Arindam Mohanta

NSITOnline talks to Arindam Mohanta, class of ECE ‘11, who is currently working at Mentor Graphics and also had a job offer with The Smart Cube. He tells about how he finally got the job he loved after sitting for numerous companies and what all the placement season taught him in life and otherwise.

NSITOnline: Please tell about the companies you appeared for and the placement process for the companies?
Well, before I got placed, there were not many companies I missed applying for during our placement session, which I think wasn’t very smart on my side. I sat for Adobe, Directi, Cisco, MMT, Atrenta, Texas Instruments, Cosmic circuits, Deloitte, Smart Cube, Synopsis, McKinsey and Company, JP Morgan Chase, Towers Watson, Freescale and Mentor Graphics.
Directi: It was mainly 3 stage selection procedure. The first stage was a written test comprising of coding questions from C, C++ and Java mainly; along with good quality aptitude questions. The second stage was the characteristic one problem which is Directi special and was scheduled at midnight that day. I couldn't solve the problem in the stipulated time; probably good experience in the code chef contests might have helped many. Directi also gave away goodies to top performers in the 1st stage. The third stage was personal interviews, scheduled for the next day.
Atrenta: This Company had a two stage process. The first stage was written and consisted of 3 parts, each of them was subjective. The strategy must be to do well in digital and coding parts and devote time to them.
1.     Aptitude – The questions were of a high standard and I’d recommend you not to waste time over any if the answer doesn’t strike on early.
2.     Digital Electronics – questions were asked mainly from DCS (4th sem) and CSO (5th sem). They were also of a good standard.
3.     Coding – questions from YK (Test your C skills) and crack the interview pdf
The Smart cube: The Company had a 3 round process.
1)     Written consisted of two 20 minute papers. Their pattern was CAT type and was of a decent level, they even had an essay to write.
2)     GD: Groups of 7-8 people were made and the time allotted to think was around 5 min. The actual GD was for 5-6 min + 1 min for conclusion. There’s no mantra, just speak and observe, try to jot down good points. I feel one who opens the GD in a fine manner would be through. The one who tries to present an opposite view and is able to back it up nicely has good chance. But the one who takes too much time is playing with fire.
3)     PI: It was panel dependent. I was initially asked about MOSFETs, and then I was given a case study and one guesstimate, also included was some aptitude stuff. The interviewers were looking at the approach. Some students also had multiple interviews. I was one of the finally selected 15 candidates.
Below are some of the companies I applied off-campus:
Freescale: The Company had a two stage process. The first was written - 15 subjective questions to be completed in 1.5 hours. The questions were mainly on digital electronics and some on analog depending on the profile. Next was personal interview, the profile which they were offering was analog based and they asked questions from written exam also including some questions on RC circuits and Bode graphs.
Mentor Graphics: Its placement procedure was similar to Atrenta’s, but I felt the written was easier than Atrenta’s. The personal interview was based on one’s performance in the written. It covered both Digital electronics and coding. My interview went for over 2 hours. Many were interviewed twice or even thrice, I just had one and luckily got through. They covered every aspect of my resume and I was able to back it up confidently, which did impress them.
In a nutshell, it wasn’t very bright of me applying for all companies. Even though I felt quite happy when I got through TSC but then I saw many of my classmates getting placed in good core companies and realized even I should have waited. I got desperate for a core job and had to wait till July to get one. So, I would advise you all to make up your mind and then apply for the companies.
NSITOnline: Could you describe the nature of work at Mentor Graphics?
 I am working as a Member Technical Staff in Mentor Graphics, which is amongst the big 3 in EDA (Electronic Design Automation) industry. The job requires good digital electronics knowledge plus good coding skills in C, C++, and VHDL. With regard to my work here, my team mainly uses VHDL and Verilog furthermore it requires good electronics knowledge to understand the proper working of the tools that are made here. Mentor is one of the best places to work be it salary, incentives, flexible timings, great colleagues to work with. There are lots and lots of people who have been working here for 10+ years. Even if you want to switch jobs, you can even go to big software giants like Google or MS in couple of years. To conclude, I would say it is a dream job for an ECE student.
NSITOnline: What preparations do you advice for various stages of placements? 
