This is a reminiscence of my tremendous coup which literally changed all of my opinions and thoughts about days of the upcoming summer’13 and the days succeeding college life. The description may sound circumlocutory since I am not used to with writing such lengthy tales. Also for the last two years, I am finding it very difficult to unjumble and untangle my feelings to form understandable and attractive sentences with intelligent use of words.

This is how it begun…

It was a usual day for me in my 5th semester as a CSE undergrad- getting up early and trying my best to attend maximum lectures. Since it was nearly the end of the semester, I and my batch mates were quite worried about our chances of getting a summer internship. The worry was obvious as not a single company had visited yet, considering the fact that last year Microsoft, IBM and Qualcomm had already visited by this time and selected almost 6-7 CSE students in all. Also my worries got elevated when I came to know from my contemporaries studying in other NITs had already got a chance to try their best in getting an internship at software giants like Microsoft, IBM and TI (though, almost 10-15 guys succeeded in getting one). The aftermath being, we had to spend more time in our computer lab (since there was no internet connection in our new hostel yet), vigorously searching for different summer internship programs in reputed companies like Adobe, Zynga, etc.

The day when our worries abated finally arrived. I can’t recall the exact day and date,I can recall is that a notice was put up in our department for 3rd yrs regarding the recruitment for summer internship by Goldman Sachs (I couldn’t even pronounce it in a single go at that moment since it was the first time I read about this company). The procedure for selection was similar to that during placements – a written test followed by GD and PI.

I wondered for a moment, “What the deuce is wrong with this college? Can’t a better company approach us for internship? Don’t we deserve something better? Also now all of a sudden, where the heck has this company emerged from? Oh, it must be some start-up and is visiting our college for the first time. Oh wait; it’s the same company one of my fellow interns (Aviral) at IITB is currently placed with a hefty package of 11 Lakh. Shit! In that case my chances of succeeding are almost nil. Hmm, whatever, at least I am getting a chance to go through the standard procedure for getting a placement. At least this would help me evaluate myself with my fellow batch mates.

Also fortunately (for me) only students with CGPA more than 7.23 were eligible for it (FYI, mine is currently 7.78). I along with some of my friends went to the Training and placement department and completed the formalities required to appear for the test. There I got to know that I am currently on 23rd position in my batch (that was slightly upsetting).

Now that I had an opportunity to prove myself mentally superior to my batch mates with better pointer (though I may not be) , and an grab an internship (though not at a company I dreamed of) I spent a week before the written test Googling various kind of aptitude problems that are frequently asked particularly in GS written tests. Also I read a few blogs which provided me a deep analysis of the level of problems in the written test and following Interviews. The important information I gleaned from them was “The written test is very hard and everyone feels short of time (usually 45 minutes for 20-25 aptitude and 10-12 technical questions related to C programming)”.Keeping this in mind, I went through a loads of questions to increase my speed, accuracy and confidence, and to make myself up to date with various short trick. Though I didn’t get ample time to be at par with those in my batch who had spent their last 3 months preparing for CAT, after solving dozens of aptitude questions and reading experiences for others, one thing I was certain of was : since the time provided for the written test won’t suffice to go through every the questions, at least I would be able to answer the easier ones with the proviso that I make the right selection of questions in the test.

4th Nov 2012:

Finally, the day for the trial by ordeal arrived. It was Sunday evening and we had gathered near the Mathematics department where we were supposed to take the test. I sat with Bhaskar and Kapil besides me, hoping that I would get a chance to sniff into their answer sheet, but all in vain. The time allotted was not even sufficient to go through all the questions once. Still, I think that I managed to solve around 60% of them correctly. I had spent too much time in solving the aptitude questions that I was left with only 10 minutes to solve the 10 Technical ones. I quickly took a glance at all the questions, hoping to find the easier ones, but unfortunately, they were all lengthy and hard. I hardly solved 4-5 of them completely (without much satisfaction), guessed all the remaining ones in the end and handed over question paper and the answer sheets to the invigilators. After that we were provided 5 minutes to answer a subjective question “What makes you think you are the best candidate for this internship?” I can’t recall exactly what I wrote, but I made sure to mention about the summer internship at IITB, hoping it would make little impact.

