MIT Manipal and The Placement Paranoia

Placements1

Of late I’ve been asked by a few about companies coming, interviews, written rounds, GD, subjects, questions etc… etc… etc… So, as I see it, quite a few people out there in the lovely Manipal valley are going absolute bonkers. I thought it’d be a good idea to ease you out on some of the placement tidbits. I usually have a standard answer to placement related questions and I will put it as it is and later add-on a few more things. I am a Mechanical engineering student so I’d be a bit specific on some things related to the branch. Nonetheless, I’ll try to keep it as generic as possible. So here we go.Placements

First things first:

Trust me… Placements are a big-big hauaa…(for those not very familiar with Hindi jargon). Your wise teachers will rightly tell you that it is not the end of the world. So first, you need to relax. This may sound rather insignificant but seriously, is one of the really key aspect to your success. Don’t let placements get to your head. Almost everyone ends up with a job; unless you are like really really unlucky which I sure hope you are not.

Timing:

I am not sure of your placement method this year but keep in mind which company comes when. I mean, you don’t want to get placed one Company X and then not be eligible for Company Y which you may really want to work for. I think the placement dept will be able to help you there. They usually have a schedule. Check out and give it some thought.

Written Tests:

Most companies have a written test as their first cut off apart from the CGPA thing. They are usually a mix of Quantitative Aptitude, Verbal skill and Technical know-how of your branch. A good book for placement level Quants is “Quantitative Aptitude – RS Aggarwal”. I do not think you would really need a book on verbal skills; I mean they are rather very straight forward. Technical know-how however, you need to brush up. This will keep you in good stead not just for the written test but for the interview session as well. Many people go through the GATE preparatory books for this. If you are a bit lazy, there are small branch specific handbooks available in the market. I bought these. 😀

For mechanical engineering students, the book by Khurmi is enough. Some companies have a section wise cut off, L&T for example. So be careful there not to get carried away.

Group Discussions:

Remember this forever, GD is not a debate. Although most people know this, they screw it up in the heat of the argument. And please, the key to the GD is NOT to take the middle path as is the common view. Companies want team workers (mostly) and that means you need to give different people and their thoughts their own space; but in doing so, do not lose your conviction either. Never say something like “I JUST cannot agree with you on that”. Make it a habit in fact. Recognize that views will differ as people look at issues from different perspective. Common sense should tell you to put it something like “Ahhh, that could be a possibility. However, I do have a different view about it…”. Be assertive, not aggressive. Debate, well you could go punch your opponent in the face.

Interviews:

Do not and I’d like to reiterate, DO NOT beat around the bush. If you don’t know the answer, Say you don’t know. You can’t possibly fool them… they have years of experience at taking our buffoonery in the face. Although, you could tell them and take an educated guess so that you don’t look like a complete ass or more literally, a ‘mute dumb’ ass. Apart from the aforementioned reason, the fact is that in industry you come across open ended issues, unlike the close ended questions you face in examinations. They very rarely have one correct answer. So they would actually appreciate the fact that even in the absence of clear facts you can come to a rational conclusion on whatever little you have. Very important is to stay calm. Just make sure you don’t freak out in panic. They will try an intimidate you with shouts, growls, tough questions or put you in a car crash and see if you crack under pressure because that’s how the corporate world is. I am serious, Leave the room smiling and half your job is done… well okay, a tad lesser than half 😀 Prepare three subjects really well that you are fond of, because mostly you’ll be asked for your 2-3 favorite subjects and later you can expect a few questions from them.

Dressing:

I’ve never really understood the point of formal dressing but by norm it shows in some incomprehensible way that you take the interview seriously. Blah..! So, yeah I’d suggest you don’t go there in your trunks. Buy a decent looking shirt, trousers and formal shoes. Socks, of course, are an optional extra. You don’t really need to get a suit, but well, if you like Barney, so be it. Suit up! For girls, you could wear anything from corporate to formal Kurtis. Although my friends have tried hard, I don’t really know how a formal kurti differs from an informal kurti. So you’d know better. In toto, be presentable.

Mechanical Specifically:

Be sure of preparing SOM, PT and Workshop Technology. They are fundamental in the industry. Theory of machines and Thermo is important… although… if you actually say you don’t like a given subject they won’t really ask questions from that area unless the subject is all important in the given company. Mahindra has considerable tech stuff in the written phase. Maruti has a full Tech written round. I think Khurmi is more than sufficient …actually that as much as you’ll be able to do.

All the best. Hope you earn a lot; and more importantly learn a lot too!

About the Author: Allen Jose George, is an alumnus of MIT, Manipal and was the Tech secretary of the MIT Student council in 2010. He graduated with a BE Mechanical engineering degree in 2011 and worked at Maruti Suzuki RnD. He is  currently pursuing his Masters in  Computational Mechanics from Universität Stuttgart, Stuggart, Germany.

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