My stay at IIT Kharagpur -A synopsis

Mathematics has always been my favorite and when I got Mathematics & Computing, IIT Kharagpur I was on cloud nine. I did a quick Google and landed to the official site of our institute. That was the first time and also the last time when I had paid close attention to each of the tabs in the site. The five years of stay at this land has been phenomenal. I know time flies but this fast, I had no idea.

So I started my first year with full innocence, attended almost all my classes the first few days after which I came to know about this beautiful concept–proxy. The first year passed mostly in making new friends, understanding DC++, giving auditions for societies I had no idea about whatsoever, celebrating birthdays–GPLand attending a few classes. Needless to say, I had screwed my CGPA badly.

Something happened in the very beginning of 2nd year. I got serious with my academics, a little and then I met Professor G.P Raja Sekhar. Well, he needs no introduction. We had 9 credits under him, such a strict professor he was that I managed to attend almost all his classes even the 7:30 ones. That helped and I ended up improving my CGPA. Thank you Sir. I owe this one to you.

Third year went normal –attending a few more classes, this time in our department mostly. I had my internship at IDRBT–an RBI institute in Hyderabad. I feel this internship opportunity is highly under-rated. I urge all you juniors to have a look at this opportunity. I met some juniors and a few seniors of our department. One can find a Kgpian in almost every city. Two months internship got over like a breeze.

Fourth year, this is the time when you get to know the real competition –internship season. Some 10 students could manage to get an internship offer from TnP. The rest of us tried our luck off-campus. I landed up in Mumbai at CRISIL Limited for internship. Mumbai is a city full of life and happenings.

Then came the final year –the placement season. You end up attending more PPTs than your classes. This green site–TnP automatically becomes your homepage. You study more in these four months than all of your first four years combined. A typical day consists of getting CV reviews from your seniors, discussing puzzles, brushing up your coding skills, solving case studies and attending some PPTs. Being proactive is the key. Be well prepared and you will bag your dream job quite easily. Talk to relevant seniors –they know a lot.

I was offered the job of statistical analyst at WalmartLabs. The interview revolved mostly around Statistics, my internships and a few puzzles. Having placed, the last semester is a total delight. You are about to leave your institute so all your emotional chords get stroked.  You wonder doing all things which you might have missed during your four years stay at IIT Kharagpur.

I wish all the very best to my junior batch in their future endeavors.
You won’t get a life like Kgp anywhere else.  Make it count.

P.S: I had written this article for submission in my department’s annual magazine.

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Pre-Placement Talk snippets

I’d attended PPTs. (Pre-placement Talks) of almost all the companies I’d interest in during my placement time. Many students find attending PPTs a waste of time. I was not one of them.

I liked attending PPTs. I felt they gave me continuous motivation to be consistent in my preparation. I remember the first PPT I’d attended. It was EXL and it felt like almost every final year student was in that room. Not a single chair in Kalidas Auditorium was unoccupied.

Looking at such a big crowd of students in that auditorium, me and my friend looked at each other with confused looks. We exchanged these words.

Me: “Yaar Rahul, yaha toh bahot log hai be. Competition tagda hai be.”
Rahul: “Ho jaaega be. Naukri hi toh hai.”

Yes the competition is going to be tough. So be prepared. I’m not trying to scare you. I’m just saying give your best shot at preparing for the companies you’re interested in. It’s just a matter of few months. I remember I’d studied more in that semester than all the previous semesters combined. This semester is an opportunity to learn the maximum out of your college life. Make it count.

Following are the snippets of some of the companies I could find in my mobile.

