Axis Bank, India’ largest retail bank is a sought after company during the placement process. Read below where our recent alumnus – Srinivas Sridharan, a graduate of the Department of Mechanical engineering shares his experience of working at Axis and the placement process to bag this coveted job offer.
How was your Placement experience? What was going on in your mind?
Placement was very important to me because I did not have any other backup plan for the future. I did not write CAT. I did not app. So I was very serious about it. Although I decided to apply to all non-core companies, I mainly focused on analytics companies as my resume points were more suited to them. I started preparing my resume around 2 months before the deadline and kept on tinkering it till it was presented in the best way possible. While making you analytics resume, you need to focus more on your projects and internships rather than your PORs. While explaining your projects and internships you need to highlight the part where you worked with some form of data. And the techniques which you have used. It might be as small as doing a curve fitting in an excel sheet, but highlight it. Next coming to the tests. It is very important to do well in the test because most of the companies’ shortlist directly based on test scores. Most of the companies have an aptitude test. People who are seriously preparing for CAT will have an edge over the others. So even if you are not writing CAT, I would suggest you to do CAT prep for the tests. Also you need to simultaneously start preparing for the interviews. Most of the analytics companies ask questions on probability and statistics, so you need to be thorough in them. You need to prepare for guesstimate questions as well as most of the companies ask at least 1 guesstimate question. For Axis Bank in particular, you need to prepare for case studies. You can refer to the book ‘Day 1.0′. Be thorough with your resume. Prepare for HR questions before hand. You can refer to the book ’64 HR questions’. Next, brace yourselves for the shortlists. Most of the companies release the shortlist only 2-3 days before the interviews. I got shortlisted only for 3 companies in total while some of my friends for shortlisted for around 8-10 companies. It was quite frustrating for me at that time. If that is the case with you as well, don’t panic. Talk to people who got selected for those companies in the past and make yourself as perfect as you can for those 3 interviews. If you get shortlisted for many companies, make a priority list slot wise and plan how you manage your interviews according to that. The whole process will be random, a lot of luck is involved in where you get place, so brace yourselves for that. Axis Bank was my first interview and I did not have any other interview in that slot. So I was very focussed on getting it right. I had spoken to a senior who was already working there and hence the questions I faced in the interview were similar to what I had expected. The interviewers were very friendly which I heard was not the case with some other companies. One more suggestion regarding interviews, is that try to get in the room as soon as possible as it gives you a marginally better chance than if you enter the room towards the end. For example in Axis Bank, for my profile, they selected 4 out of the first 5 people and 1 from the next 15. Axis Bank was my first choice out of the 3 companies I had been shortlisted in and luckily I got selected.
Tell us more about your Personal interviews?
I just had one personal interview. At Axis Bank. I sat for the analytics profile which is called BIU. The interview was very peaceful. There was only 1 round for 20 minutes. However, most of the other companies have more than 1 round. In the interview, they had asked a case study and a guesstimate question. Since I had done a project related to data analytics, they had asked me to explain it. Apart from that they asked me for an idea to begin a start-up based on data analytics. Then they asked 2 technical questions which I was able to answer based on what I had learnt in 2 courses i.e. multi-variate data analysis and prognostics of machine tools. I think they asked me technical questions only because had done courses and projects related to analytics. So if you haven’t done, don’t panic. Finally they ended with 2-3 usual hr questions. The interviewers were very friendly and when I got stuck somewhere in the case study or guesstimate, they helped me by giving clues.
How important are Positions of Responsibility, CGPA, and extra curricular activities?
For analytics companies, general PORs and extracurricular activities are not important. However, if you have participated in any analytics competitions or were a part of any analytics club it would help although it is not necessary. CGPA is very important for the entire placement process. Some companies have cgpa cut-offs for their test. Many companies shortlist you for interview based on cgpa cut-offs. In general, if your cgpa is higher, you have a higher chance of a better placement. Although luckily, axis bank did not look at the cgpa as a criteria last year, in my opinion.
Why did you choose this area of work?
To be honest, apart from being sure I did not want to work in core, I had no clear idea on what I wanted to do in life. In general, I was very much interested in optimization. I had done courses related to data analytics in order to explore that field. My resume was in such a way that, analytics companies were the best chance I had. And hence I decided to focus entirely on them.
What are the job profiles offered by Axis bank?
Axis Bank came for 3 job profiles last year i.e. BIU, IT, EEG. BIU is the analytics profile, the work involves coding and is also slightly managerial. IT profile offered by axis bank is mainly managerial from what I have heard but you need to know coding. EEG profile is purely managerial from what I have heard.
What does your work involve doing?
I work in the credit risk team which is a part of BIU (Business Intelligence Unit). My work is to manage the risk of the retail lending of the bank. I basically spend most of my time writing SAS codes to analyse the data and presenting the results in excel or PowerPoint.
How has your perception of Axis bank change from before the placement to within the company ?
Before placement, I did not expect the bank to be much forward thinking due to it being an Indian bank. Also, I did not know about the magnitude of impact the data analytics team would have on the bank. After joining, I came to know that the BIU team plays a major part in the business decisions of the bank. Almost every decision is based on what the data says. And this shows that the bank is quite modern in its decision making process.
What has your experience at Axis bank been like?
I feel that my time at Axis Bank has given me a good learning experience. I have learnt a lot about the banking system in general. The work life depends on the team you are in within BIU. I work for around 9-9.5 hrs a day. Although my work mostly involves writing codes, writing codes is not the challenging part. The work involves very simple coding. I act as a consultant for various teams within the bank. Managing the work and handling the people who assign you work is the challenging part of the job. I feel that it is an experience which will help me in my career.
What doe Axis bank look for in its potential employees?
Basically axis bank looks for people who have good aptitude and thinking ability. Having prior knowledge in statistical techniques and experience in working with data is a bonus although is not necessary. If you have resume points related to data analytics, you will have an edge during the interview as most of their questions will be directed towards what you have done. If you don’t have, there is no need to panic as your interview would not be technical.
How has insti helped with your work?
The projects and courses related to data analytics I did in institute have not directly helped me with the work I have done till now although I feel it might in the future. Apart from that, I feel that my life in institute has helped me handle the work pressure. For example, even if I am not able to complete the work on time, I am able to not let the stress go to my head because of the happy go lucky attitude I developed in institute.
What advice would you give to students sitting for placements?
Start your resume preparation early. Do CAT prep for tests even if you are not writing CAT. Be thorough in probability and statistics for analytics companies. Be well prepared in case studies and guesstimates. Don’t take HR questions lightly. Prepare seriously for them. If you are shortlisted in very few companies, become perfect for the interviews by consulting with seniors. If you have a lot of shortlists, make a priority list of companies in each slot and manage your interviews accordingly. Try to get into the interview room as early as possible. And finally, I would like to say be cool and calm. I have seen people break down after a few failures. Don’t give up till the end. You will get placed.