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.