Dolby Laboratories intern Nikhil (pronounced “Nick Hill”) Rathi is drawn to the unknown. That’s one reason he chose an internship at Dolby over one at antivirus company McAfee: “I knew what I would do in McAfee, but I was kind of very curious what I would do in Dolby. … That’s why I joined Dolby.”

One of the first surprises was just how busy he would be. On his first day, Rathi’s new manager, David McDonough, Director of Enterprise Data Management, explained his workload for the migration project his team was in the middle of. “And I was like, ‘Today is my first day.’ And he said, ‘Yeah, we’ve got a lot of work to do.’ … So from day one, I jumped into a pool of work.”

New to the tools and processes that IT was trying out, Rathi, a master’s student in information technology management at the University of Texas at Dallas, proved to be the ideal tester: “I was doing all the testing for them before we migrated all these things to end users.” He also worked on verification and analysis of reports created by current business intelligence tools, and he helped create training materials. Once the new tools were rolled out, he went to work training others: “I must have attended 10 to 12 sessions where I trained users how to use the respective tools which we are launching, so [it was] a pretty wide scope of responsibility.”

But his internship was not all work.

Dolby Recruiting’s new intern program provided opportunities for summer interns to meet weekly with executives over lunch to learn about current and new business initiatives. Interns also got to know one another over meals and during outings to museums, sports events, and recreational areas.

“I loved that,” said Rathi, 26, who had worked for three years in a large IT company in his native Mumbai, India, after getting a degree in electronics.

When he’s not at work, Rathi is likely to be exploring San Francisco on foot, camera in hand, and talking with people he meets. Or he might do some “random writing” on his laptop that he’ll put to paper during his commute. You read that right: this IT guy likes paper. “I still like reading a hard [copy] book. … I’m still that old-fashioned,” he said.

He’s a man of contrasts, drawn to looking at the other side of whatever captures his attention. Not too long ago, he was thinking about traditional weddings in India, where celebrations begin a month in advance and the ritual lasts three days. “I don’t buy that,” he said simply. But he started to think about the opposite point of view, talking the issue over with his mother, who loves the tradition. Sitting side-by-side with her, Rathi completed a series of 11 two-page rhyming poems in Hindi, contrasting their points of view. The humorous piece proved popular with family, who asked for more and more copies to share; he eventually gave away several thousand.

When his internship formally ended in August, Rathi’s manager asked whether he might like to stay on a while. Rathi said yes, and he will be in San Francisco through late November.

“I learned more in [the summer] internship than in one year of my academic programs, not just about the technical aspect but about the way you think, what users are looking for, how to sell yourself.

“Those small things, how to communicate with your manager, how to communicate with a group of 10 people, how to conduct a training for end users,” Rathi said. “All these things … make you a better candidate, better speaker, better employee.”

After the internship ends in November, Rathi will return to Dallas. He plans to complete his master’s degree in May 2014 and start looking for full-time work.

If you’re a college student, graduate student, or new graduate interested in an internship, please visit the Dolby Careers page and contact us (use “University Relations team in HR” in the subject line).