My Travel Map

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Summer's Placement 3: Slot 1

Woh lamhe...woh raate...koi na jaane...thi kaisi baate...
Seriously it gives me the shivers whenver I think of those nights when I slept with uneasiness gnawing at my heart and all the time knowing that I had to take adequate rest to perform from early morning the next day. Frustration, exhaustion, fear, doubt, attempts at motivation, all rolled into that one little head in the darkness and calm of the night...it was a nightmarish few nights!

I'll skip day 2 of the process since nothing much happened really. Had one GD and being the first one in the process, you seriously should not expect me to perform! An HR consultancy firm decided to interview me and posed all sorts of situational questions to which I had standard kgpian answers of Illumination and other Hall activities...how the hell are we supposed to conjure up situations that wud compare with those having work experience? Anywayz, no cribbing! Oh yes...another GD in the evening and one of the topics I remember!!! "The humble farmer and Murthy"--plz enlighten me with your views if u have any...personally I took affront at the topic and decided not to make the effort of speaking!

Day 3: Slot 1
7 am
Wake up to find my name on just one new shortlist out of some 5-6. HLL Sales n Mktg wants me. Very nice, indeed! I' m absolutely cut out for marketing!!! Somehow get over the newfound frustration and make it to the arena.

8 am
Back in the same suit, new shirt, same tie. New faces arriving. Old faces there, too. Everybody raring to go. The wait starts, yet again.

11:30 am
Can u believe it? I'm still waiting and I have multiple shortlists today! Have the guys at controls gone nuts? Is my reg no. missing from their list. I'm turning paranoid.

12 pm
My day is made. HLL calling for a GD. Nice start. Some topic about killing a character in a saas-bahu soap opera. Goes passably well. Get up to go. Oh no...what's this. Another GD? Back to back? At that point I start hating all marketing companies and as a mark of sincere protest, desist from speaking.

1 pm to 7 pm
A blur. That's all remains of this period. I'd heard that people forget the name of the company they are interviewing with. I was lucky that didnt happen with me. I forget the exact no. of interviews I had, interpersed with a few GDs, one of which (E n Y) went well! (I was actually performing at GDs...man am i changed!)

8 pm
Back to room after dinner. Lots of small talk. Irrelevant. Try to think about my chances tomorrow. Not feeling very confident. Another bad night.

Day 4: Slot 1

8:30 am-12 pm
Okk today I'm out of the arena in a flash. Thank u controls. Couldn't have tolerated a third day of that fag-mint-wait routine. Had 4 interviews back-to-back. Interestingly, I was a very confused man at the end of it all. One Systems firm, one Fin, one Consult, one Marketing...my core competency had changed so many times during a stretch of 2 hours that I did not know whom I was bluffing! Man I must really have confused the interviewers. I'm not sure whether I highlighted the right focus area at the right place. By that time, I had almost stopped caring. Thought of giving my best. Just not doing it.

5pm
Not much activity the rest of the day. No other shortlists. People again start getting offers. RS makes it ti Citi finally. First kgp conversion in the slot. Me and Y start walking aimlessly. Arnie has an offer, too. Many ppl smiling. Me burning? Offers to be declared at 7.

6 pm
SAP shortlist out. 6 names. Mine included. A sharp pang hits me. I know this means sth is wrong. No Slot 1 for me. Damn. People still don't want to believe. I do. And somehow, my resolve steels suddenly. Telephonic interview at 7:30. Go back to room. This is my last chance, I tell myself. Focus. Convert. Focus. Convert. What a feeling. I forget everything else around me. No worries. No tensions. Just do it. Too melodramatic? So be it.

7:30 pm
Waiting on the Place Office stairs for the interview to start. Can hear the Slot 1 offers being announced and ppl clapping. Again the burning in the heart. Know my name's not on the list. Can't believe it somehow. Come to terms quickly. Telephonic interview. I have to show energy, Arnie had told me. Build up energy. Write points down. Even a opening line. I'll have to do this. No escape routes.

8:00 pm -9:00 pm
What an interview! The guy tells me then and there that I've made it to the second round. Done half the job. Half still remains. Have reached a state of peace by now. Know things can't be any worse. So from now on, no more worrying. Things will take their own course. A confident end to a bad day.

10 pm
Get ready for Slot 2 and Marketing. Crasher on marketing fundae. Dude am I multifaceted now!
Next instalment: The remaining phases.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Summer's Placement 2: Slot 0

Okk so we come to the most awaited part of the whole summers process...the slot 0 firms with promises of a foreign placement and a stipend in dollars amounting to more than 500,000 in local currency! The preparations for these companies are the most focussed and its almost like the other slots do not exist at all. Slot 0 is the be all and end all of placements...in the lead up to placements week, that's the general impression that you get. The shortlists start coming and those are the first heartbreak points for many. People suddenly realize that they are still not good enuf even though they've cleared the CAT...that they can still be rejected!