  1. FICo
    • Define score card for banking and lending institutions
    • Clients include DB, HSBC, ICICI bank, Coca-Cola, JP Morgan Chase, Healthways
    • Project in diverse fields
    • FiCo score – Number 1 score in North America
    • Hiring 25 to 30 people across India
    • Custom analytic modeling for Maths and Computing
    • Informal structure and informal culture
  2. Miebach consulting
    • Supply chain Company
    • What is supply chain – Everything involving from the start of manufacture of product till delivery at right time at right price
    • Started in 1973, started in India in 1996, FOUNDED by Dr. Miebach
    • Consulting in automotive, spare parts, fashion, FMCG, retail and          e-commerce
    • Hiring for Associate consultant
    • Close to 60 employees in India
    • You need to be a team player, result oriented, a leader
    • Procedure for hiring: CV submission, test, GD/case interview
    • Test quantitative, analytical
  3. Capital one
    • Credit cards, auto finance, home loans, consumer and commercial banking…50 percent bigger than SBI in terms of bank labs
    • Us, UK, Canada
    • Fortune 500 company, ranked 127
    • Only 22 years old but is comparable to top banks
    • Credit card interest rate in India? Look for it.
    • Making decisions based on data
  4. Times internet
    • PLP, product leader program
    • Analytical ability, General aptitude
    • Basic aptitude test followed by pseudo algorithm test
  5. Goldman Sachs
    • Market maker, provides liquidity
    • Advisory services eg. Merger and acquisition
    • Financier eg. For a growing company like Facebook
    • Asset manager
    • Principal, find the best companies to be invested in
    • Founded in 1869, 32400 people in 65 offices in 34 countries
    • Survived 2008 crisis
    • Financial holding company
    • Bangalore is global hub of GS with representatives from all divisions
    • Our client’s interests always come first
    • We anticipate the rapidly changing needs of our clients
    • GS culture:   Excellence, integrity team work, meritocracy, entrepreneurial spirit client device
    • Quantitative roles
    • Investment management, automated trading, developing algorithms to run trade on electronic markets like NYSE, NASDAQ
    • Risk modeling building models to quantify market risk, liquidity risk. Post trade activities, surveillance analytics
    • What is risk? Why measure risk? Relevant to whom?
    • One possible measure: How much can we loose in one day?
    • Historical simulation
    • Value at risk
  6. AmEx, American Express
    • Started in 1850 as courier firm
    • Moved to charge and credit card business in 1958
    • Transactions worth 900 billion dollars by volume globally
    • Interesting projects like shopping through Twitter, tweet to buy launched in US last year
    • AmEx is all three parties combined in online transaction
    • 500 plus people based in Gurgaon and Bangalore
    • Decision sciences, campaign management, big data.
    • Newly involved in e-commerce
    • Generate different kinds of score
  7. Wipro
    • Wipro, applying thought
    • WIPRO: western India vegetable products limited
    • Got Listed on NYSE in 2001
    • Provider of Consulting services, BPO, IT, R&D services
    • Largest independent R&D services provider in the world
    • Six strategic SBU (small business units)
    • Banking & financial services: healthcare, life science and services, retail consumer products, global media & telecom, energy natural resources & utilities, manufacturing and hi-tech
    • One of the most ethical companies by Ethisphere institute
  8. Futures First
    • Propriety trading, most challenging work in financial services
    • You don’t take calls from clients…you invest on your own
    • GHF group
    • Trading…buy low, sell high…having an expectation and trying to trade on that expectation
    • Discipline, risk taking ability, decision making, street smartness, flexibility and adaptability, mental toughness, analytical ability
    • Trades in: Interest rates, commodities, foreign exchange, equity index futures
    • In terms of volume based market share, we are in top 10
    • Group of 700 trader and analysts
    • Started in 1993 in London, in India in 2004
    • Performance bonus on an average of 1.2 lakhs
    • Bonus can be zero or explode to multiple times of your salary
    • Work week from Monday to Friday, working hours depend on your product market
    • The best part is “even I don’t know what is the maximum amount I can make” – one of the employees in the video
  9. Citi Bank
    • PPT. presented by Raj Kurucheti
    • Global bank, 200 years of history
    • Leader in the financial sector with presence globally
    • Our primary business in citi corp
    • Citi technology centre: Pune
    • Test analytical, logical reasoning, language agnostics, coding
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The placement season

The placement season is back. Nothing new, it comes every year but may be…this is new for you and I’m talking to those who’re about to witness probably the most important phase of their college life.

First things first. I’ll start with a disclaimer – “Everything written on this space is my personal experience which is definitely not a statistically significant sample size

The very first question that comes to a typical final year student- What should I start my preparation with? You’ve got to do a lot, you know that but you don’t know what to start with?

I’ll help you out here. I’d started with the TnPedia.

