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Kunal Ahuja

Kunal Ahuja, placed at Bain Capability Center shares his experience with Krishan Singh.

 

Please tell us about your placement procedure at Bain Capability Center. (Short listing procedure, GDs, Interviews)

 

The BCC has a rather extensive recruitment procedure. Everything is done by marking you at every step according to criterion followed by Bain all over the world. There is no general “This person feels right for the job approach”; the process is extremely metric. The first step is the company presentation which probably as important as any other stage of the process. This is followed by a resume and cover letter based short listing. Next is a written case study/general business sense testing round. This is not an elimination stage and is followed by 2 stages of interviews. The first stage involves 2 rounds of guess estimates, both of which have an HR component as well. Each of these 2 interviews is roughly of 30 minutes. After elimination at this stage, based on the written test and the 2 guess estimate interviews, there is a short list for the final stage – the case study round. This interview is roughly of 40 minutes and also has an HR component. Even after this if the recruiters are unsure of your candidature; they could take more rounds which could have guess estimates or case studies.

 

 

What helped you sail through the hurdles and crack one of the finest non-tech firm recruiting at NSIT.

 

The two most important things that I feel helped me clear the process were – my composure and my approach to the whole process. I never got overwhelmed by the situation and looked to clear every step one by one. At each stage I wasn’t thinking of cracking the firm eventually, instead I focused on the interview I was stepping into and nothing else. Looking at what others are doing during the process can be highly intimidating and will more often than not throw you off track. My approach was fairly simple – not getting into the BCC would not be the end of the world. I never took the process as seriously as many others did. This helped me stay calm and give it my best shot.

What helped me crack the process might not work for everyone else, so for the benefit of all those reading this, please don’t blindly follow those who have cracked the firm and instead use your head even while taking advice.

 

How did you prepared for the placement season? What advice would you give to your juniors regarding the placement season?

 

I think preparation for any “non-technical” company begins from the first year itself. Because there are no specific things that one can be asked in such interviews, what matters is how one has groomed oneself all through college life and built his/her skills and persona to crack the interview. I started thinking of my interviews as early as my second year and started preparing answers to HR/general questions I knew I was going to be asked. It was while thinking of these answers that actually helped me sometimes to take decisions on what to do and what not to do during college. This also helped me identify some things that were lacking in my skill set and led to pursue initiatives that helped me build the same eventually. As long as one takes informed decisions in college and strives to build a story around oneself, sitting down and literally preparing is going to be the easiest stage of the process. My preparation before the recruitment season per se began 3 days before the final interview day. During these 3 days, I read the ‘Vault’s Guide’, ‘Case in Point’ and ‘Ace your Case’, I practiced a few guestimates with friends and prepared answers for all questions that an interviewer could have looking at my resume.

 

 What's the role of academics in getting a good placement?

 

It is ironical that a lot of non-technical firms pay much heed to your academic performance in a technical college. While it is true that strong academics alone will never be the reason for cracking one of the better non-technical firms, they will certainly change the approach of your interviewer. In case you have a weaker academic record the interviewer will always be on the lookout for reasons to reject you and will take the slightest mistake seriously. Also, having a good percentage will certainly help you over the entire placement season because even if you fail to crack a firm that doesn’t take academics seriously, you can always try for the ones that do. This will help you stay calm and prevent you from worrying about being not placed till the end.

 

What all internships and projects you did in your 4 years at NSIT? How did you get them?

 

I pursued two internships, one each in the technical and the non-technical domains. The first one was a technical one at a renowned university overseas. I got the opportunity to go for the same by applying online and getting in touch with students/researchers already studying there. The second one was in the Advisory department of a professional services firm. This one was through “contacts”.
A lot of NSITians always complain about not having contacts and how that is going to be the reason they will not do well competing with their peers. Although a good brand on the CV helps, what you do during an intern is what really matters. It isn’t just about getting a PPO or a recommendation. What you genuinely learn during the stint and how you sell it as a part of your story is what really matters. So instead of waiting for the best intern out there to somehow happen, go for a tier 2 company, perform well and incorporate it well in your story.

 

Did you ever think of sticking to your branch and apply for core instrumentation companies?

 

Certainly, I wasn’t one of the several NSITians who lay foot in the campus of a technical college and the first thing they said was Placement ho jaaye bas. Neither was I one of those who wish to go for a “non- tech” job only because studying for the exams in college feels like hell on earth. My decision was a well informed and well thought of one. Apart from the technical intern overseas, I also underwent training at a core ICE establishment. Thanks to these 2 stints, I better understood why I didn’t want to continue in the engineering domain and switch to the consulting industry instead. I will not give you my reasons, but will leave it upto you to find your own and find one that truly makes sense to you.

Never go for a non-technical job thinking it is easier than one in the engineering domain. It is certainly not a joy ride and those who go for one thinking it is, will be in for a rude shock.

 

Are you planning to do higher studies in near future? Did you take CAT/GMAT exam last year?

 

The market scenario today demands one to pursue higher studies for both – the value addition in terms of the skill set and for the sake of a stamp. This is true certainly for those in the non-technical space but not so much for those who pursue a job in the tech space. But don’t follow the herd mentality and go for an MBA, make sure you have completely thought it through and are in a position to make an informed decision.

No I did not take the CAT.

 

Do you feel that your responsibilities and achievements associated with the DebSoc NSIT somehow helped in shaping what you are today?

 

I think my experience with each and everything I have done has played a part in shaping me as a person. Be it working for fests, going for competitions or involvement in societies. Each experience good or bad will teach you something and contribute to your shaping your path ahead. Rather than criticizing how societies function and how some people don’t do as much as you think you can instead, notice what they are learning even by failing and appreciate the initiative.

The Debsoc was established to serve as a forum for peers in NSIT who have interest in debating. Activities under the banner of the Debsoc significantly improved my organizational and inter-personal skills. It introduced me to bunch of highly talented and motivated people who have been a great source of learning and eventually ended up as great friends.

 

What has been your most fun-filled moment in the past 4 years? 

 

That is the toughest of all the 10 questions in here. Picking one moment is pretty much impossible. Experiences during NSIT MUN, sitting at the erstwhile Nesci, night outs after the fest, travelling with friends, the birthday midnights in the hostel - each of them have a special place. It is these moments that made the past 4 years worth so much more than just time in college to get a degree.

 

 

 

Would you like to give any piece of advice to your juniors?

 

I think each one is best to decide what is best for him/her and decide what they wish to take away from these 4 years. All I can say is that don’t let placements or getting marks be the reason driving everything you do. Go ahead and try stuff that you have never done, initiatives that you might fail at or anything else that will teach you at least something. It is a good thing to be ambitious but it is way more important to enjoy your time on campus. Don’t be scared of the future, all of us will do well in life but what we learn inside and outside class will never come again and how we choose to live these years will determine our lives till the end. While all of us enjoy our time on campus, we must learn to coexist in a way that doesn’t shame our campus, friends or family. Many of you would like to boast about the college you study in. Make sure you are a contributor to the pride of your college and not just one preying onto the laurels earned by others through sincere hard work and effort.

 

 

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