Anyway I'll limit the discourse to personal experiences. So I, fortunately or unfortunately, had only 2 shortlists out of the 12 firms visiting campus and those were Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch, two of the biggest biggies. I was all keyed up on the eve of the day...tried out my new suit...was quite impressed by the sight, the corporate image and all!

Day 0: 9 am
Everyone ready and raring to go. Quite a nice gathering of people in suits. People discussing current stock prices and P/E ratios. A few copies of the Economic Times circulating. Suddenly I remember I don't have the last closing figure of the Sensex. Rush Rush. Join my fellow Kgpians for some small talk and breakfast.

10 am
The first interview calls start. People start trickling out. A few among them will not return throughout the day. A few return, to be hounded by thousands of queries. I wait.

1 pm
I am still waiting for my first call. People with 3-4 shortlists are already done with the whole process. AJ is done but seems tensed. I smoke and chew mint with RS. Have packet lunch. The picnic feeling starts.

3pm
Still waiting. Only people with 2 or fewer calls still waiting for the process to start. People desperately cracking PJs to keep from losing patience. A few more puffs and a few more mints. AJ even more tense.

4pm
Merrill Lynch calling. First bike ride to Tata Hall. Ushered into first interview. Tell the guy about myself. What's 92/85? 1 point er...er...08? Okk...whats the square root of 1000? Ahh...33 squared is 1089 so it shud be 32 point 4? Oh no I forgot that 32 squared is 1024. I, the guy whose been doing this stuff mentally since class 10. Oh shit. Guess the no. of flights Jet Airways operates in a day. Oh no...what's this...do some complex calculations and come up with a figure of 30. Try scrutinising the interviewer's face for any signs. Nothing. Some more crappy stuff. Then its done. Im wished best of luck. I'll be wished that for a few more days!

5 pm
Lehman calling. First interview goes really well. The lady is impressed. Am able to communicate my CG. Cudnt do that at Merrill. Solve probability problems and fin fundae with ease. Lady ushers me for another interview. But her seniors are too busy in convincing people why they shud join Lehman. Have the sinking feeling that they have realised capacity constraints. Offers are being made all around. A few like me stand around, oblivious to the rest of the world. Some guy eventually decides to do an interview for me. Asks some stupid stuff about my internships during graduation. Give even more boring answers. Neither of us are impressed. My day ends.

6 pm
Come back to the front desk (that's the arena). People discussing offers. Me ruing my luck. I was timed out of the process, I feel. Maybe, may not be. I had my chance, I did not capitalise. People were given more chances. They did. Leave the arena. On my way out, meet AJ. She's done it. Good for her. Relief on that front. Feeling a tad bit low myself, tho.

Rest of the evening
Cheer myself up. Do nothing much else. People come to room. Some console, some wish luck, some treat me to chocolates. Waiting for tomorrow. Still chance of a foreign offer. Let us hope for the best. Try some combined study with Arnie. Not much good. End the day with bakar session with RK and Stud. That wud be the pattern for days to come.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Tagged!!!

Before continuing with the summers' story, I must finish this pending assignment. Curse Sandy for tagging me, tho :P

Seven Things I want to do before I die
1) Take a tour around the world, preferably with 3-4 friends
2) Taste some of the most expensive wines in the world
3) Puff at a Hawaiian cigar
4) Talk like an RJ
5) Be the centre of attraction at a party at a 5 star hotel
6) Learn how to do the Salsa
7) Quit smoking

Seven Things I can do
1) Eat 6 Tandoori Rotis, 2 Butter Naans and countless pieces of chicken at one go
2) Talk sense and walk straight after 6 pegs of whisky/vodka
3) Remember phone nos, car license plate nos and birthdays
4) Compute complex multiplications and square roots mentally
5) Chat with a girl non-stop for 6 hours from 12 in the night to 6 in the morning
6) Share space and sleep comfortably on a IIT hostel bed with two other people
7) Laugh for 21 minutes straight

Seven Things I say the most
1) Arre shit...
2) O Fuck...
3) Kya kar raha hai be...
4) Dada, 4te wills debe...
5) Peace mar...
6) Load kyon le raha hai...
7) Kya frustness hai ye...

Seven Things I can't do
1) Make tea
2) Make Maggi
3) Make an omelette (in short, I draw a blank when it comes to the kitchen)
4) Quit smoking
5) Keep my room clean for any length of time
6) Remember to carry my handlerchief with me
7) Wash my own clothes

Seven Things that attract me to the opposite sex
1) Simplicity
2) Intelligence
3) A sense of humour
4) Lovely eyes
5) A smile u cud die for
6) Dimples
7) The thing that's the opposite of possessiveness

Seven Celebrity crushes
1) Madhuri Dixit
2) Steffi Graf
3) Preity Zinta
4) Meg Ryan
5) Maria Sharapova
6) Madhubala
7) Shruti Seth (VJ , i guess)

Seven People I want to tag
Here I flounder...everyone I know on the blogosphere has already been tagged...do I now request people to start their own blogs because I tagged them???
Anyway...I'll do that
1) Dada (that's my elder bro)
2) Avik Chakraborty
3) Soham Dutta
4) Rajarshi Guin
5) Rohit Singh (Last time I heard, he was planning to start a blog)
6) Sachin Shukla (hell's prophecies kahan hai bhai?)
7) Astha Jain

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Summer's Placement 1: Pre Placement

34 companies, 6 days, 5 slots, 20 group discussions, 19 interviews...yes that's what it took me to land up a decent summer internship at India's premier institution of management!!!The first thing all companies told me was that rejection was not a reflection of my true capabilities and hence, I take heart from that, but eventually what transpired during those 6 days was a very interesting and unforgettable experience!

