Ankit Sud

 NSITOnline interviews Ankit Sud from the batch of ’10 who along with getting placed in Microsoft and Dunnhumby cracked CAT by getting calls from IIM-A and IIM-C. He answers some oft asked questions regarding placement and internships while handing out advice to juniors.

1. How did you prepare for the placements?
This question has 2 parts, internship and the final placement. For the internship I would be lying if I say that I had prepared anything. I remember out of the 6 interns selected for Microsoft, I was the only one who was not a part of the target placements group on Orkut. However final placements do require specialised training especially for the technical companies like Microsoft, Adobe, and Amazon etc.
  • Subjects to pay attention to
Firstly, one needs to be very thorough with their studies, especially subjects like Operating Systems, DBMS, Algorithms and Data Structures, the last 2 being most important. You should also know how to calculate the time complexity of your proposed solutions, it’s funny when many people know the time complexity of the solutions but can’t explain how they got that complexity. It’s prudent to read the C book by Dennis Ritchie as it does touch some very relevant and important problems.
  • Preparation for algorithmic questions
To prepare for the algorithmic questions, the best approach is to join groups/mailing lists which discuss programming problems and try to solve the problems listed there on your own. Some people also mug up these problems which is the wrong approach. Since the people in Industry are aware of this phenomenon, you really don’t get the same question in interviews and more often than not there is a twist here and there to differentiate the people who actually solve problems from the ones who just mugged it up. One of my close friends was fried at the interview of a top technology firm because he narrated the solution to a problem from memory. According to him, the interview was the worst experience of his life due to the humiliation he suffered when he couldn’t answer probing questions about the solution.
  • Preparation for Non-tech firms:
For non-tech companies, going through case studies always helps. Apart from that be thorough with CAT type Maths and DI since most companies use it for initial screening purposes. You will find that people who do well in mock CATs are the ones clearing most written exams for non-tech companies.
2. What was the recruitment procedure for Microsoft and Dunnhumby?
  • Dunnhumby Recruitment Procedure:
When Dunnhumby came to campus, my Microsoft internship interview result was yet to come. The work and compensation of Dunnhumby seemed good to me and I sat for the process. The 1st part was an online test, this was conducted in a computer lab at college, the test had multiple sections and emphasised on speed.
After the test, there was a group case study. The case study seemed to have live data from Dunnhumby’s partners and was a really interesting exercise. In my opinion this was the most important step in the recruitment process for Dunnhumby. After the group case study, a final interview was taken. The interview focused on what you want and the case study which was a part of the previous session.
  • Microsoft Recruitment Procedure
At Microsoft, I was a summer intern and had excellent feedback from my mentor and team. This led to an interview loop for me in which I had 2 interviews at the Microsoft campus. On return to Delhi, Microsoft held 3 more interviews at NSIT for us and finally selected 2/6 of the NSIT interns that had been to Hyderabad.
For the non-interns, there is a written test at NSIT campus with technical questions. After that they had 4 interviews to get selected. For Microsoft, programming and technical skills are the most important to land a job. Since Microsoft IDC visits very few top campuses in India, it’s a great opportunity for students to land up a job here.
3. What do you think made you stand out from your fellow classmates?
In my opinion your placement depends upon how serious you have been during the previous three years of college. There are very few cases wherein people can just study for 2 months and then overtake those who have been regular for a year or more. This is especially true in case of top tech companies.
For the non-tech companies, communication skills and confidence are as important (if not more), as your knowledge. For people who have trouble conversing in English or don’t have confidence in their communication skills, I would recommend them to start working hard on this aspect as communication skills do play a huge role in non-tech companies.
Since they are hiring an engineer and will train him/her anyway, so a person who seems like the confident performer willing to learn always has an edge over the uncertain yet intelligent candidate in my opinion.
4. How did you manage to get selected in the best of both technical and non technical firms?
A bit of luck!
Seriously, I never looked at the best technical and non-technical firm. Since we were allowed only 1 shot at A+ companies, it became very important to sit for only the companies whom you would like to work for. I aimed for the top companies on campus and my technical knowledge got me through Microsoft and my soft skills + analytical skills got me through Dunnhumby.
Over here I will once again tell the students to work hard on their communication skills, a lot of good candidates lose out because they do not come across well in interviews.
5. How did you prepare for the internship process of Microsoft?
I did not prepare for the internship process of Microsoft apart from 1-2 days when we were actually told by the placecomm that they are coming. In the end it’s about how sharp your mind works on that day and how well you are able to write code for the problems.
6. You did your summer training in Microsoft yet started the quiz club something regarded as non-technical work?
I always tell students to join societies or work in fests only for the things they love to do and not for a bullet point on their resume. These things in my experience do little to help you in your placements and MBA admissions and most students end up disappointed that they had ‘wasted’ their time.
I always loved quizzing and was a quizzer since my school days and I decided to continue to pursue my hobby even in college. I didn’t really think of it as diversifying my resume .
I believe everyone has some extra-curricular talent/interest and they should never let go of this interest and pursuit even if they are studying to be an engineer. At the same time, it’s also important to prioritise and not let one suffer due to the other.
7. How did you manage to get a call from all IIM's?
I didn’t get a call from all IIMs; I got 99.79 percentile and got calls from IIM Calcutta and Ahmedabad. I had a lower percentage (>85 though) in class 10th which led to fewer calls despite me scoring pretty well in all sections and overall. Due to the CAT conduction problems, most IIMs had increased the weightage of 10th marks and work-ex. I also got 99.96 percentile in XAT (XLRI). I converted the calls from IIM Calcutta and XLRI but have decided to delay my MBA plans.
I had joined some classes for CAT coaching but found them pretty useless and stopped going after 1-2 months; the test series are the most important for doing well in CAT, coaching classes in my opinion should be avoided unless someone is weak in fundamentals of Maths/English.
8. How was your experience of cracking your goal?
There are very few feelings in this world as satisfying as getting into your dream company. Once your hard work and commitment pays off, you certainly become a wiser person.
I would advise students not to get distracted by what others are doing or lose hope in case they don’t make it to a certain company. I didn’t qualify the written for 2-3 companies before landing my dream jobs. Remember everyone has off days and the faster you get over them, the better. You are in NSIT and you get a chance to get into the top companies and institutes of the world, use the opportunity!
9. How have your four years in NSIT affected you overall?
NSIT has had a big effect on me, after passing out from NSIT; one is truly prepared to face the outside world. The kind of opportunities NSIT presents to you are enormous. Other college students will kill for these opportunities. However, how we utilise these opportunities is up to us.
All of us have criticised the college at one point or the other, but believe me once you are out of it, everyone wears the NSIT banner proudly on their shoulders.
10. What advice would you like to give your juniors?
  • I always advise my juniors to give a good deal of importance to academics. The truth of the matter is that almost everyplace you go to, whether it’s for a job, MS or a MBA, the first impression is formed via your marks.
  • I don’t mean to say people with lower marks can’t be successful, but its always handy to have a good percentage.
  • It’s equally important to participate in other co-curricular activities, especially those that interest you. Do not organise/participate in an event for the greed of a certificate, organise/participate in an event because you have an interest in it.
  • Apart from that I would advise all juniors to thoroughly enjoy your years in college; you really start missing them as soon as college is over.


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