Carnegie Mellon University

Ojas Vora

August 16, 2019

Internship: Getting Real-World Experience at Volvo Startup

Ojas Vora just completed the first half of his dual degree, CEE / Technology Ventures (MSTV). This summer he’s working as a solution concept developer intern for Volvo Group, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of trucks, buses, construction equipment and marine and industrial engines. His projects include work on intelligent transportation systems, smart cities, electro-mobility, and connected solutions.

CEE: Tell us about your summer internship:

Ojas: As a solution concept developer intern, I’ve been assigned to a number of projects. One involved using various analysis skills and tools to clean and analyze truck data. Another allowed me to use my design thinking skills to create user personas, customer journey maps, and ideate solutions.

I’ve also had the opportunity to use concepts from the Smart Cities domain to increase connectedness, safety, and to develop a smart strategy. My work has been multi-dimensional, giving me great exposure to what it means to work in a startup.

CEE: How did you learn about the internship?

Ojas: The MSTV degree requires that complete an internship—preferably in a startup environment. Professor Sheryl Root helped me to find internship openings by creating a database of Silicon Valley contacts. Thanks to her, I connected with my current internship boss, Jenny Elfsberg. I applied for the position and made it through many rounds of interviews to work with the Volvo Group team.

CEE: Did you experience at CEE help to prepare you for the internship?

Ojas: Many classes prepared me for my work this summer. Smart Cities: Growth and Intelligent Transportation Systems (Professor Sean Qian) helped me tremendously in one of my projects related to Smart Cities.

Professor Qian’s Infrastructure Management course also provided a strong foundation in machine learning concepts—I used this during data analysis.

I’m also grateful for Professor Matteo Pozzi's Data Management and Urban Systems Modeling classes. And because I often used Python, I’m glad that I took Professor Pine Liu's class focused on Fundamental Python Prototype.

CEE: What’s been the best part of your summer internship?

Ojas: The best part was of the internship learning 'to expect the unexpected.' When I started this experience, I never thought I would be working on so many projects, doing so many different things. It was exciting to be treated like an employee—I’m a competitive person and love challenges, so I accepted the opportunity to lead a project and successfully completed it.

CEE: What would you say to CEE students thinking about pursuing an internship?

Ojas: Companies want to know what you will bring to the table. Be sure to apply with a cover letter that lets the company know what you can do—don’t send just a resume. Follow-up is also important and should happen within a few weeks of sending your initial application.

Once you get to the interview process, talk about the topics you are most familiar with (if you can). Always sound motivated and eager to explore—this gives the company a positive vibe about you.