Chitwan Garg

Chitwan Garg graduating from IIT Kanpur, Branch- Civil Engineering With A Second Major In Economics department as a Graduate (B.Tech) in 2020 has been placed as Management Trainee – Analytics in American Express.

a) Other companies that I was shortlisted for b) Analysis of available options (based on profile, growth, compensation, Brand Name, etc) Ans 1 a) I was shortlisted for interviews at PwC diac, American Express, HSBC Technology and EXL, although I only went through the PwC Diac interview process before American Express. Ans 1 b) There were many other companies as well which I applied for and went till shortlisting test phase. These were mainly for Quant, finance, Analytics and ML profiles. I also applied for Soft dev roles which were open to me but I personally did not wanted to focus on soft dev, I was more focused towards Quant, analyst and finance profiles. Compensation wise, Quant trading firms and hedge funds like Worldquant are the highest paying firms but at the same time they become highly competitive in selection simply because they have lesser number of hiring requirements as compared to other firms. Then sell side finance firms like JPMC, GS, etc also offer good compensation in Quant researcher roles. Then there are many companies which offer decent compensation at Analyst roles some of the names include Amex, HSBC, Soc Gen, iRage etc. All in all there are enough opportunities available to a non CSE/EE/MnC student as well in Soft dev/Analyst/Quant/Finance/Managerial roles. Most of the companies that come in first 2-3 days have a very good brand name and growth prospects in their respective industry.

Ans ,2) I starting coding in summers before the placement sem. I practiced all the important topic questions like DP, Graphs, String, Backtracking, Recursion and other basic DS concepts from Leetcode. I kept focussing on Medium/Hard questions on leetcode mainly from DP, Graphs and Strings sections as these topics frequently appear in many tests. Coding is a very important aspect as basic DS knowledge is tested by almost every company except Core and managerial roles. I would suggest to do a course offered by Demux academy in summers if you have not done DSA course at IITK and otherwise as well if you want guidance in placement prep. I practiced Quant puzzles from Brainstellar and 50 challenging problems mainly for Quant Researcher roles. Then as the time progressed, I prepared for Aptitude, SQL queries, OOPS concepts and revised ML concepts. This is particularly important if you are aiming for software/ML/Analytics roles. Some of the companies ask to write SQL queries in the test. Many coding/ML roles ask OOPS concepts as MCQs in their test and almost all ML related roles will ask MCQs related to ML concepts. All these firms have a coding section along with a MCQ section which contains Aptitude and other above listed concepts related questions. Some of the roles might also ask to code a small ML problem in the test. You should wisely focus on the preparation of related concepts based on your target roles. I would suggest to keep your preparation as generic as possible if you are indifferent about your target roles. During the phase in which tests keep going on, I kept discussing the coding questions that I was not able to solve completely during the test and also kept discussing previous year questions of upcoming company tests with my friends. Then as December approached, I started my Interview preparations. Only some of the interview shortlists are announced by mid November so you need to start your preparation in a generic way. The best way to prepare for interview is to KNOW YOUR RESUME very well. I started looking at my intern and project descriptions that I wrote on my resume and thoroughly prepared important technical concepts involved and the project workflow that I executed. I would suggest you to frame a content for each of your project which should broadly contain 4 things : First, the objective, second, the flow in which you executed the project with all the technical details, like libraries and models used, dependencies used and theoretical concepts used. Then third, the results you achieved and fourth, the business impact of the work done by you in the project. Try thinking these aspects and be ready for related questions before the actual interview. I also revised all the important theoretical concepts in courses like ML, Statistics, DSA, and other courses that I had listed in my resume.

PwC Diac : They did not take any test and shortlisted directly from Resume. I had a PoR of IC and an intern at HSBC Global Markets which I think helped me to get shortlisted. My shortlist in this company was a kind of surprise for me because I did not targeted Consulting roles. But as the shortlist was announced very early, I had the time to prepare for the interview. I started looking at types of Business cases and started solving each type. I prepared for guesstimates in the same way. Finally at the interview day, I could only make it to the Second round. American Express : They asked Aptitude, Probability and Technical Data Interpretation based Case study in their test. There was no coding as far as I remember. Then on interview day, they took 2 rounds both of them were technical. They asked a probability puzzle along with a Data based Case Study in which I had to come up with a parameters/features that would affect the problem statement in a Data analysis based setting. They asked me basic ML concepts like regularisation, under fitting, overfitting , Clustering techniques and working knowledge of basic Classifiers like Logistic Regression . In Second round as well, focus was on Projects done and ML and Statistics concepts evolving from resume. HSBC Tech : I did not appeared for interview as it came after Amex. But in the test there was a coding section which was fairly easy, apart from that it had a video assignment and Data Interpretation section. EXL : They had an aptitude test only. No coding. JPMC and GS : They ask medium/hard level probability questions in their test which needs a lot of practice to be completed in time. You have to be very thorough with Brainstellar, 50 challenging problems and other common probab puzzle resources. Apart from probability, you should also revise Statistics concepts like Expectation theory, important distributions etc. Coding section is not very tough in these, topics generally revolve around Trees, Graphs, DP, Greedy, Strings etc, with 1 hard/medium and other 2 medium/easy questions. I had all sorts of bitter and sweet experiences while going through processes of different companies. There were times when I could not express my full potential in the company tests which resulted in nervousness, and there was also a time at which I was satisfied with my execution in the final interview at Amex, but all in all I would say that placement sem is a very dynamic semester and its important to Hold your nerves till the very end of the placement sem.

I would suggest not to overthink just before some 1-2 hours of your actual interview. Know your resume very well before the interview. Don’t procrastinate your own time table specifically in your placement sem.

Final Tips :
Remember that Perseverance is the key. Keep learning from bitter experiences in the tests and interviews as that is the only way of improving and keep thriving in the placements. Don’t get anxious by the shortlists and other results. Keep focussing on the upcoming chain of events. Keep connected to your friends as well and do mutual discussions of your problems virtually in WFH scenario.