Thursday, August 13, 2009

Just a little thing mates

I’ve been itching to write this post since last 4-5 days but have not been able to owing to some unavoidable circumstances. Now that the euphoria has finally subsided, I can write peacefully. Now, now don’t go all ‘kahe ka euphoria kaise unavoidable circumastances’, i know how annoying it is when amateurs like me try to build suspense so I won’t hobble around and get directly to the topic!!
So the cause of this euphoria is that yours truly, yes yours truly Pranjal has got placed in Mahindra and Mahindra, FES!! Yeah I know I shouldn’t sound too much pleased with myself but I’m yet to discover another way of speaking this out :) … so bear with meJ.
So this post, I am going to tell you all about the whole selection procedure of Mahindra and Mahindra that they followed at my place- National Institute of Technology, Jamshedpur and that they almost certainly follow at all other engineering colleges.
So the whole procedure started on the morning of 27th july about 9:15 am, with a PPT-pre placement talk.
It was at this ppt, we had our first look at the team that had come to select us for Mahindra and Mahindra. The team had three men and two ladies. Two of the men – Mr. Pramod Lamba and Mr. Sudhir were probably of same age- somewhere in mid fifties and third gentleman Mr. Adarsh choudhary was a bit younger somewhere in mid fourties. But the ladies- miss Ruchi Rawat and miss Soumya Bajpai, seemed stunningly young… I mean could have easily mistaken them for my batch mates had I not been absolutely sure that I know every girl in my batch at least by face!!
So it was miss Ruchi who initiated the ppt informing us completely about the selection procedure. She told us that she would be recruiting for both Mahindra and Swaraj division. Then Mr. Pramod, a short portly man got up and guided us on various aspects of Mahindra and Mahindra through the course of a presentation. The presentation was quite interesting, but I remember one thing told to us in the presentation quite clearly… Mahindra and Mahindra holds a total of 42% share of Indian market in FES(farming equipment sector). That piece of statistics swept me off my feet!! Boy, it is an agriculture based economy we are talking about and you have a 42%market share in the FES!! Anyways we were told that we will first have a written, then a group discussion round and then finally personal interview.
So immediately after the PPT we were addressed to assemble at the hall 222 for our written test.
Written test
Previously I had appeared in two companies (Ashok Leyland and Telcon) and could not even clear the written, so I was particularly anxious about clearing the written. I had studied pretty much the same that I had studied for previous two companies… production technology and ic engines.
The paper had two sections-
Aptitude (25questions) and
Technical (50 questions).
The time duration of the test was 75 minutes and there was no negative marking and no sectional cut off. The aptitude was pretty easy… it had questions like “a drum has two holes- one can empty it in 6 minutes and the other can in 9 minutes so how much time will both take to empty it”. Such questions, I take, should be a piece of cake for any average engineering student. I felt Only four questions, based on coding, were difficult which I could not solve and hence I guess marked them [no negative marking!!].
Then the technical portion was very tough- I only knew some 12-14 questions out of the 50 completely… so I had to resort to guessing a large chunk of the paper… though most of the guess work was done a bit intelligently, a little bit of wild guess was also involved.
Anyways at about 12:30 the written was over and we were free… so I came back, had my lunch and was preparing to sleep around 2:00pm as Rahul Bhardwaj came and told me that I had cleared the written. I was one of the 37(out of nearly 80) people to have qualified the written. Then I was told that I had my Group Discussion round at 4:30. I started preparing for the GD, then had bath, dressed in the formals (I had to borrow hrishikesh’s tie because I had not bought one!!) and reached the training and placement cell of my college.
Group discussion
The GD started 20 minutes earlier than its scheduled time. Anyways as we entered I was feeling very nervous. All the members of the HR team were seated there in the GD room. As we entered Mr. Lamba directed us to sit… and we all sat according to the roll numbers assigned to us… and then mr. Lamba and company asked few general questions to help us feel at ease with the GD room environ and calm down the nerves and that certainly helped. Anyways we were provided the topic- Indo-US nuclear deal. I had read a lot on the deal but that was well 7-8 months ago… we were given 2 minutes to think and prepare and so we did. And after two minutes bell rang to indicate the start of discussion I was the first one to speak… I spake, spake did I for one continuous minute when someone interrupted me and the discussion went on. After seven minutes the discussion ended and we all left the room.
The GD had gone well but I couldn’t be certain because two or three people in my group had spoken well. Anyways I came back and waited for the result and was not made to for long; for the result came with an hour and I had been called for the interview. Out of a total of 37 who had been selected for the GD, 18 had been called for interview. We were told that 6 people would be interviewed on 27th night itself and remaining 12 the next i.e. 28th and I was among the latter group of people. So I had one full night to prepare for the interview and I tried my best to study… I studied a little bit of IC engine but couldn’t study much… tried to study a little bit of industrial management and failed. So finally resorted to calling nidhi, my cousin who has this amazing ability to sooth your nerves even if you have a raging storm of nerves inside you. I can’t remember after talking to nidhi but certainly couldn’t study but yeah I kept the IC engine book OPEN in front of me to feel as if I were studying. And finally I decided to sleep at 2 and turned off the lights but again I couldn’t sleep until it was 3:30 and even when I slept o slept badly… got up early at 7.

