The Tata Experience

Overview | Application | Projects | Awardees | The Tata Experience

Tata Social Internship 2018 hosts 15 international students in sustainability learning programmes in India
Tata Social Internship 2018 - Press Release, Aug 2018
Prof Munis D Faruqui, director, Institute for South Asia Studies, University of California Berkeley, said, "I had the privilege of watching UC Berkeley students share their experience in the Tata Social Internship. Deeply moved by the unparalleled learning opportunities presented to them, each student appreciated the ground-breaking work, recognised the larger eco system and eagerly anticipated future opportunities. It’s impressive to see the foresight of Tata Sons in creating such a unique programme and the extraordinary value it offered to Berkeley’s students over the decade."

Media coverage on select 2017 Tata Interns 

Poway High School grad returns from India internship 
On Margaux Payton's Tata internship
Poway News Chieftain
By Emily Sorensen, August 15, 2017

From Mendocino to India, Mei Lin & 1000 Schools Project 
On Mei Lin Jackson's Tata internship
The Mendocino Beacon
By Mary Rose Kaczorowski, September 21, 2017

Empowering Indian Communities Through Tata Social Internship 
On Gopika Mavalankar's Tata internship
India West
By Gopika Mavalankar, August 15, 2017

Lifetime Lessons in a Faraway Land 
On Katie Jocelyn's Tata internship
The Vista Press
By Katie Jocelyn, August 5, 2016

2016 intern Chelsea Muennichow's work as a Tata intern at the Tata Medical Center in Kolkata was accepted for publication in the journal Infection Control Hospital Epidemiology, a UK based scientific journal. She has been listed as a corresponding author in the article. 

2016 CAL Tata intern, Damanjot Chatha and the Tata internship that she did in India gets featured in the Davis Enterprise, a daily newspaper for Davis: UCD student reflects on ‘doing selfless work’ in India.

2016 CAL Tata intern, Adora Svitak on her India Experience
Misadventures on Indian Rail, and Delhi, Day 3, two blog posts by Adora Svitak, a 2016 Tata Intern, on her experience living and traveling in India while she was interning at Tata Communications, New Delhi during the summer of 2016.

2015 CAL Tata intern, Saptati (Priya) Bhattacharjee's work at the Tata Medical Center leads to a chapter titled, Effects of Intellectual Property Rights on Innovation and Development, Chapter 4. in: Roy K and Dutta SS (editors). Ethical Practice in Medicine: Contemporary Commentaries. Kolkata Network for Promotion of Ethics in Medicine. 1st edition 2016, Kolkata, India. Pp 34-52.

2015 CAL Tata intern, Gurchit Chatha and the Tata internship that he did in India gets featured in India West: Tata Social Internship Provides Professional, Personal Growth.

2013 Tata intern, Reshma E Varghese's work on cancer treatment at the Tata Medical Center leads to a published paper
The doctors at the Tata Medical Center in Kolkata, with the support of two Tata Social Interns (one from Berkeley and one from Cambridge), studied doctor-patient communications in a systematic way with a focus on involvement of families in India. Their study shows (contrary to popular belief) that almost all patients want to know about their illness and decide on their treatment alongside their families. They do not like to be excluded from the decision making process. Their results were published in the European Journal of Cancer Care, as a paper titled, "Pivotal role of families in doctor–patient communication in oncology: a qualitative study of patients, their relatives and cancer clinicians." Please click the link to read the paper

An Introduction to Tata Trusts
A short video on Tata Trusts made by 2015 CAL Tata intern, Yohei Kato during his summer interning for them

2013 CAL Tata intern, Souma Kundu on her India Experience

Summer Adventure
a blog by Souma Kunda, a 2013 Tata Intern, on her experience at the Tata Medical Center in Kolkata, West Bengal during the summer of 2013. Included below are some pictures from Souma's blog. She is the second person from the right (in the blue shirt) in the first picture. All pictures were taken by Souma and include other members of the 2013 Tata cohort.


