Giridhar Ganesh is a 2014 Batch Mechanical Engineer from Mandakini Hostel. He believes in finding a learning curve at every opportunity instead of waiting for the perfect match with one’s interests. He was a member of the Institute Placement Team (2013-14) and was also the Head of the Industry & Public Relations Team. Currently working as an Analytics Specialist in Opera Solutions, he describes his nature of work and placement experience.

giridharHow was your placement experience ?

Placement experience was a roller-coaster ride for me. I had no particular interests in core mechanical engineering but was looking forward to some leadership profiles from FMCG or big shot analytics companies. I never really banked on consult profile but getting shortlisted in all of them was serendipity.  It was more or less a self-introspection period for me with many surprises in the journey.

Opera Solutions placement experience: Opera Solutions had first round of shortlists based on resume followed by maths/ puzzles test which was hard. The test had little weightage compared to resume and hence I was selected for interview round. First round was case study where the interviewer asked me about market estimation and combined with profitability calculations. Second round was based on few puzzles (which I didn’t do well) and another short case problem. 3rd interview was based on my resume and few HR questions on why Opera etc. Overall it was a mixture of consult and analytics interview.

What are the job profiles offered by Opera Solutions?

Opera solutions offers Analytics Specialist (AS) and Business analyst (BA) at entry level for IITians. IIMs students are recruited at Solutions Associate level (two levels above BA).  AS is very different from BA as it divulged more on technical side/ analytics side of the work whereas BA is involved in service side dealing directly with clients.

How important are PoR, CGPA and extra-curricular activities?

Opera solutions is more into big-data analytics with projects revolving around machine learning and its techniques. It gives importance to any internship or project directly related to relevant fields like image processing, machine learning etc. It is not expected in the resume but definitely added bonus than other things, if present in resume. Considering resumes without such spikes, they usually place Academics ~Internships(reputed companies) >curricular activities> competitions > PoR

Why did you choose this area of work?

I am more interested in the computational mathematics related topics in engineering and enjoyed all courses / projects done in such topics. Also, the internship in IISc in my 2nd year and internship in Schlumberger in my 3rd year gave me glimpse of two diagonal fields. I wanted something in between which involves corporate world along with intellectual work and environment. Among many other shortlists on Day1, I was never interested in finance profiles. HUL was something I was hoping to crack but fortune didn’t favour me in GD round. I was never really relying on consult companies and only company left in Day 1 was Opera Solutions which happened to involve work that interests me.

Simply put, what does your work involve doing ?

It involves solving business case study through analytics tools and techniques. I am assuming most of you sitting for placements would have a rough idea on case study problems. I understand jargons like modelling and profiling doesn’t make sense for you guys at this stage but let me explain through an example. Imagine a billion dollar FMCG Company which wants to come up with customer personalized promotion offers distributions. It’s a large scale company operating with many stores all over the U.S. and presently they have distribution channel based on rough customer behaviour say living in metropolitan city or purchasing majorly healthcare products etc. We, analytics team start from basic step of data understanding by linking many business terms to actual data like customer transactions, number of trips, $ amount spent etc. Next step is to do profiling to answer many questions like whether there are any spikes during holidays, any particular stores being affected badly due to geography, unnecessary money spent by company on distribution channel by targeting wrong customers etc. Further we use above understanding to model (predict) the behaviour of customers specific to certain identified categories and implement these solutions in real life to derive the expected results. Where do I come in? In all of the above steps! How do I contribute? I, being still at starting stage won’t be able to come up with all the analysis and steps to be done (though I made it kind of obvious in above example ;)) There will be senior analytics people and also client interacting team who help us in breaking up the process, stage by stage.

In a nutshell, I work in a data science team, solving business problems across a wide domain like- retail, healthcare, finance, telecom, PE firms etc., using standard modelling tools and techniques.

What has your experience at Opera Solutions been like ?

Its been a great learning curve. We had training for 6 weeks which exposed us to concepts of all kinds of modelling tools and techniques. We get to travel abroad too, depending on project needs. Right now, I am working at Shanghai office for present project work. Compensation given in the firm is the best in the field with interesting projects, flexible timings and conducive environment to grow up the ladder.

What advice would you give to students sitting for placements?

Career advice: People at this stage lack clarity about their career and end up following the popular trend.  First job definitely matters but not to the extent of turning your life upside down. Only thing one needs to learn in corporate world is to be really perfect in what he/she is involved. If you don’t like the work even after ending up in big firms, gain in skill set at the end of 2-3 years will be less compared to one who ended up in not so famous company but works passionately and with interest.

Preparation advice: My suggestion for juniors is to first taper your resume to best shape possible and list down all possible companies that you can crack as one list and in another list, all ambitious companies but could be cracked if selected for interview. Interview preparation matters a lot. So, prepare in such a way to answer What? Why? How? questions on every single point of your resume. Read the profile description and refine your story according to company’s vision and principles. Be confident in the interview. For an idea about different practices regarding preparation, read the “Students’ Journey 2013-14” magazine prepared by IPR team-2013.