BCN — Analyst (Pricing CoE)
Name: Shantanu Jahagirdar
1. Which company have you been placed in and what’s the job description?
>> I have been placed at Bain & Company as an Analyst in the Pricing CoE.
2. Tell us something about your college life and experiences. Were you the part of any club or society throughout your college life and how did they help you?
>> I have had a pretty vibrant and diverse college life. I made many friends right from my first year and I am fortunate enough that we are a closely-knitted group till now. I always tried to keep myself busy and avoid staying in my room for too long, attending workshops, having fun in fests, participating in various activities. I joined Team Srijan, IETE and UNESQUO and all of them have helped me in different ways. The exposure I received while participating in different international and national level competitions with Team Srijan helped me a lot, and I cherish those experiences till date. IETE was a great mix of technical aspects and fun, and I was involved in planning many events. It gave me an opportunity to interact with some brilliant seniors and even today I talk to a lot of them to get their advice. UNESQUO was a club I joined due to my interest in quizzing but I wasn’t able to stay active for long.
3.What message would you give to the first and second year undergraduates on effectively using their time and maintaining their academic as well as social life?
>> I’d say that in your first and second years, you have the freedom to make mistakes without it having a major impact. The academic load is not that rigorous, so there shouldn’t be any issue managing your social and academic life. Interact with as many people as you can, be it seniors or your faculty, try to get as involved as possible in club activities and explore stuff.
4. Where did you pursue your internship and which platforms did you use in order to grab that?
>> I did my internship at York University, Toronto in the field of biomedical signal processing using Machine Learning. I applied to the MitacsGlobalink Research Program, which is for undergraduates from many countries wanting to get international research experience. It is a highly selective and prestigious program, which opens for applications in September. I had my eyes on this program from the very start and did not apply for any of the other programs or companies which came on campus, as my mind was made up on pursuing higher studies. There are plenty of other programs like this as well, like NTU India Connect, Caltech SURF, DAAD-WISE, and USC Viterbi. Plenty of IITs also have their own internship programs. I didn’t have a very good experience with my internship due to it being online, and felt that the project was a bit above my level so I wasn’t able to complete it. That being said, my supervisor was very understanding about it. You need 2 letters of recommendation, an updated resume, a Statement of Purpose and your Transcripts (till the 4th semester) to apply for it.
5. How early one should start preparing for internships and how important an internship is?
>> Internships are definitely important in the sense that they give you an idea of what actual work is like, and not just because they help you fill your resume. There’s no specific preparation I did for any internship, I just had a diverse resume and some decent projects. However, the answer to this question also depends on the field you’re trying to get into. If you are into coding, I don’t think internships matter as much as the quality of the projects you do. If you’re interested in your core branch, they matter a bit more because no self project can give you an actual experience of how work is in the industry. If you plan on pursuing research as a career, then they are very important, as working under an accomplished professor can get you a good publication and a letter of recommendation, and an insight into the life of a researcher. In my case, I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to pursue but I was very inclined towards pursuing an MS.
6. What are the projects that you have done in 4 years and how did they help in your placement and internship?
>> A Majority of my projects have been in the core electronics domain. I have fiddled around with open-source IC design tools, experimented with RISC-V ISA, some basic projects in Verilog, and some in MATLAB related to core electrical, filter design as well. Being a part of Team Srijan, the experience of building a FSAE vehicle from scratch was also a good experience. I can’t really explain how it helped me get the internship because the shortlisting process was very arbitrary and I got a project which was very different from the areas of interest, but it enabled me to apply for other core electronics projects as well. I was also awarded the FAST Summer Scholarship by the Indian academy of sciences, which I didn’t pursue due to a mismatch in timing. I’d say projects helped me here, because I also had to propose a project idea while applying. As my company is a consulting firm, they asked me in depth questions from my internship, but not from the projects.
7. If an aspiring student wasn’t able to secure an on campus internship, what recommendation do you have for that person both academically (off campus/ research internship) and mentally.
>> In the case of research programs, application begins way before our on-campus recruitment starts. So, keep an eye out for deadlines and prepare your resume (preferably in latex), talk to your faculty to give you a letter of recommendation (atleast 2) and start looking for different research lab openings. You’ll find plenty of them and won’t have much trouble if you are able to demonstrate interest and have some relevant experience. It is very difficult to get a corporate internship (for a non coder), but you could try your luck there as well.
If you have a good CGPA, also consider mailing different professors at reputed colleges across the country. But this gets very competitive. Personally, I haven’t done this, but you’ll find many resources online. If you are unable to secure an internship, you could work on a good project to help you with placements.
8. How did you prepare for the interviews? What was the toughest part for you while giving the interviews?
>> I prepared myself for the interviews of core electronics companies only, and was not going to apply for non-tech. For core electronics, I revised analog, digital concepts and some topics from CMOS VLSI. I won’t say there was a tough moment for me in my interviews, they went smoothly. I was concerned about having a sudden laptop or internet issue, but had backup plans in place. In the case of Bain, they had a workshop for the candidates who had qualified the test where they taught us case studies and guesstimates. I had a brief idea about them when I was considering MBA as an option, but attending the workshop made me realise the depth I need to go to. So, I read different casebooks from various business schools and consult clubs, and practiced guesstimates from YouTube.
9. What was the selection procedure of your company? Can you repeat some of the important questions from each round of your interview?
>> They first had a resume shortlisting, and then we were made to give a test, which was very similar to the DILR section from CAT exams. After further shortlisting, we had the workshop and interviews scheduled the next day. We were told what to expect in the interview and I was confident about my preparation as well. My interviews didn’t really consist of a standard question-answer section, infact my interviewer and I solved a case study together where he judged the candidate’s thinking process, detailing and logical reasoning. He then asked me a math question which seemed difficult but I was able to answer it. The 2nd round was immediately later and I was grilled from questions related to pricing models, case studies, guesstimates and some questions from machine learning. It went on for over an hour and was very rigorous. I didn’t feel too good about my chances after the 2nd round but luckily, I got through.
10. What are your future plans? Would you like to go for higher studies?
>> It was my plan earlier to go for an MS but later I decided against it. I might consider an MBA later if it adds value to my career.