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Utkarsh Sharma is placed in Normura, an Investment Bank. With an entirely “tech” resume, he writes to us telling us how he got placed in a finance company.
NSITOnline: What all companies did you appear for?
I appeared for a lot of companies, some of them being Evalueserve, ZS Associates, Dunnhumby, GS Constructions (the first company I was placed) and Nomura. Initially I didn't know what I really expected from the placement season. I wanted to go for an ICE core company since the very beginning of college and had both my internships in technical companies. So had quite a 'Technical resume' if I may say so. But during the course of placements I changed my mind, the work environment and culture of most of these companies (especially PSUs) was not meant for me. After wasting a lot of time and companies I started focusing on Non-Techs. I remember all the rejections that I faced and some of them were really heart breaking, but believe me they teach you some of the most important lessons of life. Placement and job at the end of the day is not everything, there are much more important things in life and the friends at NSIT will help you sail through and have fun at the same time.
NSITOnline: How did you prepare for the placement season?
It all depends on what you want and which company you want to target. Keep in mind the sector/domain and target some companies, make an extra effort and call your seniors who will be more than willing to help you.
For ICE people 'AK Sawhney' and 'Nakra Chawdhary' is the bible. Almost everything asked in a technical interview can be found in these books. You don’t need to read the entire book; just a few chapters (around 150 pages, we engineers want to know how many pages we have to read!) and you are done with most of the stuff. A few companies also ask you about power electronics, DIC etc. Thus company specific preparation is also required after you are done with this.
For Non-Tech companies reading case studies and solving puzzles helps a lot. You don’t need to prepare much for these companies. Most of the interviews are resume based and you should be thorough with each and every line written in your resume. Be prepared to be grilled about every single point. In the interview of ZS Associates I was grilled on my resume for around 75 minutes in a single interview and was then rejected after 3 interviews! So prepare yourself well and don’t let the opportunity go without giving your best shot. And again I will say that target a few companies and prepare for them, believe me the effort is worth it.
NSITOnline: Could you elucidate on the placement procedure of Nomura?
Nomura came for Pre placement talk in around October. We were asked to submit our resume. The one and only shortlist was released by Nomura only one day prior to their campus visit in December. 20 people were shortlisted and thankfully I was one of them. From what I could make, The criteria for short listing was based on grades as well as the resume. From what I had heard from my seniors, I was told that the short listing in Nomura is purely on the basis of marks but that was not the case. I surely was not among the top 20 applicants on the basis of marks. Thus every one of you stands a chance to get shortlisted but you have to work for it if you want to join Nomura. There were no written tests or GDs.
· Interview round
Before I start let me state this very clearly that an Investment Bank coming to an engineering college does not expect anybody to know the ‘ABC’ of finance. They are looking for people with excellent logical, analytical and mathematical skills.
There were two panels and two rounds of interviews. In the first round of interviews, I was asked about some finance related papers I had given (I think this was the criteria of my short listing). I answered all of them correctly and I believe it was my day. Next I was asked some puzzles and brainteasers. Few of them I had read before and were very straightforward questions related to probability and combinations. I am sure every one of us can answer those questions. The first interview lasted for around 20 minutes and then the second shortlist was declared. From 20 now only 6 were left! This was not the first time I had reached such a stage (though previously I was rejected hereafter!) so was excited and at the same time highly motivated to do it this time.
In the second round of interviews we were initially asked HR related questions and then the interview went mathematical. I was asked about the Gaussian function, basic trigonometric formulas and probability related problems. You cannot predict where your interview will head, even if you don't know anything asked by the interviewer politely admit it and ask them if you can give it a try. They will be more than happy to hear that. At the end I was asked- How has your life been at NSIT? To this I gave a very elaborate answer which must have convinced the interviewer to send his son/daughter to NSIT as the life here is too good to resist! Finally the result was declared and 3 of us were selected. That was a dream come true and all the rejections were put behind for a party filled and an amazing 8th semester.
· Job Overview
Nomura has a strong presence in Powai (Mumbai). It has around 4000 employees with majority of them being in IT department. Nomura comes to NSIT to hire for Global Markets Division and the profile offered is that of a Global Market Analyst. There are around 75 people in global markets department and majority being from IITs, NSIT and DCE. The work is interesting and much better than what many other Non-Tech company offer at our campus. The future prospects are also pretty good and I am very happy to be here, a perfect stepping stone for the future.
NSITOnline: What is the importance of academics during placements?
I believe that academics are not the ultimate unless you want to go in a PSU. It is like having good marks is an added benefit and will help you everywhere, but having an average grade does not hamper your chances of being selected in a nice company. It is true that some companies shortlist purely on the basis of percentage (specially technical companies) but a large number of companies also give importance to your resume (they don’t take it from you without any reason!). I had an average percentage of around 70 and was able to crack both a tech and non-tech company. So I will say it is never too late, if you don’t have an excellent grade put extra effort now, this is the time and do something extra.
NSITOnline: What all projects and internships did you do over the course of 4 years?
a) NSIT Solar car- ADVAY II
This two year long project under the guidance of Professor Ranjana Jha was one of the most worthwhile things I have ever done. The time that I devoted to this project was the best time of my life. I learned a lot, not only the technical stuff but it also contributed to the development of my personality as a whole. We were a team of around 15 people and developed a solar car which was displayed at the 2010 Auto expo. I still remember and cherish those moments spent with my batch-mates and juniors in Khyala, garage, Manesar and not to forget the final event.
b) Reva Electric Car Company- Bangalore
This was my second internship at the end of third year. I was part of the NSIT solar car team and got an opportunity to meet Mr Chetan Maini (Chairman of Reva) at the 2010 Auto Expo where our car was displayed. He offered internship to five members of the team. So I along with my team mates went for a 2 month long vacation to Bangalore! The Reva internship was like a continuation of our solar car project and helped us in understanding the dynamics of an electric car in a better way.
NSITOnline: Do you have plans for higher studies?
I am presently working as a Global market Analyst at Nomura. The work and atmosphere over here is pretty cool and chilled out. I might plan to go for an MBA or some other finance related course in a few years time from some foreign university or even an IIM.
NSITOnline: Any advice you’d like to impart to the juniors?
Stay involved in the college be it college festivals or projects and have as much fun as you can. These are the golden days of life and going forward you will always remember and cherish the time spent in NSIT.
NSITOnline: What all were the best memories you shared at NSIT
Well there are a lot of them starting from the first semester right till the very end. The days passed at Admin stairs and next to the speed-breaker in front of Nescafe were the best. Doing nothing the whole day and watching the crowd while commenting with guys is something which you all should experience! The nonsensical discussions and the ‘Gyan’ of life shared at the hostel roof after midnight helps you go miles in life. I miss those long walks and driving in the love lane and witch lane with my guy-friends, having Paratha, Maggi and Anda-Bhurji at Jeeto and Chowmein at Mic-Mac, 10 people sharing a single plate of noodles and chole bhature in first semester in canteen was a sight, still love watching those video recordings! While writing this I want to revisit those times and relive those golden moments which NSIT gave us. Guys enjoy the stay at NSIT it is one of the best time of your life with a very exciting and thrilling journey ahead. Have fun!
ICE, Class of 2011, NSIT