Insight

Saurabh Sharma


Saurabh Sharma, studying in IIT Kanpur as a Dual student will do his summer internship in PRODUCT MANAGEMENT profile at OPTUM: UNITED HEALTH GROUP

Let’s start with my internship preparation journey. I got serious about the internships as the lockdown got pace, around last week of march. Spent a week’s time in collecting reading materials, sites and sources to cover, devising suitable strategy and timeline with set weekly targets. With 1^(st) of April, I was ready to execute myself. The 4 months’ time (April, May, June, July) is sufficient enough to land any internship in any firm if the time is utilized in the best manner. Targeting yourself for one or two specific profiles is another way of restricting your opportunities of getting internships, since number of companies in any profile are very limited. Thus, I was very clear, from the beginning itself, to prepare for all type of company profiles and their tests. The following part talks about my personal journey, but please go to the next section as well to find out what errors I commit and what are their remedies. So much to learn from next section. I picked the major components first. This includes ‘Coding questions’, ‘puzzles’, and quantitative questions. a) CODING – I practiced coding questions using LeetCode (LC) website. The questions are very much to the point framed and just tests your algo thinking abilities. I did almost 250 questions in total from this source. B) PUZZLES – I completed ‘Brain stellar’, ‘Gurmeet’ and ‘Geeksforgeeks Puzzles’. These 3 sources are very much sufficient for grabbing internship in any company provided, done with full efforts. C) PROBABILITY – I completed Khan academy course of Statistics and probability, and revised some course concepts of Econometrics. D) RESUME – I, instead of using any one’s template, built my own resume on Latex. It took me 11 iterations and a months’ time to reach the final resume. Aspirants are advised to adjust the timeline accordingly and start well before in advance to finish the resume on time. Make a list of at least 12 seniors whom you believe can genuinely review your resume. It was always said to me, and I’m spreading it to future generations that – ‘Never Ever Lie in Your Resume, Be It Crispy and Original’. Only write things in your resume, that you have done by yourself. E) HR QUESTIONS – This is the part I prepared in the end, just a week before time of interviews. There are some standard questions (easily available) which are meant to be jot down and learnt by heart. Then there are some company wise specific questions which are to be prepared by exploiting their website like – ‘Why Nomura’?

