Akhil Reddy, an alumnus from the department of Electrical Engineering, shares his experiences of going through the placement season and landing a job at Barclays – one of the biggest companies in the banking sector. Here is a short excerpt from our interview with Akhil.

1. How was your placement experience? What was going on in your mind?

So, I got placed on day 3. I was disappointed with myself after the first 2 days. When I walked in for the interviews on day 1, I thought I would surely get placed but my lack of preparation for the interviews was clear after the interviews were done. I gradually gained confidence in the process. Barclays was my 10th entry and I was confident enough by then.

2. How were your personal interviews?

They were good. For some of the initial companies, I messed up the HR round but most of them were cool, they didn’t ask much. They just asked you basic questions like where do you see yourself in a couple of years, why do you want to join our company and questions like these. For Barclays, I had 3 rounds of interviews and by the end of the second round, it was clear that they had decided to hire me and so they didn’t ask much in the HR round. It was more like a preference round, where do you want to work and what kind of work are you expecting?

3. How important are Positions of Responsibility, CGPA, and extracurricular activities?

It depends on the companies. All the companies that I had applied for were technical/software companies, so PORs didn’t matter much, in fact, I did not have a single POR on my resume. I was a volunteer for the Soc-Sec for Saraswathi hostel and a coordinator for Electrical Engineering Association but I didn’t have them on my resume because I knew my professional experience and coursework was going to take space and I didn’t want to ruin that. They will ask you about PORs though, but its not very important. CGPA on the other hand is very important. Even walk-ins to such companies depends on your CGPA.

4. What are the job profiles offered by Barclays?

There was only profile. They called it analytics but in fact, it was software development.

5. Why did you choose this area of work?

To be honest, I did not choose it, it came along the way. Initially, I was interested in Machine Learning profiles and I applied for the companies which have such profiles like IBM, Adobe, and Samsung as my first preference but unfortunately, I didn’t make the cut and ended up being in Barclays. But, it is interesting. The banking sector is interesting, you learn new things every day.

6. What does your work involve doing?

It is about a product called Sendit. It isn’t available in India right now, it is only for the UK. It functions more like how Paytm works.

7. How has your perception of Barclays changed from before placement to within the company?

Before the placements, I wasn’t very interested in Barclays. I thought it was just another bank but after coming to Barclays and getting to know what all avenues they are working on and how creative their work is, my perception has changed a lot. I now know why Barclays is one of the leading companies in the banking sector.

8. How has work experience been?

It is going quite well. In fact, you can also change what you are working on if you don’t like it by talking to your manager. It’s a good company and is very flexible. I have had a lot of training till now and my work has just begun this month, so I can’t really say much about how the work is. In the trainings, they teach you basic softwares and development skills. I was also assigned to UI roles for a few days where they taught me Angular and different technologies. We had a mini project at end of our training based on what they taught us in the training.

9. What interns/projects did you do when you were in insti?

I did two internships, at the end of the second and third years. I did another in between but I quit that after 15 days, so I’m not going to talk much about that. The one after the second year was at Cybereye. It’s a start-up in Hyderabad and that was where I just began my coding journey and so it was not very high funda. My work there was basically writing Universal Windows applications and I had to include the face recognition AI into an application. My third-year intern was at Infosys, Bangalore office. It was based on Machine Learning and I had to develop a voice segmentation hardware. I had a very high-quality experience at this intern. As of projects, I did my BTP which was also on machine learning under prof. Kaushik Mitra. It was on face tracking and motion sensing.

10. What advice would you give to students sitting for placements?

I would like to mention a few points which I did wrong and hope that they don’t repeat the same mistake. I wasn’t very confident on Day 1. I was failing interviews in the HR round. You can also catch up with the Technical rounds but not the HR ones. So its something you need to be well prepared for before the interviews. Being confident is really important. And if you get rejected from a company, it is not the end of the career. There are always more opportunities out there waiting for you and you never know what you might like. Also, don’t get carried away by the profile and salaries that a few companies might be offering. Students should first attend the presentations, which most of my friends didn’t. In the presentations, you get to know what the company does and whether the work profile there is something you would want to do or not. Talk to the seniors who are already working in the company and make a choice then.

Author – Hardhik Jhurani (BT – CE ‘21)

This article is part of the series – The Placement Guru. To get regular updates on all our articles, follow us on Facebook at /chennai36 and Instagram at chennai36_iit.madras