A balancing act

Originally published in the 2016 edition of Innovation magazine

By Chris Adam, Purdue Marketing and Media

Abhishek Balaji doesn’t believe in working at a work-life balance.

He says life will balance itself if work is simply considered to be a key part of life. And Balaji should know — as a junior in computer and information technology, he has already completed two internships and worked on three undergraduate research projects all while being involved in several campus organizations.

Originally from Singapore, Balaji says he chose Purdue after visiting campus and discovering the many opportunities available to Polytechnic students inside and outside the classroom.

Balaji started his freshman year ambitiously with a research project on how pilots use Twitter to help make decisions. His next project analyzed geographic data to measure earthquake impact. In yet another undergraduate research project, he developed communication protocols for emergency personnel during cyber threats.

“My motivation in research is to push the boundaries on certain aspects of knowledge,” Balaji says. “Research allows you to go into an area and really make an impact through your discoveries.”

Balaji believes internships are another excellent way for students to experience the real-world applications of what they learn in the classroom. He has completed a business-analyst internship with Sanovi Technologies and a business and data analyst internship with Salesforce.“My internships have been the best way for me to verify that what I am learning in the classroom is truly applicable to industry,” he says.

Balaji says his courses at Purdue prepared him very well for the internships because his professors gave him a strong combination of theoretical knowledge and the ability to solve problems.

“I am able to see the connections and also discover for myself what I really hope to get out of my degree and where I would like to go after Purdue,” he says. “The biggest surprise during my internships has been the level to which people at the companies are willing to go to help an intern solve a problem or better understand a work project.”

Balaji says that among his best decisions as a student has been to be involved in several campus organizations and activities, including Boiler Gold Rush, Purdue Polytechnic Student Ambassadors and the Association of Information Technology Professionals.

“Campus organizations and activities allow me to blend my social and academic lives to create a solid experience at Purdue,” he says.