Heard of TnPedia? I’m sure you’d have. If not, just download it from dc++. Ohh yes! dc is used for useful stuff as well apart from the ‘general daily stuff‘. Download the last three years TnPedia and read through the companies you’re targeting. This’ll give you an overview of what is expected in an interview, what procedures are followed in different companies, you may also gain some insight to what kind of preparation is needed for a particular company.

Now that you have given a thorough read to your target companies. Start preparing accordingly. I’ll try to give a brief introduction as to what preparation is needed for different profiles.

CONSULTING

Victor Cheng is your friend. Super-smart guy. Download his video lectures(again dc++)  to get an understanding of what solving a case-study looks like. I’d suggest you to subscribe to his email newsletters as well. Those will help you in slowly gaining the overall idea of consulting.

Preparing for this takes time and you’ll have to be persistent. Practise with your wingies, your department friends, anyone…but practise!

Do the role play.
Some of you become the interviewer and one of you could be the interviewee. I know it sounds weird. But trust me you’ll learn a lot. You’ll overcome your anxiety of facing the interviewers. At first the role-play thing won’t go that fine but with time it’ll be smooth and everyone involved will come out beneficial.

Share your feedback about each other. I remember I used to get a lot aggressive while participating in mock group discussions with my friends. You sure will get to know about your weaknesses. Work on these weaknesses before it’s too late. By doing this, you get a chance to commit all your mistakes before the real interview and that’s a good thing.
Enough words. It’s time to execute.

“Being pro-active is the key.”

Resources for preparation:

  • Download the video lectures from dc++. Some 10 videos are there.
  • Subscribe to case interview emails here Case Interview
  • Case in point. Download it here. Page on 2epub.net
  • Practise your basic math skills. You can’t afford to make calculation mistakes in interview. CaseInterview will improve your calculation speed and accuracy.

Case-interview is all about practise. After going through some frameworks you’ll feel like you’ve earned the mastery over this but I guarantee you’ll find this wrong once you actually solve a case-study problem in a real interview set-up. So practise, practise and practise.

That’s all for now. I’ll add about other job profiles soon as time permits. No more a free bird like I used to be in Kgp. Next update would be on Coding.


CODING

Let’s talk about coding preparation. Coding was one thing which I’d started learning and practicing only during my placement preparation. Prior to that I never really liked it. Actually I’d never really put much effort into it. And let me tell you this – Coding is interesting stuff to say the least.

Some of the resources that I’d found helpful.

Important topics to be covered

  1. Arrays Archives – GeeksforGeeks
  2. Strings Archives – GeeksforGeeks
  3. Linked Lists Archives – GeeksforGeeks
  4. Trees Archives – GeeksforGeeks
  5. Bit Magic Archives – GeeksforGeeks
  6. Output Archives – GeeksforGeeks

The above should suffice for a normal coding preparation. I’ll add more soon. I’ll ask some of my coder friends.

That’s all for now. Next update would be on puzzles and brainteasers.

All the best for the placements. Prepare well.
Any help needed? Drop me a message or comment down.

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Beautiful Sadness

As I woke up this morning, it took me a few moments to realize where I was. I looked around, gained my consciousness and a thought thundered into my mind –I was not in Kgp. Not anymore. Life at Kgp is now a past, a past which will always be cherished and remembered as the guide of all my future endeavors. I had heard that time flies but this fast I didn’t had even an iota of idea. The five years passed by in a blink.

When  you leave Kgp, you find yourself juggling with thoughts. You experience mixed emotions of both happiness and sadness or rather a term –‘beautiful sadness’ perfectly contain these feelings. You feel sad for the life of peace is over –the phenomenal five years. At the same time you find yourself smiling that Kgp happened to you, that you had your best time here, that you couldn’t have imagined a better college life.

Thank you Kgp for making me what I’m today and know that you’ll play a prominent role in whatever I aspire to become in my future. You are one of the best things that has happened to me in my past five years. Kgp, you have introduced me to some of the most amazing people, well some weird ones as well and a fewer limited editions.