The interview
In morning I got up, had bath and got ready by 9 am and left for the TAP cell by 10 am. I had heard that the interviewers are mainly asking HR questions so I framed up some questions in mind and tried to answer myself but again, failed. I had taken a book of industrial management with me; I tried to study that and again gave up. I was nervous like anything… I was trying to calm myself, but couldn’t. I tried to ward off all those horrible thoughts coming in the mind and this time I succeeded. I thought just what my dad had told me “zyada se zyada kya hoga?? Nahi lenge… koi maar to denge nahi!! Fir try karna” and that helped… my dad is a genius I reflected. Then out came (from the interview room) Gaurav Prateek who was scheduled just before me and it was my turn.
The bell rang and in went Pranjal Srivastava. I asked if I could come in and was asked to enter and then sit down. Then Mr. Lamba asked me “srivastva jeee… pehle ye bataiye kaha se hain ap??” I told them I am from azamgarh, UP. The panel laughed a bit, and asked me if I knew what azamgarh is famous for. O told them it is famous for literary personalities and scholars like moulana shibli nomani, kaifi aazmi and rahul sankrityayan and then also told them that lately it has been in news for bomb blast accused and other terrorist activities to which Mr. Sudhir(one of the panel members) told me that it was only famous for that(terrorists)!!
Anyways interview carried on and I was asked why should they take me only seeing that they had 18 options available and I told them the usual I was enthusiastic, have the attitude of a sportsperson and blah blah… which may be a bit cliché but is true. I made sure that I followed each quality that I claimed to have, with an example which revealed that quality. This answer I had prepared beforehand, so I felt I did a good job answering it. Many such questions followed but there are two questions I remember distinctly.
First one was if I wanted to go for higher studies. Miss Ruchi asked me if I would go for M.Tech, MBA or anything else. This question I had tried a lot prepare but could not decide on a binary (yes/no) answer. So I told them what I felt honestly. I told them that I want to progress in the company… I would work hard and expect promotion but if after a certain stage I feel that I am unable to climb up the ladder and an MBA has become essential to reach my goal I would go for MBA, but if I am satisfied with my job and progress I would continue to work. Then Mr. Sudhir said “but your father is a PhD !!” I told them that my dad saw himself in a teaching career so he went to higher studies and he had an interest in research so he did a PhD and that I saw myself in industry so I would opt for industry to which they seemed to be satisfied and I got a “good”.
Then the second stand out question was a hypothetical situation. Mr Lamba asked “suppose you are working really hard and still you have not been promoted for two years. What will you do?” “tricky one” I thought and again decided to go by instincts. I told them the honest thing that I’d do. I told them “sir, I would go back to the basics, try and diagnose the problem and then rectify it.” But Mr.Lamba intervened “no no! according to you, you are working really good” I then thought a bit and said “sir, if I am not being promoted, there has to be reason for it. In such a case, I’ll start doubting my credentials as that particulars post holder. Then I’ll go to my seniors responsible for promotion and try to discuss with them the problems in my work and that how can I be more productive company and get promoted” and again this seemed to satisfy them… again I got a “good” from Mr. Sudhir and I knew I had nailed it J.
The whole interview had only single technical question asked by Mr. Adarsh Choudhary.
He asked me which subject was my favorite. I told him IC engine. Then he laughed and said “why does everyone say IC engine??” I told him “I think it’s because it is pretty easy.” Then he said “ask me a question on IC engine” and I obliged by asking “what is the difference b/w a spark ignition and compression ignition engine?” and then he said “now answer this.” Feeling elated I promptly answered this question because anyone who has studied only the introduction chapter in any book on IC engine would answer this even in sleep. Miss soumya then asked ki what would happen if a diesel engine was fed with petrol. On this question I told a whole lot of engineering- petrol has high auto ignition temp which won’t be achieved hence no combustion would take place. So the chemical energy of fuel won’t be converted to mechanical energy and hence no work would be done rendering the whole practice quite useless!!
Now in final moments of interview Miss Ruchi asked me if I had any problems in travelling. Again I trusted my instinct and gave her the honest answer that I had no problems in travelling for 7-8 years now, that is until I get married but after I’m married it won’t be possible for me to travel that frequently!! Then Mr. Lamba asked “nothing in pipeline for marriage?” and I laughed and replied that I didn’t have any girl friend so nothing was there in pipeline. Again Miss Ruchi asked me if I was open to working anywhere and again my response was affirmative.
Then I was told that I could go… and I came out of interview hall feeling that I had put up good show and stood a real good chance to get the job. But even then I was a little bit skeptical.
And then they decided to give us the results for our interview and again I was nervous like anything. But then they gave the result and it turned out that Pranjal Srivastava had got the job, and I went on an exploration to search the heavens for levels of clouds beyond the cloud nine!!
And finally on this cool august night as I sit on the roof of my hostel, completing this post, I have a job!!

PS: This post was written some 8 days back and I have got an opportunity to post it today only because of the internet problem there at our hostel!!