Manipal Placement Talk: Apply off-campus!

Name: Shashad Gujaran
Branch & Batch: B.E. Civil Engineering – Batch of 2012
Branches who might be interested in this article: Civil Engineering
Current Role & Organization: Graduate Research Assistant and Student at University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
Previous Organization through On-Campus Placement: Larsen and Toubro – Construction

  1. Briefly tell us about your background. What are you currently doing?

Hello Everyone, I graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering in May 2012 following which I worked with Larsen and Toubro Construction for 2 years. I’m currently pursuing my Master of Science in Civil Engineering specializing in Transportation Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

  1. How did this type of work interest you?

To be honest, I always had plans of pursuing a Master’s degree. I just wanted to be sure of the area I was interested in. The curriculum that we have back in India as far as civil engineering is concerned is more focused on structural engineering. There is little opportunity for anyone to explore other areas like Materials, Transportation, Geotechnical Engineering and so on. Working at Larsen and Toubro Construction made me realize that Construction sector is not my cup of tea and made me look for other opportunities.

  1. Tell us more about your company.

Larsen and Toubro Construction is a General Contracting Company that builds almost anything and everything you can think of.

  1. What is your job like? What are the duties/functions/responsibilities of your job?

I was there with L&T for a total for 24 months. In the first eleven months, I was rotated within the different departments (Central Planning + QA/QC + Site In-charge + Site Planning) in my work place to get a feel of the organization structure and responsibilities. In the second year, I was handling construction planning and invoicing for two packages of the project, procurement for these packages, sub-contractor billing and so on.

  1. What jobs and experiences have led you to your present position?

I was asked during the interview whether I was willing to work in a remote location and because I didn’t have any other option, I had to say that I was willing to. This answer probably made them select me. I personally feel L&T gives a lot of weightage to GPA and this also might be one of the reasons for me getting through the interview round.

  1. Must do activities to build a good profile/resume for placements.
  • Be involved in curricular and extra-curricular activities.
  • An internship before you start working
  • Some independent projects in the area which interests you.
  1. Does Manipal make you better prepared to face the outside world? Why?

I definitely feel it does make you feel prepared to face the outside world. In fact, this is common for students who are on their own after high school. You will be working in remote locations from where it might take at least a day to reach home. The best thing that I learnt while I was in Manipal was recognizing people and their behavior. This is something which helps you a lot while you start working. Also, in Manipal you get to interact with people from all over the world. It opens up an altogether different perspective to life and you just get better with time on this.

  1. What is a typical career path in this field or organization? What are the advancement opportunities? What are the salary ranges for various levels in this field?

Graduates generally start as Graduate Engineer Trainees (GET’s) for the first year. In the second year, you get promoted to the post of a Senior Engineer and will be given a definite responsibility. After a year or two as Senior Engineer, you move on to the post of an Assistant Construction Manager followed by Construction Manager, Project Manager, Project Director, Executive Vice President, VP, CEO and so on. J

GET’s – Rs 20000 – Rs 25000

Senior Engineer – Rs 32000 – Rs 45000 (Over the second year)

I’m not sure about salaries for other positions.

  1. What are the emerging opportunities in your field? What is the demand like for people in this field?

This is again a very generic question. It solely depends on the area that you talk about.

  1. What kinds of experience, paid or unpaid, would you encourage for anybody pursuing a career in this field?

I would encourage everyone to pursue an internship after their second or third year so that they can get an idea as to how things work in the industry.

  1. What are the skills that are most important for a position in this field? What are your thoughts on the importance of soft skills like communication and leadership in life after college?

The first and foremost skill I feel is that of taking initiatives. In the field of construction, you will encounter obstacles in every task that you do. It is necessary for a person to come up with new ideas and have the courage to implement them in the system. This is how things improve in the construction industry. Construction sector is one in which your people relation skills are put to test. You will be exposed to situations in which the workers will refuse to work and will go on strike demanding higher pay and so many other problems that I cannot mention here. It is your communication and negotiation skills that will be put to test.

  1. What are the top 5-10 companies a student in your branch should aim for?

Well, this depends on the area that you are interested in within Civil Engineering.

  1. Please briefly comment on the placement process for on-campus placements?

Most of the companies had a written test followed by group discussion (not all companies had GD’s).  This was followed by one or two rounds of interviews.

  1. How did you prepare for Placements?

Somewhat. I went through basics of some of the courses before interviews.

  1. Should one apply off-campus? What are the ways to get a job off-campus?

Definitely! An institute cannot bring each and every company on this planet to the campus for placements. Not all companies that visit the companies will work in the area that you are interested in. So, it is your responsibility to take a lead and apply by whatever channels you are aware of. Some of which I would suggest would be researching for jobs on LinkedIn and finding alumni who are working in similar roles that you are interested in. By the time I was in the final year, I had an idea of the kind of work that I was interested in and started researching for companies that work in that area, visited their websites and applied for open positions on their website.

  1. What are most of your fellow batch mates doing after graduation?

I believe most of them who started working immediately after graduation are pursuing or planning to pursue higher education (MBA/MS) after working for a year or two. There were few who joined their family businesses.

  1. Any other tips to students who want to pursue a job at your organization/similar organizations?

Be ready and open to moving to remote locations for your first assignment. This is what happened to me and lot of other students who started work at Larsen and Toubro. It is a bit difficult to adjust at first but then you get used to it. There will be situations where you will feel like quitting at first when everyone tries to scold you for not meeting targets or whatever but that is how you learn and move forward in life. Moreover, enjoy your time in Manipal because these days will never be back!

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