2012 CAL Tata interns on their India Experience
Hindustan Times 31/7/2012

click on picture for larger view

Bridge Across Boundaries
A 22-minute long video documentary on the Tata Experience by past interns

Tuks Tuks and Tata
a blog by the 2011 Tata Interns

We are the Summer 2011 Tata International Social Entrepreneurship Scheme Fellows/Interns and we are spread out throughout India for 2 months from June-July working on different Corporate Social Responsibility projects. There are 5 of us from the University of California, Berkeley, 1 from UC Davis, 8 from Cambridge, and 5 from the London School of Economics. This blog is the Berkeley students’ account of their work and life experiences in India…

Our projects and locations are:

  • Elisa: Farmers cooperative with backward and forward linkages in Mithapur (Gujarat)
  • Stephanie: Pond management and Livelihood promotion in Haldia (West Bengal)
  • Emma: Assessment of Knowledge, Attitude and Practice of mothers on Maternal & Child Health issues in Jamshedpur (Jharkhand)
  • Emily: Diffusion of Climate Change Abatement Practices in Tata Companies in Pune (Maharashtra)
  • Michael: Plan and develop an International Volunteer Programme for the new cancer hospital in Kolkata (West Bengal)
  • David: Establish a Marketing and Communication Program at the new cancer hospital in Kolkata (West Bengal)

CS in the City
by Kate Lyons, 2009 Tata Intern
(Winning essay in the 2009 Tata Essay Contest)

In the United States, distrust of big business is as American as apple pie. At University of California, Berkeley, a far-left college both geographically and politically (A.K.A. Socialist HQ), we are trained to be suspicious of large, multi-national conglomerates such as Tata. Described by America’s right-wing as “commie-liberal-pinko-socialist-treehugger-populist-peaceniks”, Berkeley students are known to nurture a deep mistrust of white collar corporate thugs; the corporate “man”, homo corporatus, is to be disdained for his conspiracy against economic and social equality.

In reality, these stereotypes are distortions of a complex truth. Students are taught to be critical, but it is incorrect to describe all Berkeley students as liberal fanatics, precisely as unfair as characterizing all corporations as menaces to society. Although I was aware of this before I left the US for India to work with Tata on some Corporate Sustainability (CS) initiatives, I still maintained some bias against big business: including considering CS as a publicity stunt to boost a corporation’s image, rather than a genuine effort for significant change. In all honestly, my inner pinko was ready to meticulously dissect Tata, (particularly Tata Teleservices Limited, TTSL) and its “sustainable initiatives” with scathing principled discernment. I was in for a surprise.

Over the past three weeks, I have encountered exceptionally dedicated individuals—people so committed to improving the world they are an inspiration. Every single TTSL CS initiative that I have observed is genuine and effective, all contributing to economic empowerment and sustainable change, rather than the assumed corporate lip-serviced, blunt charity.

Added to this discovery was another realization. When traveling to India, an expectation exists for students to undergo a dramatic philosophical revelation upon arrival, something I failed to encounter. Stepping on the hot, humid, Mumbai tarmac, one is expecting to be swept away by the requisite “Eat, Pray, Love / Shantaram” romanticism of the Third World that has so recently given the chick lit genre and tourism industry such a boost. My own lack of sudden emotional breakthrough, (or breakdown, for that matter) first made me feel that I would have to add “incorrigible-self-centered-shallow-20-something-materialist” to my previous appellation, but then I had a REAL revelation. This romantic “India experience” is in itself packaged and forced, commodified and objectified: a sort of nouveau Orientalism that encourages self-righteous self-discovery instead of pompous Western-superiority. Thinking this way misses the larger point, which in itself is more fantastic: India is ordinary. My experience here has shown me how refreshingly approachable India is, and seeing through the cloud of contrived exoticism has revealed a straightforward reality. The same concerns exist here: anxiety for the impoverished, crusade for public awareness, struggle between empathy and apathy. It is counterproductive to concentrate on perceived differences—it is better to celebrate our striking similarities, generating esteem for each other (and all that the other has to offer). This perspective has enabled me to learn a lot from the CS work TTSL is engaged in, and shown me how I can apply the same strategy to programs back home, in making American Corporate Sustainability as real as I have seen it to be in India.

TTSL has incorporated amazing projects in a community that is comparable to our own; proving that effective and sustainable change is possible. So, I’m proud of my involvement in this large, multinational conglomerate. It’s shown me that the inner commie-liberal-pinko-socialist-treehugger-populist-peacenik can fight towards social innovation with the help of the corporate elite, in the urban comfort of the city. Now, THAT is a revolution.

Read about the experiences of past Tata Interns, click here

Tata Picture Gallery, click here

Video of 2009 Berkeley-Tata Student Symposium, click here.