We had the opportunity to catch up with Aditya Bharadwaj (DD-EE ’15) and Supreet Hegde (DD-BT ’16) who are currently placed in Auctus Advisors, a management consultancy firm that advises clients in diverse sectors.  

Aditya Bharadwaj is a dual degree graduate from the Department of Electrical Engineering. A former resident of Alaknanda Hostel, he was also the Students General Secretary for 2014-2015.  His work with Auctus has given him the opportunity to work with the Government of Telangana in their IT department on various initiatives that have a large scale impact.

Supreet Hegde is a dual degree graduate from the Department of Biotechnology. Apart from actively representing Jamuna Hostel in Dramatics and Cricket, Supreet was also the Cultural Affairs Secretary (Literary) in 2014-2015. He has worked across various projects with clients hailing from diverse domains such as one of the largest South Asian Airline, a real estate giant in Philippines, one of the largest IT firms.

Both Aditya and Supreet talked about the steep learning curve they experienced after joining Auctus, from moving from small ground level projects to management based projects where they were involved in execution and implementation at every phase. They also talked about their placement process and what they gained from their experiences as institute secretaries.

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Aditya Bharadwaj and Supreet Hegde

On placements and joining Auctus

Aditya Bharadwaj vividly described his thought process while tackling placements in 2014.

After applying to various companies based on my interest, I had 5 shortlists and 4 interviews on Day 1. I gave three of the interviews and got offers from two companies, ITC and Auctus namely. I decided to choose Auctus because of the good work environment and direct interaction with clients you have as an employee. Moreover in a consulting environment, you have the opportunity to witness the impact of your decisions and ideas being taken right from their initial stages to their final execution, as opposed other companies such as FMCG or other sectors where you cannot see the large scale impact of your decisions in this way. This was the motivating factor for me. For example, I have worked directly with the IT minister of Telangana and the secretary of the IT department on initiatives spanning from the digital India program to Start up India. Looking back, I’m quite happy with the decision I’ve made. I can confidently say I have had a really enriching experience the last two years.

Supreet then proceeded to give his insights on the world of consult and placement preparation.

At the time that I started thinking about placements, I was interested in both consult and investment banking profiles. I had done an internship in both of these fields so I had a good idea of what working in both fields would be like. However, I prioritized consulting as I realized that I wouldn’t be able cope up with the pressure involved in investment banking, if I decided to go there. Also, because I was involved in leadership positions, the thought of interacting with people and thinking about execution of strategies naturally excited me. So, I felt consulting would be a good fit for me. Coming to placements, I had about 4 shortlists on day 1 which included two in consulting and two in investment banking. Out of these, I got into Auctus. Rather than the company’s name or brand it was the fact that I wanted to do consulting that was the driving factor, so I went ahead with this. So far, it has been a good journey in Auctus, and now I see that the most important factor is to see yourself grow as a person. In a year, I feel that I have grown as a person, in the way I talk to and interact with people. I have realised that these are the kind of skills that you need further in life.

Experiences as institute secretaries

Aditya Bharadwaj then described his experience as Students’ General Secretary and how it impacted his placements.

If you asked me to pick one year out of my  5 years on campus for the experiences, the fun, or the responsibility I’ve enjoyed then I would pick my 5th year when I was Student’s General Secretary. It helped me build myself up in a lot of ways, because as a secretary you meet a lot of different teams, you interact with faculty members, the administration and a lot of external entities and organizations to lead initiatives on campus. In this way, it helped me build the required people skills, my confidence levels, and a general larger outlook and vision that is necessary for a work environment. These kind of skills were critical for interviews, because during interviews you talk to people who interview many students on a daily basis and to impress them in such a short span of time under tremendous pressure is a difficult task. So I think the experiences that I have had as an institute secretary have been critical in the results that I have obtained during placements.

Supreet Hegde talked about his role as the Cultural Secretary and how it helped him through institute placements.

