Internships at Athena Infonomics: Develop through Data

Internships at Athena Infonomics: Develop through Data

An internship at Athena Infonomics allows you to develop, both professionally and by creating an impact in people’s everyday lives through the use of data. It offers a 360 degree view of the development sector, allowing you to contribute to projects for some very prestigious clients. Athena supports multilaterals, federal and provincial governments, private sector, international NGOs and more, across a variety of sectors.

Since being founded in 2010, our portfolio has grown to over 130 projects. We’ve served over 60 clients in more than 25 countries across 20 sectors. Many of our current employees started out as interns. The kind of work that Athena does, such as creating a liveability index for India’s 111 smart cities or developing a Monitoring, Learning and Evidence (MLE) tool for Faecal Sludge Management (FSM) gives interns an exposure that enables them to better map their future career path.

How do our intern alumni feel? Susannah Horton and Adam Weber interned at Athena in 2017, post which they joined the World Bank. Below is an account of their internship experience in their own words.

Susannah Horton interned with Athena as a summer analyst for 3 months. Her internship gave her the opportunity to have her first article published on Devex. You can also read her interview with Athena’s co-founder Vijay here.

Susannah Horton“I was an intern at Athena Infonomics during the summer of 2017 while earning my master’s in International Development and Economics at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).

I recall writing in my application about my excitement to work in an environment where analytical rigor fuels creative solutions for development challenges. In reflection, that is exactly what my experience at Athena allowed me to do. Throughout the internship I could be found troubleshooting Stata code for a transit mapping exercise, writing R scripts to web-scrape online databases, or sitting in the shared workspace learning new skills on QGIS.

At Athena I was able to apply the technical skills I learned in the classroom to practical yet innovative development projects. I imagine you could have a similar skill-building experience anywhere. However, Athena not only offered technical exploration and growth, but also a uniquely collaborative professional experience. As a young company, Athena has an “all hands on deck” feel which creates a learning rich environment. I was able to bulk up my resume not only with technical skills but with experience in business development, project feasibility, and market research. I repeatedly find myself referencing projects I worked on at Athena as evidence of my ability to problem solve on a diverse team in a fast-paced environment.

As a fast-growing company, new ideas were welcomed and taking initiative was encouraged. Staff at all levels were willing to explain their projects, areas of expertise, and approaches to engaging with new work. By the end of the summer I became accustomed to overhearing discussions on improving M&E frameworks and ramping up business development strategies.

During my summer internship I also experienced important personal growth. My ability to be flexible and engage cross-culturally expanded as did my knowledge about India – its diversity, history, and development challenges. I took advantage of living in India for 10 weeks and found myself wandering through tea plantations in Munnar, watching a local surf competition in Mahabalipuram, and, of course, staying up late with co-workers in Chennai. Going into my summer internship I never would have guessed that I would emerge proficient in web-scraping or with a tendency for a 4pm spicy idli craving. Anything is possible and that is the type of attitude this fast-growing company invokes.”

Adam Weber worked on proposal development and explored business development processes during his 3 month internship at Athena.

Adam Weber“My internship with Athena contributed to my professional and personal growth. In terms of career experience, I learned about the basics of business development, working alongside Athena staff to develop a proposal for DFID to aid workers in India’s tea gardens. I also learned how Athena cultivates relationships with potential partner organizations, such as the state government of Tamil Nadu.

This experience proved to be valuable for me during my job search, as it gave me specific examples of business development experience that I could point to during job interviews. I have found that potential employers are pleasantly surprised that I have such experience.

Personally, the internship gave me the chance to visit India for the first time, and living in Chennai was a wonderful opportunity to learn about the amazingly diverse cultures of South India and the country as a whole. With over a billion people and the world’s third largest economy, India is obviously at the forefront of global development.

It was exciting to learn about the innovative projects that Athena and other organizations are supporting there. I was also able to see first-hand the challenges as well as the opportunities in supporting low-income communities. I have already re-visited India since my internship, and hope to visit again and again, each time learning a bit more about this beautiful and complex country.”

To see our current internship and job openings, click here.

John Harvey
John is a former UN Women (South Asia MCO) intern and freelance writer. His clients include Huffington Post and WSSCC (Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council). John holds a bachelor’s degree in the study of religions, and master’s degree in development studies from SOAS (University of London).