Nitin “Aag” Chaudhary graduated in 2012 with a Dual Degree in Chemical Engineering and was a resident at Narmada Hostel. He is a firm believer in the method of ‘Trial and Error’ and never shies away from trying out something new. He likes to travel, eat and is the perfect example of the ‘argumentative Indian’. The quote he lives by – “No matter how busy you are, there is always room for a cup of coffee with a friend.”
Most of the information you need for placements is out there and I feel I can’t add much to the existing information. But there is one important thing, which I would love to tell you. Though this article will definitely touch on the whats and hows of the placement process, my objective is a bit different.
Most of you don’t realize that your placement process started the day you joined IIT Madras and the actual D-day in December is just a test of how you can convince the panelists about Your Story. If they get convinced, you are in, else better luck tomorrow.
You need to understand a few facts about work life first. Once you understand these facts you can make a better and well informed decision regarding your placements and how to do it. All the questions you have will be answered by you yourself (with a bit of help from others).
Read the 3 stories below.
I liked certain aspects of finance and still do. So I took up a course in Economics, cleared CFA level 1, talked to a few people in finance and decided to sit for Deutsche Bank. My other choices were ITC and Schlumberger. I reached the final interview at ITC. Schlumberger was a day 2 company and thus couldn’t sit for it as I got placed on the first day itself.
I joined Deutsche Bank in 2012 and it was one of the best experiences in my life. I joined the Distressed Products Group working for Asia Pacific. I had no idea what this term meant and was lucky to land a good profile at DB.
My work at DB.
To give you an Idea, we were the guys cleaning up the mess after the recent Global Financial Meltdown which started with the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers, and made insane amounts of money (not just good amounts) doing so. We would buy companies or invest in them when they were in financial distress. So we would buy them cheap and sell them later at a Higher price.
My work included the following:
- Learning about the business of these companies. I used to read their annual reports, their financial statements and follow the macro economic news about their sectors. Learn about their customers and their sources of raw material.
- Reading their legal documents to understand their borrowing contracts and to understand my liability if I would invest in them.
- Valuing the company based on the above information (the market price of the assets), the price at which we would buy the company.
Now the best part. During my two year stay, DB sent me to Sydney, Melbourne, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Manila (Philippines) on multiple occasions. I was travelling for about 10 months out of the 24 months I was at DB. That’s why I was lucky to have a very good profile, and not everyone is this lucky.
Am I selling you the investment banking dream? No. I didn’t like the work most of the time and sometimes hated it too. The reason was that I didn’t truly love MS Excel, wanted to have a personal life and was bored after a while. And if you want to do good work in Finance you need to love Excel. You can do other work too which doesn’t involve a lot of Excel, but I said if you wanted to do GOOD work, you need to love Excel (not just know it).
I was disappointed with my choice of line of work and quit in May 2014 to work on my startup.
Don’t get me wrong. Deutsche Bank gives you one of the best entry level profiles you can get in Mumbai, provided you want to get into finance for the love of it and money should not be your primary factor to do so. I know people from my batch who just love it there and are doing good work in finance.
Moral of the story.
It’s trial and error. You try out something, if you like it, good (lucky you), but if you don’t try out something else. Fail fast and fail often. Make changes to your strategy and repeat till you get what you want.
To minimize the error in your decision making process, do the following:
- Talk to a lot of seniors in that field. Ask them what they do and also how they do what they do. You will realize that most of the people who come for PPTs don’t tell you the entire truth and a half-ass truth is the same as being lied to.
- Read, Read and Read some more. Read blogs, discussion forums, Quora and try to find out answers to your questions.
- Get an Idea of what the day to day work is in a particular field and then ask yourself if you would like to do it.
- For your unanswered questions, bother the people who come for PPTs and please stop asking every single intricate detail about the pay packages. Focus on the profile.
The other 2 stories.
- There is a really cool story about how Unilever discovered the right nozzle size for producing powders. You need to pass vapours through a nozzle, which has different diameters along its length, and finally convert the vapour into powder when it jets out of the nozzle. All the engineering part brought the guys at Unilever close to the final result but they had to resort to trial and error to get to the final combination. They kept trying different nozzle sizes till they got what they wanted.
- Some of my friends who didn’t get DB and wanted to get into finance ended up with me at DB in one or two years after working in some other company. Some of these guys got placed way late into the season.
Don’t get disappointed if you don’t get what you want. Just keep your head up, keep trying and keep learning where ever you are. Don’t worry too much about letting your parents down. They are already proud of you.
For more details on what to do, Read the articles by Sanjay Guruprasad and Sriram Tirkutam on this site (my colleagues at DB).
It’s all trial and error bro. Fail fast and fail often. Ask questions and TRY to get answers. Then proceed in the most logical direction. That’s all you can do. And remember to ‘chill out’ once in a while.
P.S.: Final years who may have queries regarding job profiles and placement fundaes with respect to DB may comment on this post or contact directly the Blog team (firstname.lastname@example.org) to reach the alumni mentioned above. The team wishes to create an IIT Madras Network to enhance the placement process and experience for our final years. They are also requested to keep in mind that the above are merely guidelines that pass-outs wish to pass on and are not rigid or sure-shot ways to make it through interviews.
The Blog Team wishes all the final years sitting for placements all the very best of luck in their endeavours!
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