When I started my institute life, I was not very confident as I was not from a background where I had the opportunity to interact with different kinds of people.  The idea of becoming a secretary arrived from the fact that I felt I should take on bigger responsibilities to help me build my confidence. I also felt that after 4 years, it was my turn to give back to the institute. The entire process of elections helped me a lot in building myself, because I had to go through the gruelling task of campaigning. And when you talk to different people from different backgrounds, you begin to understand the needs of these people. You start gauging people and learn a lot in the process. These are the skills which you need on a day to day basis when interacting with clients.  So even though these experiences at an institute level may not be at the same scale as a professional level, small aspects such as interacting with people, guiding people, driving people and making sure they are always enthusiastic to work for Saarang and LitSoc helped me understand how people work and helped me perceive them better.

Consult placement preparation

Both Aditya and Supreet gave their inputs on placement preparation, which can be reduced to a few key points.

  • All Consulting companies have two standard steps in entire placement process – Shortlisting of candidates and Business case study based interviews
  • A lot of focus should be put into getting a shortlist.You have to decide whether you are fit for a shortlist, since it is purely a resume based process.
  • There are fundamentally two ways to approach placements-
    • Early start for specific sector (including consulting, finance, fmcg, etc) of companies based on a calculated bet, or
    • Preparation based on the shortlists that you get.

          The former has an advantage of you being well ahead in the preparation curve if you get shortlisted in the                    sectors that you chose to bet while the latter has an advantage of you always being on the safer side, not                    wasting time on preparing for sectors that you didn’t get shortlisted

  • The standard steps that everyone follows in consulting are:
    • Form a case study group to solve cases. It’s important to choose someone who is of the same wavelength, otherwise you might get under-confident or over-confident
    • Once you have done fair number of cases (the number is subjective, depends on the individual till he gets confident with solving cases), move out of your case groups and do cases with other people who have been prepping for consulting, with whom you have not done a case before.
  • Once you get shortlisted, you will be assigned buddies from the consulting companies, who will do one or two cases with you to help you understand case solving methodology. Make sure you make a full use of it without any hesitation.
  • Day of the interview: if you have shortlists in multiple companies, try to prioritize your first round of interviews with each of the companies. Once you are done with couple of rounds, go with the flow, go with the company that you have aced the interviews, not the company which is of your preference. This is important to make sure you end up cracking at least one of them.

Final words of advice:

Aditya issued his final frank advice for all students.  

The common advice you get from everyone is that one needs to enjoy their time here on campus. Out there, it is a harsh world where everyone is completely independent. You have the power to earn, spend or invest as you like. The people you are with during your insti life is the most important factor and the friends that you make here are important. It is difficult to make such friends out there in the cutthroat materialistic world. All our memories are based on our lives in insti. With respect to placements,  it is a critical phase where everyone should prepare well and give their best. But having said that, it’s not the end. You are among the top ten thousand who have cleared one of the most difficult exams in India and made it here, and there are many opportunities out there. It’s a growing world, and you’ll eventually find your place there.

Supreet added his valuable words of advice as well.

The people who you remember and talk to on a day to day basis are the friends who are from IIT. So just make sure that the time you spend here is enjoyable and don’t fret too much about your future and be lost in that. Everyone needs a plan, but this doesn’t mean you need to get lost in that plan. You shouldn’t miss the day to day enjoyments that insti provides. Make sure you do things you genuinely like doing, not just for the sake of placements. I became Culsec solely because I had the genuine drive and motivation to take it up. It doesn’t matter who you are and what position you are in. What matters is whether you are doing something that gives you enjoyment and whether you can take something out of it. In my opinion, there’s a  lot of unnecessary hype about placements because at the end of the day what matters is whether you were able to identify a job that is fit for you, if you like it and if you will be able to do the same thing again and again for the entire year -12 hours a day and whether you will be able to sustain that kind of work. Pursuing your interests may be a little more difficult than institute placements where you directly get access to companies as you need to do a bit of research. Having clarity right from the start isn’t a necessity for any career option, however if one has developed clarity with experience and mistakes then I believe one doesn’t need to hesitate while pursuing  it.

Authors: Sanjeev Parameswaran (BT-ME ’20) & Vineet Gopakumar (BT-CH ’19)

This article is part of the series – The Placement Guru. To get regular updates follow us on Facebook and subscribe to our blog.