Major points to cover- - Interview experience - Prep tips – in general + company specific (if any) - How to plan my summers- intern? Project? Intern prep? Few quick suggestions/mistakes that I commit before sharing interview experience – a) IT IS IMPORTANT TO GRAB AN INTERNSHIP (IN ANY PROFILE) AND GET A CORPORATE EXPERIENCE IN COMING INTERNSHIP SEASON, RATHER THAN BECOMING CHOOSY FOR ONE OR TWO PROFILES THAT MAY END UP NOT HAVING ONE. OUR SOUL, IN LIEU OF ESCAPING FROM HARD WORK, FORCES US TO CHOOSE ONE OR TWO SPECIFIC PROFILES, THUS RESTRICTING OUR OPPORTUNITIES. BE CLEAR FROM VERY BEGINNING, TO PREPARE FOR ALL PROFILES AND DEVOTE TIME TO ALL NECESSARY MATERIAL. b) ALTHOUGH, I PRACTICED CODING QUESTIONS FROM LEETCODE (LC), BUT I’LL ADVISE YOU TO GO THROUGH INTERVIEWBIT (IB) FIRST AND COVER ALL THE QUESTIONS IN THE DESIGNED SEQUENTIAL MANNER. THE IB QUESTIONS BANK IS SUBSET OF LC QUESTIONS SET, AND IT IS VERY SUFFICIENT AND AFFORDABLE FOR INTERNSHIP ASPIRANTS TO COVER ALL THOSE QUESTIONS IN 4 MONTHS’ TIME. c) LOOK, THERE ARE TWO WAYS TO COVER PUZZLES, BUT THERE IS A BIG DIFFERENCE IN THEM. FIRST ONE IS, SOLVING PUZZLES BY YOUR OWN (OR EVEN TRYING HARD TO REACH TO THE ANSWER) AND OTHER IS, JUST CRAMMING THE ANSWERS OF PUZZLES. BOTH WAYS WOULD HELP ENABLE YOU TO CRACK INTERNSHIP TESTS AND INTERVIEW QUESTIONS, BUT REAL LEARNING AND TRAINING OF BRAIN WOULD OCCUR WHEN YOU DESPERATELY FOLLOWED WAY-1 OF SOLVING PUZZLES. BUT SINCE, SECOND ONE IS CHEAPER MENTALLY, THUS THE BRAIN FOLLOWS IT. BE CAUTIOUS WHAT YOU ARE FOLLOWING. d) IN THE NAME OF QUANTITATIVE APTITUDE, WHAT IS DID WAS JUST PROBABILITY & STATISTICS AND NOTHING ELSE. I DID NOT PRACTICE MUCH OF LOGICAL REASONING QUESTIONS (LIKE NTSE TYPE MAT QUESTIONS), SPEEDY QUANTITATIVE CALCULATION QUESTIONS (BASIC MATHS), AND THUS GOT DIFFICULTY IN CLEARING TESTS. MY ADVICE WOULD BE SOLVING THESE PROBLEMS IN A TIMELY MANNER (LIKE YOU CAN HAVE WORKBOOK OF IMO OLYMPIADS, OR GATE PRACTICE WORKBOOKS), CREATING TEST TYPE ENVIRONMENT AT HOME. I HAD THE KNOWLEDGE BUT WHAT WAS KEEPING ME AWAY FROM CLEARING TESTS WAS ACCURACY WITH SPEED. e) THE BIGGEST FACTOR THAT KEPT ME BEHIND OTHER’S WAS THAT I READ A LOT, COVERED ALL THINGS REQUIRED BUT MY IMPLEMENTATION WAS SLOW. I DID NOT PRACTICE WITH TIME, THUS IN EXAM I WAS UNABLE TO FINISH DUE TO PRESSURE AND TIME CONSTRAINTS. ADVISE – SOLVE THINGS IN TIMELY MANNER. f) FOR INTERVIEWS, ONE BIG FACTOR THAT KEEPS YOU ABOVE ALL OTHER PARTICIPANTS AND HELPS YOU GRABBING INTERNSHIPS VERY QUICKLY, IS YOUR EXCELLENCE IN ANY ONE FIELD. FOR INSTANCE, THIS FIELD COULD BE ANY FIELD LIKE CRICKET, FOOTBALL, PLAYING GUITAR, RUBIK’S CUBE SOLVING, YOUR SPECIFIC DEPARTMENT FIELD (LIKE I HAD MACROECONOMICS) ETC. THIS SHOULD BE YOUR FIELD ON WHICH YOU KNOW MORE THAN INTERVIEWER AND YOU CAN SPEAK ON IT WITHOUT ANY STOPPINGS. IF YOU STILL HAVE NOT ANYTHING LIKE THIS SORT, YOU HAVE TIME TO FIGURE AND DEVELOP THAT TOPIC. g) STUDYING IN GROUPS HELPS. THEY KEEP YOU COMPETITIVE AND MOTIVATED. FURTHER, PEERS CAN HELP IN DOUBT CLEARINGS. YOU CAN ALSO ORGANIZE MOCK INTERVIEWS WITH THEM. h) FOR INTERVIEWS, YOU SHOULD BE THOROUGH WITH EACH AND EVERY LINE WRITTEN ON YOUR RESUME. PREPARE EACH PROJECT LIKE YOU’RE TELLING A STORY AND PRACTICE ITS NARRATION SPEAKING OUT LOUDLY WITH YOUR FRIENDS. SIMILARLY, MAKE STORIES FOR POR AS WELL. NOW COMING TO MY INTERVIEW EXPERIENCE – I HAD TWO INTERVIEWS ON THE DOOM’S DAY, ONE OF ACCENTURE AND OTHER OF OPTUM. OPTUM TOOK 2 INTERVIEW ROUNDS. FIRST WAS OF AROUND 15 MINS, AND THE SECOND WAS OF 50 MINS. ROUND-1 - THERE WAS ONLY ONE INTERVIEWER AND HE WAS TOO FRANK AND POLITE. WE STARTED WITH MY BRIEF INTRODUCTION (ADVISE – NEVER KEEP INTRO MORE THAN 1 MINUTE). THEN HE ASKED ABOUT THE OPTUM’S WORKING, WHETHER I KNOW ABOUT THE COMPANY TO WHICH I HAVE APPLIED AND GIVING INTERVIEWS. I DID COME PREPARE FOR IT USING THE COMPANY BROCHURE THAT THEY PROVIDED. I PUT EXACTLY SAME LINES WRITTEN ON THAT BROCHURE AND HE SMILED IN RETURN. (ADVISE – DO ALWAYS KNOW BEFORE FACING INTERVIEWS ABOUT THE COMPANY AND ITS WORKING) THEN, HE ASKED ME ABOUT THE ROLE – PRODUCT MANAGEMENT, THAT WHAT DO I UNDERSTAND WITH THIS TERM. I HAD PREPARED FOR THIS AS WELL FROM VARIOUS SOURCES THAT MY FAV SENIOR GAVE ME AND I MADE HIM HAPPY WITH THIS ANSWER AS WELL. THEN, WE SOLVED A CASE STUDY, WHICH WAS AS FOLLOWS - STUDY - YOU ARE AN ADVISOR TO APP DESIGNER FOR ‘PRACTO’ (HEALTH CARE SERVICES FIRM), WHAT ALL FEATURES WOULD YOU LIKE TO HAVE IN ITS APP? I ASKED FOR FEW MINUTES TO RECOLLECT ALL THOUGHTS. I STARTED WRITING MY THOUGHTS ON PIECE OF PAPER (AND THEY INCLUDE LIST OF DOCTORS AS PER DISEASE, DOCTOR-PATIENTS MEETING SCHEDULING, PAYMENT GATEWAY, NEAREST PHARMACY LOCATOR, TIME-BASED DELIVERY SYSTEMS ETC). I EXPLAINED HIM ONE BY ONE, HE STOPPED ME IN BETWEEN IF HE HAD SOME DOUBTS, AND I KEPT ON ADDING FEATURES TO THE APP. I JUSTIFIED HIS DOUBTS IN A GOOD MANNER AND HE WAS FULLY CONVINCED WITH ME. THEN WE HAD SOME NORMAL CHITCHATS AND HE ASKED ME SOME MORE GENERAL QUESTIONS. I KNEW WITH HIS FACE THAT I HAVE QUALIFIED THIS ROUND. ROUND-2 – IN THIS ROUND, 4 PEOPLE TOOK MY INTERVIEW ONE BY ONE. THEY STARTED WITH MY RESUME AND WENT AS DEEP AS POSSIBLE IN ONE OF MY PROJECTS – ‘COVID’19 INFECTION RATE ANALYSIS’. SINCE, THIS PROJECT WAS SOMEWHAT RELATED TO THEIR FIELD, THEY DRILLED ME AROUND THIS PROJECT DEEPLY. MY PREPARATION FOR PROJECTS WAS FINALLY PAYING OFF AS I EXPLAINED THEM THIS PROJECT IN A VERY EDUCATED MANNER. AFTER THE PROJECT, THEY ALSO ASKED ME QUESTION ON T-TEST (AN ECONOMETRICS CONCEPT, THEY ASKED IT SINCE IT WAS WRITTEN IN MY RESUME). FOR ONE QUESTION, AS FAR AS I REMEMBER, I TOLD THEM STRAIGHT – ‘MA’AM, I DON’T KNOW THE ANSWER TO THIS QUESTION’, AND THEY APPRECIATED THIS TRUTH NATURE OF MY PERSONALITY. ONE FAMOUS HR QUESTION – ‘WHY DO YOU WANT TO WORK AS A PRODUCT MANAGER ROLE’, WAS ALSO ASKED TO ME AND I SOMEHOW CONVINCED THEM WITH MY ANSWER. IN THE INTERVIEW ITSELF, I WAS CONGRATULATED FOR BEING SELECTED AND THUS, I FINALLY, ENJOYED WITH PEACE. HOW TO PLAN SUMMERS’21 NOTHING CAN BE BETTER THAN FOLLOWING STRATEGY OF ‘ACHIEVING DAILY TARGETS’. BIND YOURSELF WITH 3 CODING QUESTIONS AND 3 PUZZLES FOR DAILY AND YOU’LL SEE YOU HAVE DONE MORE THAN ANY OF YOUR OTHER COLLEAGUE IN 4 MONTHS’ TIME. I DEVOTED 4 CRUCIAL MORNING HOURS FROM 7 AM -11 AM FOR INTERN PREPARATIONS AND REST OF THE DAY I DEVOTED FOR EXTRA ONLINE COURSES OR OTHER PROJECTS ETC. STATING IT AGAIN THIS FOUR MONTHS’ TIME IS VERY MUCH SUFFICIENT FOR GRABBING ANY INTERNSHIP OF ANY PROFILE, PROVIDED YOU EXPLOIT YOURSELF DURING THESE MONTHS. YOU HAVE TO BE REGULAR WITH YOUR PREPARATIONS AND ITS JUST ALL THAT IS NEEDED. IN THE END, STAY SAFE, KEEP YOURSELF HEALTHY AND LOOK YOURSELF EACH DAY MOVING ONE STEP CLOSER TO DESTINY. THANKS