 The most important part is to be aware of one’s desires and capabilities and to sit for select companies which suit you the best, which has been my realization. If you consider my case, I feel I applied for just too many varied companies. The best thing would be to know in which field you want to work and then apply for companies in that particular domain. Study accordingly for a core job. E.g. for electronics, Sedra and Smith and M. Mano are sufficient. A deep knowledge of the subject surely helps in the interviews. As for the aptitude, taking coaching for MBA is a plus but one can get good questions available online.
NSITOnline: How much importance should be associated with academics? Are they the only deciding pointer in the job interviews?
 Obviously, academics are not the only factor otherwise we won’t have such long placement processes but it’s always a plus to have a good DR on your resume. I would say one should try to get a decent aggregate by 3rd year, which can easily be achieved by studying 1 week or so before end sems and then devote sufficient time studying for placements. One must make sure that he/she has the percentage required to sit for companies he/she desires to as core companies usually have a cut-off of 70-72%. There are people who just clear the cutoff and still get selected.
NSITOnline: What all internships and projects did you do in four years at NSIT? Could you elaborate on the kind of work undertaken in them? Also please mention how you got the internship.
 I did an internship for HLS (Halliburton Logging Services) Asia at the end of my 3rd year. The TnP cell mailed us about the internship and we had to fill a 10-12 page form to apply. They short listed 60-70 candidates and had a day-long selection process just like for placements. The first round included psychometric tests, 2nd round had two technical written papers – one general and other branch specific. Final round was the personal interview which was mainly included questions from written test and mostly on Diodes, Transistors and Op amps.
The internship required one to be present on-site and I was posted in Agartala for 1 month. HLS works in the petroleum industry domain and our job was to assist in testing of tools and during logging at oil rigs. The job was quite physical but a good learning experience and provided decent exposure. And the only mentionable project is my BTP on “crack removal and image restoration techniques for mural paintings” using MATLAB tools.
I would suggest that it doesn’t really matter if you don’t have good projects or internship to show in your resume as long as you are able to answer whatever is asked in the written tests or during the interview.
NSITOnline: How would you rate the interaction between seniors and juniors in NSIT? Any advice you want to share with the freshers and the juniors.
 I believe everyone is intelligent enough and knows when to talk to and who he/she needs to talk to in order to need some help. There is a lot to learn from one’s seniors and it’s better to learn from someone else’s experience rather one’s bitter one. The interaction is not of the same degree in everyone’s case as working during fests, staying at hostels gives opportunities for many but there are many who would not be acquainted with more than a couple of seniors. I believe both sides can show more initiative in this department. And when one has a chance to talk in person, one should do so rather than communicate through social networks, which is also not bad for a start.
NSITOnline: Do you wish to change anything in NSIT, improvements or suggestions?
 I believe lots of things are done in the best manner here still some can be changed. The quality of intellect, placements, fests, etc is among the best in India. The quality of course material can be improved. We can give more importance to the programming labs we have which might help in placements. The college should take initiative in making sure that everyone is obtaining good industrial exposure during internships.
NSITOnline: Enlighten me about your best memory in NSIT?
 The whole 4 years at NSIT have been the best 4 years of my life. The stay at hostel, the ghissai before exams, the masti during fests, the fun during college trips, the jubilation of getting placed, the gold medals in cricket and basketball tournaments and the farewell party, cover my college life in a nutshell. It is tough to choose one as your best memory but the real joy of getting placed and seeing your friends get placed in super companies, gave a feeling which cannot be described in words.
My suggestion to all of you would be to enjoy your college life to the fullest, placements matter in life but what I have realized is that there would be one or two days when everything would go your way and you’ll get your dream job. There’s no need to worry too much. Luck will be a factor and it might or might not be on your side but one should never get disheartened. Even I was able to clear many written but screwed up the interviews which were mainly because I was not focused on one particular domain. Just try to introspect for some time and select 1-2 domains and work on that.
The placements will reach newer heights in the coming years and I feel it’s a great time for you all to be getting placed and graduating. Many big companies are still facing dearth of good engineers and NSITians have the capability to get their dream jobs, so just relax and enjoy your college life as much as you can. Try to learn as much as you can from your friends as I had some distinct points in my resume which caught the eyes of interviewer and I must thank my friends for that.
All the best for your future, you have just 4 years at NSIT, just make it large.
Arindam Mohanta
MTS, Mentor Graphics (for now)
ECE, Class of 2011, NSITian (for life)
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