Now that we’re separated, I feel the void that has been created between us. But know that no one can ever fill this space of yours. You will always be special and I want you to know that just a thought of yours will automatically bring a smile on my lips. Thank you for the wonderful time we had together. Kgp, thou shall always be missed.

Yours forever,
–Just another Kgpian

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A hard disk

I needed a hard disk. Urgently. With last few days left at IIT Kharapur, I wish to get as much stuff as possible from DC++ — an internal sharing network. For me the first choice was –Flipkart anyday.

Here in my college, one can easily get Flipkart coupons at a discount. How much discount, you ask. It all depends on demand and supply. You see, Economics is ubiquitous. These days, supply of these Flipkart coupons has all of a sudden decreased and the demand has always been high implying that the discounts are now ever low. Market is imperfect and it all depends on your bargaining capabilities. I managed to get a Flipkart coupon of 7k at 6k –roughly a discount of 14%. An amazing deal, I would say. At a time when sellers are selling at a meager 10% discount, I managed to get an additional 4% discount. I am proud of my bargaining capabilities –something which I must have acquired from my father. He’s a businessman.

 So I had the coupon. I browsed some of the hard disks and decided to purchase 1 Tb WD. I did my purchasing through my smartphone. Why smartphone, you ask. There was an additional cashback of Rs 100 on hard disks purchased via mobile. What an offer!

Next time you need to purchase something, don’t forget to browse via your mobile. Who knows, you might be lucky enough to get some cash back.

Go shopping the smart way!

More details: There’s an extension which gives you the variation in price of any commodity at various online stores like flipkart, amazon India, Snapdeal. One can easily use this extension to judge when will be the right time to make that purchase. For instance, the 1 Tb hard disk which I had purchased became costlier by Rs. 1300 the very next day. Just imagine how many bucks you can save with this extension.

https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/compare-hatke/jaehkpjddfdgiiefcnhahapilbejohhj?hl=en

 

This post is a part of the <a href="http://gopaisa.blogadda.com" target="_blank">Shop, only to Save More!</a> Activity by <a href="http://www.gopaisa.com/" target="_blank">GoPaisa.com</a> in association with <a href="http://www.blogadda.com/" target="_blank">BlogAdda.com</a>.

 

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The Walmart Interview

Now that you are reading this, I’ll assume that you are someone looking for an opportunity of placement or an internship. Go ahead and read. You have a long journey to cover.

I was offered a job of statistical analyst at WalmartLabs. Let me guide you through their placement procedure. Sometime in October, we had the Pre-placement talk (we call it PPT here) where we were introduced to the company’s fundamentals, its businesses and some awesomeness of Walmart. The guy presenting the PPT looked geeky without paying much heed to if we were at all listening. But frankly, he had covered almost everything.

A month later, we had the online test which was based on statistical questions covering mostly topics such as:

  • Hypothesis Testing
  • R square
  • Regression
  • Basic probability distribution functions
  • Confidence interval

It also had 2 coding questions out of which I somehow managed to write the logic of one of them. The duration of the test was 90 minutes. I had started with statistical questions first and later moved to the coding part. My friends who had started with the coding questions were not able to attempt some very easy statistics questions. My advice to you is, go for the objective statistics questions first.  I managed to attempt some 17 questions out of a total of 23 questions. Based on the performance in the test a further shortlist of 7 students was declared. Needless to say I was one of them.

So I was selected for the personal interview of WalmartLabs. A lot had to be done. I didn’t know where to start. The first thing I did was to talk to one of my seniors, Manikanta Dinesh. His advice and suggestions helped. A lot. I kept myself surrounded with books for quite a few days. I had interviews for a few other companies as well. I couldn’t put all my energy to this one company.

“Don’t keep all your fruits in one basket. Diversify.”

It was day 1, 1st December. I was selected in only one company.  CGPA plays a crucial part. If you have a low CGPA, chances are that you will see students getting shortlisted and your name won’t grace any of the lists. I know that feeling. You see, CGPA plays its part. A strong one.

Next day, Day 2, the only company to appear for – WalmartLabs. So I took all the interview funda from a friend, actually a mentor, Tushar – well, he knew more about interviews at that time, Day 1 placed at Credit Suisse. Having all well-prepared, suited up, drove my cycle to Nalanda Complex. On my way, I kept blabbering and preparing my answers, mostly the introduction part. You see, how you open the interview is important.