Let me start off with my initial perceptions about the recruitment process in any IIM. I sort of held the view that the placement process out here was a cakewalk with companies putting up stalls and running around you trying to rope you in! So I was in for quite a shock when things actually started hotting up round here.

Though the summer placement process started from 12th November, preparations had been in full swing ever since the DP hols. And man, some preparation does go in for the interviews! By the end of the process, I had interviewed with foreign I-banks, domestic financial institutions, FMCGs, IT solution providers, a telecom company, a newspaper...indeed, the whole gamut and I must say its a BIG learning curve! Fact of the matter is, I knew the answers to almost all of the questions I was asked in any interview, so it seemed to me that I knew a lot of stuff and that I had actually prepared for it. It was not like at IIT, where we just used to land up at any company without even bothering to look at the company website!

The process is long and is painful. Indeed, it starts from long before placement week. Firstly, there are those umpteen company forms to be filled. And the companies derive some perverse pleasure by asking all sorts of inane personal and situational questions...I don't know how or whether they get the time to actually read all that crap! The hand filled forms are more of a pain...even copy paste doesn't work! And in the midst of all this, there are the thousands of PPTs that one has to attend. Add to that midterms and mugging up whole chapters of corp fin, erivatives and kotler and you sort of start getting the whole picture. You sometimes don't really care about who's gonna take you on board as long as someone does...all the effort that goes in makes you wonder whether it's all worth it! But one thing that you really feel as placement week approaches is that you start knowing yourself and your priorities pretty well. Of course, there's a lot more to learn, as we shall see later!

And on top of that, there are the press releases and inane one-upmanship wrt A and B. Suddenly all the major dailies are flooded with news about IIM Calcutta's summer placements even before the week has started. The whole world has been informed about the super companies and the super salaries that are on offer. And they'll then start asking you...beta training lag gaya...kahan laga...US? kitne dollar kamaoge?...what an embarassment when you tell them that u'll be in India at some desi bank or consumer company...and the other person goes away thinking of you as some kind of despicable species who can't even land a foreign offer from an IIM. No I-bank? No New York, London, Honk Kong?...then what's the use of being in IIMC?...I'll explore the uses as I go along the journey of those 6 days in my next instalment.

Monday, November 07, 2005

When destiny calls...

This post is dedicated to a very dear brother and long standing friend of mine, who is no more

Sometimes people wonder whether there really is a GOD above them, watching... rewarding them for the good things that they do and punishing them for the evil that they perpetrate...that is how we would like to imagine GOD. But things don't always turn out that way...good people are punished, evil men are let off...destiny, do you say? But what's destiny...who creates destiny? Why can't we control our destiny by our own actions? Why are our lives so dependant on the destinies of others? I have so many questions swimming in my head today...and I can answer none.

Today I cannot console myself the death of a 20 year old kid, who had not even begun enjoying his life, a kid who had worked hard his entire life to meet the expectations of his parents, to what end? Untimely death due to negligent driving of some other human being, who may be equally blameless! What answers does GOD offer us? Our parents tell us ki beta be nice, grow up to be a good human being...again to what end? Kya hua achha insaan banke...ppl tell me I'm a nice guy...in terms of niceness and concern for others, I bow humbly to this young brother of mine. No more with me. No more am I his 'ardhek', his half. No brother of mine will call me "chhordabhai" again. But life will roll on. My elder bro will get married. People will be forced to be happy, maybe not that happy, but they will be happy. The sorrow will live on, as long as he lives on in our memories.

The pain has not yet sunk in. Our frequency of meeting had gone down since he went to b'lore and it just seems that that frequency has got a tad extended. It somehow seems unbelievable that there is no existence. That when I was drunk and dancing away to glory on a wild post-midterm Thursday night, my cousin had ceased to exist in this mortal life. Someday I will, too. But who wants to believe that. Everyday we read in the papers about this accident and that. But unless faced by personal tragedy, the sorrow of these countless people, whose entire families are wiped out, never really hit home. The feeling of losing someone is an all-enveloping one, an overwhelming one, You just don't know how to react. You are numb.

I am numb. Unable to concentrate. Life seems to be one big dream presently. Or nightmare? Whatever. This is not real. Perhaps this world was too less a place for someone as "rawking" as my bro, Bhooto (I just couldn't bring myself to spell out that name before this...it hurts, real bad). Rock on, dear man, wherever you are. You'll always be in my heart.