Completing an internship in Mumbai will make for a dynamic adventure in India's business and fashion capital. Internships typically last around two to six months and there's much to be gained in that time.You'll learn valuable job skills to boost your resume while gaining cultural awareness both in and out of the office.
No matter where you choose to spend work hours, take advantage of free moments to relax, shop, and enjoy the distinct flavors of India. With India's largest population, Mumbai offers something for everyone. You can dine nightly at the finest restaurants in the country, or scale back and enjoy flavor-filled food for only a few bucks.
While Mumbai is not the best location for parks and green scenery, the beach offers a nice change of pace. Forts, religious sites, and even a ride on the train are other popular tourist experiences. There are also plenty of day trips from Mumbai that will make your weekends unforgettable.
Business and Finance
Mumbai's coastal location has historically made it a hub of commerce and trade; so the thriving financial district, around the Bandra Kurla Complex, is a great place to get your start in the business world.
You can typically learn a wider range of skills by working at a start-up but the pay will probably be lower or non-existent when compared to a company with a global presence. A bigger company will also be more likely to hire several interns each year. This can be a pro or a con depending on how you look at it.
No matter which company you intern with, you will need to be proficient in Microsoft Office and Excel. Some organizations want experience with Tally as well.
Possible responsibilities include completing financial reports, working with accounts payable and receivable, cost and vendor management, assessing and presenting data, helping with financial reports, and organizing files for audits.
Mumbai is well known for its involvement in the world of high fashion. You'll find fewer openings for interns in fashion than you will in business, but if you have an eye for design, photography, and latest trends, a fashion internship in Mumbai could be the perfect choice for you.
Interns will assist with photo shoots, content curation for websites, merchandising, inventory management, and fashion styling. Getting this type of experience will be invaluable for a future in fashion.
Having experience with Microsoft Office is a must. You should be familiar with Adobe Photoshop and WordPress as well. Each company will likely have a unique list of requirements, so planning ahead is a good idea. That way you can get training in specific programs if necessary.
There are a wide variety of other available internships in Mumbai. You can find spots in content writing, film, science, psychology, and many more. If you plan to apply directly, rather than having a third party arrange the placement, you can use internship search engines specifically for India and filter the results to find just what you need.
Planning Your Trip
Cost of Living
If you find a paid internship it probably won't cover the cost of rent (about $600 per month in the city). So you will want to come to Mumbai with savings or another regular income. An inexpensive meal can be around $3, but you can easily spend much more without realizing it at one of Mumbai's many upscale restaurants.
Many companies will recognize the inherent difficulties in finding a place to live when you are not from the country. They will usually offer assistance in choosing a good location or placing you with other interns to split rent.
If no help is offered, line up a place to stay for the first couple of weeks while you search for something more permanent. If you go through a third party provider or agency, housing arrangements will be taken care of completely.
Mumbai is India's most heavily populated city. The traffic combined with the heat and unique customs can often be a trigger for culture shock. Knowing what to expect can help. Keep these tips in mind:
- Mumbai's weather is most pleasant from October to February, March to May will be very hot and humid, and June through September is rainy with a chance of monsoons.
- Try to live as close as possible to your workplace as rush hour traffic can be horrendous. Peak travel times are 7-11 a.m. and 4:30-8:30 p.m. Avoid bus and train travel during these times if possible.
- Take a rickshaw ride for fun, not to get to your destination by a particular time. Cabs are more reliable.
- You don't have to tip rickshaw or cab drivers.
- Greet people with a handshake.
- Don't stand with your hands on your hips as this is seen as being aggressive.
- Don't point to people with your fingers or feet. Try using your chin to point. Don't touch anyone on the head.
- When visiting religious sites, women should dress conservatively and cover their hair with a shawl or scarf.
India has a visa specific to people coming for an internship. It will last up to one year, but if the internship is shorter, the visa will be shorter too. You will need to be hired at a company before the visa application will go through. It is likely that the company you intern with, or the placement agency, will assist you with the visa process.
Health & Safety
Staying safe in Mumbai is very similar to staying safe in any other major city. You are much less likely to experience crime if you go out in groups, keep your belongings close to your body, and in the evenings visit places that have crowds and lights. In general, using common sense can be your best protection.
There are a few precautions that are specific to India that you should be aware of. Staying hydrated is important everywhere but with Mumbai's high heat, having a water bottle nearby is especially important. Do not drink tap water anywhere in Mumbai. Use sunscreen, a hat, or an umbrella as protection from the sun.
Tightly packed trains can be an opportunity for pickpockets to get away with theft. Be on the lookout and women are advised to spend a little extra money on a women's only compartment ticket.
Drivers in Mumbai tend to ignore traffic laws so be careful crossing roads and avoid getting behind a wheel yourself. Most tourists who try it end up frustrated at best -- or wrecked at worst.
Indian cuisine is not to be missed but don't choose restaurants that are sparsely attended or particularly dirty. Also, a cheap menu might be an appealing way to save money, but use caution as the cheaper places can sometimes leave you sick for days.
If you are carrying food around while walking, keep it covered so the monkeys aren't tempted to take a taste.