It’s a no-brainer that internships & training are indeed extremely helpful in career development & progression. When it comes to the biotechnology sector, internships are even more than important. Being a very practical and research-oriented field, biotechnology students should undertake training and internships during their studies.
Very often, I receive queries from students that they are struggling to find a job after B.Sc., B.Tech., or M.Sc. in Biotechnology. When I go through their resumes, one of the major flaws is the lack of considerable practical exposure.
Biotechnology is not at all a theoretical field. Additionally, it’s also a very broad & dynamic. As a biotechnology graduate, you might work at a pharmaceutical R&D lab, QA division of a food company, in the field testing soil composition or biofuels, in a corporate office as a medical writer or scientific journalist, and even as a sales & marketing personnel.
The competition in the biotechnology space is immense – both for getting a job or getting admission into a top university abroad. Hence, getting equipped with all the necessary skills – technical and soft is very critical to stay competitive in the biotechnology job market in India.
So, where to do the internship from? Where to get the training from? There are many academic and research institutes that offer internships to biotechnology students in India. However, the number of openings are way too less for the huge population of biotechnology students in India. In order to meet the market demand, quite a few institutes and biotechnology companies have started offering training programs.
While compiling a list of biotechnology internships and summer training for undergraduate students in India, I was researching a few biotech companies and startups in India. One company that really caught my attention is SHRM Biotechnologies. SHRM is one of the pioneers of preparing professionals with the right mindset and skill set to leverage the potential of Biotechnology. The company offers high quality and intensive training programmes in various biotechnology sub-domains.
Additionally, SHRM was awarded the Best Biotech Training Provider in Eastern India in 2018. The award was given by Mr. Parshottam Khodabhai Rupala, Union Minister of State for Panchayati Raj, Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.
I interviewed Mr. Kunal Vora, Co-founder & Vice President of SHRM Biotechnologies Pvt. Ltd., to know more about the company, lab, training programs for biotechnology students, partnerships, Govt. accolades, and many more.
Biotechnology Training, Research Projects, and Job Guidance
Q&A with Kunal Vora, Co-Founder & VP, SHRM Biotechnologies
Would you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Kunal: Sure. I come from a modest family of business background from Kolkata and started my own venture – SHRM Biotechnologies Pvt Ltd in the year 2006. I have completed my Graduation from Bangalore University in Commerce and completed my Post Graduation (MBA) from Kolkata specializing in Finance. Prior to starting SHRM Biotechnologies, I was associated and worked with Global Consultancy Advisory Firm – Ernst & Young (EY) and was also associated with Ocwen Financial Solution.
How did you get into Entrepreneurship?
Kunal: I always dreamt of becoming an Entrepreneur, and my family was already into business, so from my childhood, I felt the taste of business, it was just a matter of time, to understand in which industry I would like to venture into.
What motivated you to start a biotech firm?
Kunal: I always had an objective very clear to me, which was I would only venture my entrepreneurial journey into an industry or put my stakes when there are not many players in the field, as I always believed in maximum risk with better chances of returns, herewith I invested in Biotechnology Industry.
In the early 2000’s it was an era of information technology (IT), everybody in the space was investing in IT Businesses, so as any product/ service line, I felt in a few years IT industry would be in a saturation mode, and there won’t be any much exorbitant growth, it would remain as a platform and would cater to all the industry line, whereas Biotech was just getting to grow, there was still a lot of space left and even a lot of space is still left – unheard of, which would eventually keep growing.
So that was a motivating point that made business sense to invest in the Biotechnology industry. SHRM Biotech is established in the year 2006, and it’s been more than 10 years of our journey to date.
How large is the company?
Kunal: SHRM Biotech Training Service is set up in an area of 3500sq ft of office space, which consists of 50% lab space.
In regard to Staff – we have more than 15 people directly working with us and around 50+ more people on contractual terms.
Tell us about your (company’s) Services and/or Products?
Kunal: SHRM Biotechnologies have 2 divisions – SHRM Biotech Training Service & SHRM Biotech Manufacturing.
