let's take a look into Samarth's journey so far...
1. So Samarth, can you tell us a little about your background?
I completed my undergrad in Computer Science and a post-grad in Economics. I am a distributed system developer working with Amazon for the past 3 years in their global advertisement platform team.
2. Tell us why you chose to be a mentor on InternLink.
Internships have played a pivotal role in my career, from providing great learning experiences to getting a Pre Placement Offer. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, it was disheartening to see thousands of students lose their internships. InternLink felt like a great platform to give back the lost opportunities to the students.
3. Tell us about the project you are mentoring.
People looking to buy any product would want to buy it at a minimum possible price. They would also want to buy a product that satisfies their needs and has a positive outlook in the market with regards to its performance, aesthetics and prestige. We want to build a service that can help buyers make a well-informed purchasing decision at the right time. Our product will track product prices on different e-commerce sites and alert the user when the price drops. It will also track available product attributes and features and inform their user when the headphones they want are available in their favourite colour. It can also be extended to perform a sentiment analysis over product reviews across different sites to give a better purchase recommendation to the user. Being in Amazon, I can see a requirement of such a product and would love to build it with interested students!
4. How many students are you mentoring?
I have already started working with 2 students and 2 more students will be joining once the phase-1 starts.
5. How do you interact with the students?
I use Slack as a medium of communication, wherein I have created a common channel to interact with students. One of the best parts is that both of the students are on the same channel, which helps them connect, brainstorm ideas & share their experiences amongst themselves. Keeping a single mode of communication medium has made the entire process streamlined, which has been effective for me.
6. How do you manage full-time work and InternLink students at the same time?
I have defined a fixed time every day where I interact with the students. This way I can balance work and the InternLink project more effectively. Additionally, this helps in bridging the gaps because of the time zone differences.
7. Any tips for the fellow mentors and students who will be starting their journey?
For Mentors: As I said earlier, using a communication platform like Slack which helps consolidate and streamline all conversations in one place and dedicating a fixed timing to interact with the students helps. Also, a few things which might be very trivial for us, would not be as trivial or even difficult for students. So be patient with them, make sure you have given them plenty of resources, leads and time to explore things on their own. You should see things getting streamlined after 1-2 weeks into the project. Another tip that I found useful, is to breakdown the entire project into small tasks/ KPIs that you can review periodically.
For Students: Anything is possible if you are willing to learn. Things might be overwhelming at the beginning (which is a good indication that you are learning something new) but, you will get back on track if you keep at it. Also, understand that the mentors are full time working professionals and might not be available all the time. So try to resolve the issues on your own as much as possible. This will also help you be very clear when you ask doubts. Remember, the goal here is not only to complete the project, but also to learn.