EXL has been in the forefront of data analytics in the country and has been a sought after job profile for several students. Read below where our recent alumnus – Ramya Madhuri, a graduate of the Department of Civil engineering shares her experience of working at EXL and the placement process to bag this coveted job offer.

How was your placement experience? You were placed on the very first day of placements. How did you prepare for it? What was going on in your mind? 

I was sure that I wanted to go for data analytics from the very beginning.  I had inclination towards it, so I had done my internship in that direction as well. Then I got a bit of clarity that this suited me and I wanted this is my life. I mostly applied for Data Analytics firms and gave the tests seriously. I had  2 shortlists on day 1 and one on day 2,  I don’t know what would have happened if I was not placed on Day one 😛 I was consistent in my preparation and hence whole semester went pretty peaceful without much hassle at the last minute. The material sent by the branch counselor and the guidance given by seniors helped a lot. I could clearly understand how the interview might go and what kind of things they might ask.  I kept that in mind and prepared accordingly.  I would also like to tell you that there is a lot of hype about the companies, the salary that they are giving and other parameters. People are often carried away by these things. Rather, a person should look more at what work the company is doing, talk to the seniors who have already been placed to know what kind of work will be given actually and how will be the career progression in 3 years in that company rather than going behind the big brands. Certain companies which are underrated are also are also doing exceedingly well.  There is also a hype about day 1 and day 2 companies.  I think only after placements are over and you join the company that you will realize that almost all companies are doing similar work it is just a little different from one other.  People take it too seriously and get much tensed and loose cool if they don’t get placed on the first day, and because of this they do not perform well. This is the one mistake that most of the students make.

Tell me more about your personal interview. How was it?

I had two sets of interviews. First interview was HR Plus resume based.  It was pretty casual. I was asked about my journey and why I wanted to join the company and how I would contribute to the organisation. After that I had second interview it was more of HR plus technical. It was regarding what I had done during internship and why I wanted to join the Company and where do I see myself after 5 years.

What internships did you do in your first, second and third year?

I did a project under a professor during second year summer using EXCEL VBA which is actually used in my company now. I feel that second year summer is the right time to explore things. I got my third year internship through Institute itself in an organization called Quantiphi in Mumbai, a Data Analytics firm and I did a project in text analytics in the field of media. I am getting similar work in my office also as I have experience in that, so my internship helped me a lot.

How did you decide that you wanted to go into Data Analytics?

I was sure that I was not interested in core. I joined Data Analytics club in my second year and attended their sessions. I did my internship in Data Analytics firm and I liked the work that I saw. The whole world is using Machine learning, Artificial Intelligence (Data Analytics) to make businesses more efficient and world a better place. This field is growing exponentially currently and we are at the beginning of curve now.

I liked the company in which I have done internship grew so much in just a couple of years. I have taken lot of inspiration from founders and colleagues.

I had inclination in Finance as well but the companies came for finance were very limited and the competition was very high. They hire people for the profiles which are too much into finance or requires very good coding skills, I felt that I fit in neither.

What type of job profiles offered by EXL?

In EXL, they offer only a consultant profile for B.Tech students and a senior business analyst for Masters students. The work which we get gives us a lot of business overview and we also get to interact with the clients on daily basis. Since they work in different verticals such as Retail, media, insurance, banking, etc… there is opportunity for lateral movement into different verticals to get better exposure.

What PORs did you have? How important is a student’s CGPA, extra-curricular activities and PORs and how they are helpful?

I was a head/core of sponsorship & PR  of civil engineering departmental festival (CEA). I was also a part of Shaastra in Student Relations and Marketing. I feel that PORs give an idea of understanding workplace in terms of team building, delivering results as well as getting work done . PORs shape you, makes you a better person. Extracurricular and POR from placement point of view gives better impression to the interviewer that you are an interesting person who is just into academics.

When taking up PORs it’s always good to go to next level by outperforming in your level. You should aim to go to the top. Core’s job may seem easier as it is just delegating work. But it is quite important to learn how to delegate work effectively for overall performance of team and it is more difficult to get work done from others than doing it yourslef.

Teams in our campus are model of the corporate world. It develops one’s communication skills, improves networking ability by engaging with different teams. It opens lots of opportunities.

More students are not opting core engineering field and branching out to different fields. What do you feel about this?

It totally depends on the person. Also, I feel that there are not enough opportunities in core field for students who are interested in it. If you see the number of companies which came for our recruitment this year, placements were more in non-core companies as more companies are coming for placements than core companies so more students opting for non-core job.

What advice you will give to students who are sitting for placements?

Be calm and composed during the whole preparation time. There will be a lot of hype regarding companies. Do not get carried away. Believe in yourself. Everybody will get what they deserve and they will be happy with it at the end of the day. First placement is not the final placement. There are lots of opportunities, so just perform your best. Being strong, being confident and staying healthy is very important, not just for placements but for dealing with life, as this is just a first step into outside world . placement semester is very demanding, plan things accordingly and try not to mess things up at the last moment.

In addition to this, give your exams properly because first and foremost short listings takes place based on your exams only. If you have more shortlists, then you feel more confident and you need not worry at the last moment or get tensed. If you write exam properly you will be at peace and can concentrate on preparing for interview. Do your preparation along with your friends so that you can understand where you stand and how you can improve yourself.  This will help in self-correction because nobody is going to correct you at this point of time. You have to realise it and correct it yourself. Do not panic by seeing other’s preparation.  Everybody has his/her own way of doing things.  Everybody has his own pace.  So don’t panic by seeing others.

How has been your experience at EXL till now?

It has been a very good experience till now. This was a BPO company and it entered into Data Analytics just 7 to 8 years ago and I can see how swiftly and steeply it has grown.  As this is an established Company, I can understand a lot of this such as company business acquisition, business development along with the technical aspects. It has been a very pleasant experience despite of the cultural shift which I learning and experiencing working in north India. Timings are very peaceful. Work-life balance is very good, work environment is also very friendly. They give constant training on technical skills which is also very appreciable. They also work on a lot of different projects pertaining to different fields using different processes and different verticals.  Hence there is opportunity to go any vertical we want after considerable amount of time in the organisation (1.5 – 2 yrs).  You can talk to your manager and you can shift from your vertical. This kind of freedom you don’t get in many other companies. Salary also is decent enough.

What are your future plans where do you see yourself in the future?

I am planning to do an Masters in two to three years depending on where I get the admission. I guess it’s important because, after 2-3 years, things at work might get saturated. also there will be more clarity after couple of years work experience about what exactly I want from the program and hence can choose accordingly.

Any last piece of advice to students.

Enjoy every moment in insti. Try out new things. Do not think whether you can do it or not. Believe in yourself and keep trying. Even if you fail, it is fine. If you never try, you will never know whether you have the potential or not. Trying is important. Be active as much as possible. Try out different things in insti like sports, cultural activities, dance, acting because it is very difficult to do these things even if you go for higher studies. Things change a lot after life in insti. You will not get time to do anything other than work. I have tried my best when I was in insti, but I felt I could have pushed myself more.

Authors: Tanvi Srivastav (BT-CE ’20) & Vineet Gopakumar (BT-CH ’19)

This article is part of the series – The Placement Guru where we share stories and experiences of graduates working in various companies of cracking the placement process. For more such articles follow us on facebook. For any queries write to us at blog@alumni.iitm.ac.in.