After the test, we were asked to sit in the Physics Assembly Hall, where the GS guys gave a presentation about the company. The way in which the presentation was given, made all of us sitting in the hall to want the internship. They exaggerated a lot about the technical exposure we would get if we work there. They also managed to change the mind-set of all the guys who conceived that the kind of work we will be asked to do during the internship, will mostly be related to financial and some sort of data processing work. They emphasised on having currently around 8 thousand technical employees and the average tenure of their employees is 12 years! Also one thing that astonished everyone present there was, ‘the company has its own language, its own compiler and is independent of any other technical giant for the software they require internally’. This was enough for us to do anything to get selected. I wondered for a moment “Oh God, why are they giving the presentation so late? If I knew all these facts earlier, I would have prepared far better than this and had tried even better in the test.” But unfortunately it was too late for all of us. We had already gone through the bottleneck of the selection process and we knew that only the lucky 28 from us will be selected for further rounds.

Even though I was very certain that I won’t be selected for the next round in any case, also I was more certain that even if I am lucky in it, I will be thrown out in the subsequent round of Group Discussion, as I had never appeared in a formal GD before. Still, during the time the GS guys were doing their job (to lure us), I kept browsing the net on my phone, looking for some sensible article on “Things to keep in mind during a group discussion”. One common tip was to be ‘a discussion starter’ if possible (and if you are confident enough in your point!) and to make sure that you always ‘speaking something’ in any GD, no matter what. I kept only these two things in my mind.

After the presentation was over, they got a list of all the short listed ones(the lucky ones!). They started calling their names one by one. My heart was racing when the call begun. After they had called one or two names, I sadly said to Jairaj sitting in my front row “Apna kya hoga be”, being certain that I won’t be short listed in any case. After they had called 10-12 names, came the names of Bhaskar and Kapil sitting beside me during the presentation and I murmured ‘lucky bastards!’ But I soon had to take my words back when I heard my own name! ‘Oh God, how could I be selected?’ I received many compliments and wishes (some backhanded) for the GD. The only words I replied them were “Thanks” or “I am definite to be kicked out in the GD”. We were divided into 3 groups, with 9-10 guys in a group. Luckily, the other contenders in my group (as I figured out) were not voluble, this helped me subside my nervousness.

The topic we were asked discuss for 10 minutes was “Should India host Olympics now? Or Is India capable of hosting Olympics now?” They gave 2 minutes to first get our mind set and recollect all the facts before starting. I wondered sarcastically “I know how good my general knowledge is, now is the time to prove it!” and decided that I would just put my points in an abstract manner and won’t cite any example (as if I had one :P). Also I decided to think a while before plunging in to the discussion to avert equivocalness and inarticulate while speaking.

I choose to speak in favor of India and to be firm that ‘India has enough potential to host Olympics’ also one of my viewpoints that made others in the GD divert to my opinion was ‘Even if India is not mature enough to hold an event of such glory, which attracts a multitude of crowd from literally every corner of the world, that doesn’t imply that India should wait until it gets matured. Its not always necessary to win, participation matters more. What if India holds Olympics now, and proves incapable or not at par with other western countries? At least we would have a chance to understand our potential and problems we have and subsequently diminish them.’ I adhered to this opinion and found only 2-3 in the group opposing me (yeah, the pessimists are omnipresent).

‘No, we have already experienced days of humiliation and extreme shame, when we hosted Common Wealth Games, and unless all the corrupts are eradicated from this land, we should better not involve our self in hosting another huge event. Also the natives of our country is not well aware of all the events that are conducted in any Olympics and hence we should first spread awareness and make them fit to play and win a name for the country.’ I countered them by saying firmly ‘How long do you think will it take to completely eradicate corruption and other such problems from our society? You think will it ever vanish? And don’t you think that waiting for the sports person be aware and fit for the event would take longer than if we directly host the event and publicize it through various media?’, these points were ample to leave them either dumbstruck or incline on my side. I thought ‘I have now made my point and should hold a better chance to be short-listed for the interview tomorrow’, so I spoke little in the last few minutes of the discussion.

Long story short: . . . Got shortlisted for the first interview of my life . . . Headed Radisson-Blu after final selection :) . . . 2 months of awesomeness in Bangalore!