Though there were 2 HR guys from Walmart, the 1st round was a Skype interview. I had the experience of talking to my girlfriend at Skype. So 1st round well. That was just said in jest. The 1st round lasted for some 50 minutes. I was asked mostly about my internship at IDRBT. (http://www.idrbt.ac.in/) A few puzzles – 3 doors puzzle or the famous Monty hall (http://www.mathsisfun.com/puzzles/monty-hall.html I checked it out later). I was able to answer almost all the puzzles. The interviewer was a CS graduate from IIT Bombay working at WalmartLabs for the past 6 years. How do I know? You ask. Well, I had asked him about it towards the end of the interview where you get to ask questions to the interviewer.

“Never miss this opportunity. Always ask questions. Period.”

So the 1st round went well. Two of my friends couldn’t make to the 2nd round. This round was a Skype interview as well. This guy, the interviewer was a dude. We talked – I didn’t feel like it was an interview for some 90 minutes. Some very basic concepts of statistics were talked about. Some of which I recall:

  • How would you explain probability to your grandmother?
  • How would you teach statistics to a layman?
  • What are assumptions of linear regression? What are their implications?
  • A few puzzles.
  • Explain your work at CRISIL Ltd.

Confident of my grasp at Statistics, the interviewer moved towards courses like Real Analysis and Measure Theory.

Question: Tell me about Cauchy’s law of convergence?

– I was blank. Total blank. Few seconds passed. I muttered a few words vaguely. Finally I reiterated confidently. “Sir, I don’t remember this as of now. I didn’t like these courses much. But if you want me to know these subjects, I can very well be versed in them given a day or two.”
Guess what? He was impressed by my say. He said – “Not a problem Manish! I was just curious. You are good in Statistics and that is what mostly matters here.”

The 3rd round started with only two of us in the game now. The interviewer was a senior executive from US. He asked some general questions from my CV. No more puzzles. This round too lasted for some 50 minutes. Finishing this round, I expected they would announce their result. But they had more in their basket. The other friend of mine couldn’t clear the 3rd round.

The 4th round was an HR round with one of the 2 guys who were present there. This lasted for some 15 minutes. By this time, I was determined – determined to be selected. Cleared it with a smile.

Yes there was a 5th round –a telephonic interview with the senior HR, Bangalore office. Again a 30 minutes interview. Some of the questions I recall:

  • Why Walmart?
  • Who is your best buddy? Worst buddy?
  • What is your greatest weakness?
  • Any questions you would like to ask?

The time now was 7:00 p.m. I was waiting for the result of longest interview of my life, walking restlessly outside the room. Waited for some 15 minutes. I could see the HR guys talking and discussing intensely over phone. A few more minutes passed. The wait was getting heavy now. The HR guy finally came out and with a broad smile, he said –“Congratulations! Welcome to the team.”

That moment I knew what success tasted like. I was happy, excited. Overwhelmed! All of a sudden, I felt like a hero. They clicked a photo of me wearing the Walmart cap. They gave me a bag of gifts as a sign of welcome. On my way to hall, I gave a quick call to my father and then to my maa –She said she had been worshipping the whole day. Her prayers had played their charms and she was thankful to her Gods.

Reached my wing, told my friends and then they congratulated –GPL. The night was great. It called for a celebration. We headed to the bar. Time for some drinks.

One final thought:

Ek din hota hai, ek job hota hai aur ek tum hote ho.”

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The longing days…

Image

My darling,

The past few days have been very pressing for me. No one but my heart knows, how much I’ve missed being with you.

You never know how much you love her, unless one day when she is no longer with you.

I have never felt such a strong urge to be with you, to touch you… to kiss you. I try my best to be busy with my studies. The day passes fine but the night seems very long. I know you are not that far, but the strength to bear this long distance between two loving hearts is crumbling.

Life doesn’t seem complete. Something is missing and I certainly know — it’s YOU. With you life feels easy and comfortable. You give me the strength to face the unknown and overcome the dark. I miss you looking at me, smiling at me, making me feel life is wonderful. Come back soon for your love is waiting to love you.

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