In SHRM Biotech Training Service – we have the following services:-
- Biotechnology on Hands Training/Projects
- Biotechnology Bio-Incubator services for new entrepreneurs
- Job Assistance
- Online Programmes from Seaway Laboratories, Singapore (our channel partner)
- Workshops / Seminars on trends – careers in Biotechnology / Life Sciences
In regard to SHRM Manufacturing – we are into:
- Contractual Manufacturer for Animal Feeds
- Business Consultancy in regard to any Life Science / Biotech division
How does SHRM help biotechnology students?
Kunal: We train students in the following area of Biotechnology in regard to Hands-on Training or Projects:-
- Molecular Biology & Genetics
- Microbiology – Industrial/Clinical/medical
- Food Biotechnology
- Agro Biotech
- Dairy Technology
- Plant Tissue Culture
- Environmental Biotechnology
- Cell Biology / Biochemistry etc.
Duration of Summer Training and Project
- Hands-on Training usually last from 15 – 30 days (max. 45 days)
- Projects are basically from 45 days onwards till 6 Months
We also try to bio incubate Fresh & new Commercial Ideas of the students in the vast field of Life Sciences / Biotechnology, where we try to help them with funds, make a Business plan and give it to seed – angel investors / Banking forum, etc.
Could you please give us an idea about the fee structures of the training programs?
Kunal: We have kept our fees very economically when compared to the industry standards.
- Our 15 days fee is Rs 7500 + Taxes
- 1 month Fees – Rs 9000 + taxes
- 2 months Project is Rs 12000 + taxes
- 4 months Project is Rs 25000 + taxes
Why do you think students should opt for paid projects in the Biotech sector?
Kunal: As per my understanding – Free Projects & Training are mostly considered in the Govt Sectors (academic institutes), but if any candidate who really wants to get the skill set in regard to biotech training should apply for private/company training.
Company training is mostly paid – as the cost of chemicals/reagents/machinery and instrumentation in life science is very expensive.
In today’s competitive economy, one must invest in herself/himself!
Does SHRM offer any other support to the students (placements etc.)?
Kunal: We don’t guarantee any confirm jobs to any of the students in regard to the placements, but we provide each and every candidate at least 10-15 Core Biotech job openings.
We help them to make their CV, brush their communication skills, and interview skills.
Has SHRM got any partnerships or collaboration?
Kunal: We have collaborated with Seaway Laboratories – a Singapore based company for Research & Pharma Training Programmes.
Apart from that, we are a member of the Chamber of Commerce’s, Biotech Consortium Bodies, etc.
We are also in talks with a few well-known universities for Knowledge Partners.
We are also going to become a member of the Life Science Skill Sector Council – NSDC – Govt. of India initiative.
Need Career and Job Guidance in Biotechnology? Book a 1:1 Counselling Session!
Any key achievements or milestones that you would like to share with our readers?
Kunal: SHRM Biotechnologies is recognized by the Department of Biotechnology, Govt of India, and Dept of Biotechnology, Govt of West Bengal.
We have received a few awards like:-
- THE BEST TRAINING PROVIDER – EASTERN ZONE – 2018” By HON’BLE UNION MINISTER OF STATE – AGRICULTURE –
- THE EXCELLENCE IN TRAINING – 2017” By HON’BLE GOVERNORS OF ODISHA & TRIPURA
- CONTRIBUTOR TO SOCIETY – ADAMAS UNIVERSITY, – by Prof Samit Ray – Chancellor Adamas University
- International Kohinoor Award” – By Global Achievers Foundation, Bangkok
Any future plans in terms of career guidance for students from biotechnology & life sciences background?
Kunal: The Company plans to get into Bio Tutorials / NET – GATE Coaching center
Conduct Full-Time Degree Course – MBA Biotechnology
In regard to Manufacturing, we are getting into Agro Biotechnology & Dairy.
What would be your career advice to the Biotechnology students?
Kunal: Students basically feel that undergoing the Biotech course would lead to NO jobs.
But, apart from the core areas like R&D, Regulatory Affairs, Clinical / Quality Control, Manufacturing, Marketing, etc., there are many more avenues where a student can actually seek a job in the biotech division – which is unaware – untalked about.
Everyone cannot become a Scientist. Students should also consider careers as Technical writers, Graphic Designers, Lawyers, Public relations specialists, logistics experts, bio-statisticians, etc.
Tanmoy: Thanks a lot for your time and insights, Kunal.
Kunal: Thank you.
Currently, SHRM Biotech and Stoodnt are partners for the following two summer programs for high school students: