Aakash Maddi is a 2014 Batch Mechanical Engineer of Mandakini Hostel. A freelance Graphic Designer, he was the Concept & Design Core of Shaastra 2013. He was also a member of the International and Alumni Relations Student Council 2013-14 as Head, Alumni Connect and Design. Currently working as a Consultant Developer at Sentieo Inc., read on to find more about his placement experiences.
1. How was your placement experience?
As a B.Tech student, four years of Insti life shaped me from a stone to a sculpture. I can safely say that. But whatever you learn about yourself in four years, placements teach you in four months. That one semester that gives you the best time for some retrospection.
Unlike many others, I didn’t really start preparing for the placement tests or CAT, which really help people to get through the tests. Rather, I started working on my resume very early to give myself and the seniors who helped me with it enough gap to breathe. Though I was prepared enough to survive the tests, I realized that presence of mind is the ultimate tool that you need to crack those tests. Resume preparation really helped me in making it into the shortlists of most of the companies, despite my not-so-great CGPA.
Sentieo’s placement process consisted of a written test, which was sort of technical. If you are a frequent follower of the technology and know how things in the software industry work, you pretty much have a chance to get called for an interview after the test. Being a tech-freak, I was familiar with the way the Internet worked.
The interview had two rounds, one Technical and the other HR related. Like the company, the interviews too were really chilled out. They make us feel comfortable. However, my interviews proceeded in a totally unexpected direction. They were focused on my design ideas and knowledge. My interview varied from suggesting improvements in their product interface and functionalities from a design perspective to my future plans and ideas.
2. What are the job profiles offered by Sentieo ?
Sentieo Inc. came in to hire developers for their most ambitious product yet. The profile offered was “Developer Consultant”. The recruits are to help them build a research platform for hedge funds.
But my story is different altogether. I hesitated to even take their test because that was not what I wanted to be. But, somehow, I wanted to give it a try. Everything happened in a flash and I got a call for an interview. To my surprise, after the interview I was offered a completely new profile, “UI and UX designer” and design is what I wanted to do. They were looking for a designer for their company and I was at the right place at the right time.
3. How important are Positions of Responsibility, CGPA and extra-curricular activities?
No matter how many movies and articles tell us that CGPA doesn’t matter, at the end of the day it is the one measure that defines our placement, at least to get through into the shortlists. Well, yes, it is really important. It doesn’t matter how good you are at anything else, companies do look for a good CGPA to filter us. Though CGPA doesn’t reflect intelligence or aptitude, it certainly shows how we did what we were supposed to do.
My extra curricular activities and positions of responsibility got me to wherever I am. Positions of Responsibility are more than a resume point. They bring out the best in you, at least push you to your limits and create new limits. Being a Core group member for Shaastra 2013 has been the most amazing experience throughout my insti life. It refined the way I looked at things and that whole new perspective gave me a whole new take on how to deal with real life problems.
Extra-curricular activities are always important. Not because they add value to your resume, but because they make you a better individual, adding value to you. Even if you hadn’t been into any before, insti is the right place to pick one up, at least one new activity that you never tried before.
4. Why did you choose this area of work?
I have always been passionate about designing products. After I got into insti, one thing that really interested me was graphic design. Being an artist, I wanted to explore the digital frontier too. I picked it up as a hobby and it only added to my passion. Hence, the product design field. Honestly, I didn’t choose this area of work during placements, but it is what I want to do.
5. Simply put, what does your work involve doing?
As a UI and UX designer at Sentieo, my job is to embed the human and computer interaction design principles into the product. With a strong user experience comes out a great product. We develop frameworks and interface elements, the way the user interacts with the product and give them a hassle-free experience. Simply put, my team devises a design philosophy that applies across the platform.
6. What has your experience at Sentieo been like ?
The day before my first day with Sentieo, I was thinking a lot about how the people would be. But, contrary to my thoughts, Sentieo is a pretty chilled out environment and a small team of 30 people. The office is very Google-ish with Table-Tennis space, bean bags, mattresses and regular tables for those who would want a typical work space. The office timings are flexible, while we generally work from 10 AM to 7 PM. And most importantly, the people who work there are insane fun. Things like “Work hard, party harder” are taken seriously, which are shown in form of office-sponsored lunches, movie outings etc.
Talking about the work part, the people we get to work with are highly motivated to bring out a brilliant product and quite helpful. As you already know, the learning curve is really great. For me, everyday has been real fun and some thing to look forward to. Even though you are assigned to work with a particular team, we are free to learn and work with other teams that interest us.
7. What advice would you give to students sitting for placements?
A lot of us have a passion and maybe most of us figured out what we would want to do for the rest of our lives. But, placements in insti don’t work that way. To put it in my way, insti placements are random. It is really rare to find the perfect profile that matches your passion, but honestly, anything is a good start. Every job and company has something for you to take away. Be open to learn and the people you meet will definitely amaze you.
Our minds are clogged only with the opportunities that we find during placements. Our first job shows you how vast the array of opportunities in this world is. So, your first job might not be the best, but it is a perfect gateway to step in the direction you want to go.
All of us train ourselves for these placements right from the day we get into IIT. We start doing everything to align with the so called “stud resume”. In this marathon for trying to be the best, we lose our real selves. The only question you need to ask yourself is, “What gives me the utmost satisfaction, if I were to do the same thing everyday?” If you have an answer for that, everything else is secondary.
Don’t be hard on yourself. Give your best, sit back and relax. Don’t forget to enjoy the placement experience.
8. How has Insti helped you with your work?
“Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become.” -Steve Jobs
If Steve Jobs’ words are theory, insti is the laboratory for me. Insti gave me the courage to follow my interests. It taught me to learn from everything and everyone that we come across. Those people around me gave me the motivation to make the most out of every opportunity. I wouldn’t be as good as I am at whatever I do, if it wasn’t for insti.