Sunday, November 11, 2007

SIPping joy out of life

For the uninitiated, SIP stands for Summer Internship Process. To get placed for summers we recently had our own summer placement sessions. From the outside it may seem that being in a premier B-school and carrying a lot of brands of previous education and work experience, getting placed must have been a cake walk. But it wasn't. The worst part is I don't know why. Okay, I was under prepared, I am casual at times, I don't take load (worry about: kgp lingo) of things much. But I was surprised how the companies could make that out from just my CV!

I will try not to focus on the big names which visited the campus and the process so that I am not convicted of revealing too much info to outsiders. It's supposed to be a serious offense in a B-school. However the importance will be on the emotions I(more generally, We) went through and the reasons behind them.

Two days before the process begun shortlists started coming from companies we had applied for. I was there in the first 2 which were published and there were people who were in none. Pity! Poor guys, not getting even shortlisted. Not even getting the chance to show the hirers their worth. At least I wasn't one of them. Still I was not very excited either as none of these companies offered me what I wanted... something called hardcore finance roles (I don't know what that really means, please find out yourself!). As I was basking in the glory of getting a high number of shortlists other companies kept pouring with their lists. Something changed. My name wasn't appearing in any. And that became the norm. Out of the 15 odd companies which published their shortlists before the placement process started I had my name in TWO of them! That did some damage to my self confidence. People always say, these lists are random. That is a truth but not completely. Some CV's are excellent, and they get max no. of shortlists. They are easy to spot. Few peculiar ones are relatively easy to reject / ignore from any companies point of view. But the big lot of decent CV's are where the randomization occurs. I don't know which case I was. An unlucky member of the decent CV group or a lucky one from the peculiars who still managed 2 calls.

When the process starts almost the whole batch sits in a hall fully dressed up in formals to be called for the interview/ group discussions from time to time. Good thing is, I didn't have to. Didn't have that many calls :D So, after reporting to the placement people in the morning I came back to my room and did what I love to do, till 2.30 pm. Sleep. I even skipped the lunch hour. After that I came to know of 2 more calls I had taking my count to 4.

That didn't make me feel any better? You know why? Since 3 of them had group discussions. Something I haven't really cleared in my whole life! Nor did I hope to in a place full of MBA students. You know how fiercely aggressive and competitive they can be. I had a direct interview with a consulting firm, didn't go well. Lots of ifs and buts raised, grammatically wrong words pointed out, still I didn't reject it as a lost cause until results were out. I failed another GD. Somehow a company which is supposed to offer best projects in operations in campus called me for the interview, even though I was not that vocal in the GD. I had to apply for operations in the company as they withdrew the offer of finance roles. May be someone finally noticed something good in my background. But in the interview I made it clear about the kind of project I was looking for in operations. (Un)fortunately I was asking for something they didn't have. On mutual consent I walked out of the room rejected. I don't know how I managed to take that risk. I mean I was walking away from arguably the best company in its field which was again specially interested in me. I didn't have any good shortlists in slot one. What guarantee could I have for slot two. What if I end up going to a company selling FMCG. The bigger issue was, companies I am interested in don't shortlist me. How and why will companies which go against my career interests select me. I can't bluff in an interview. There is no way I can convince some one that I will sell all the soap or paste or cream or drink or newspaper you want me too. No way. Basically when I walked out of the room, I walked precisely into nowhere. Needless to say I got rejected from all the other GDs I had and was out of the race. By this time all the glorious $ stipend companies had announced results and there was a lot of hugging, shouting and clapping. Whatev'

Into slot two. This is the interesting part. You have independence of applying to companies in slot two right-on-the-spot, because most of the people shortlisted originally have been placed. So it seemed like finally we would get a chance. But that was just what I was thinking. At the end of first day of this slot, I only had one bad telephonic interview(no GD for this company) and few GDs (all rejections). In fact the calls were so few that I even stopped asking people if my name was on any list, as I would assume otherwise and just cross check to confirm later. I would start reading about any company in advance and stop reading as soon as the shortlist would publish. I was pretty cool until now. I was just taking it as another practical joke. No company wants me, haha. Any company doesn't even wanna see me, hahahaha. But i knew it wasn't funny.

Day four (slot 2, day 2). Things were getting out of hand. It was important for the school to get everyone placed and for that it was important that I get placed. So I could see my name on every other S&M company list now. I don't want to go there. I will not only ruin my summers but also theirs, to my full might. I wanted to try something in finance. But at the same time I was applying to almost every company now. It was a desperate situation. 3 1/2 days gone, nothing yet in hand. I was cursing myself. At what point in my career did I go wrong. No gaps or breaks in education. IIT Kharagpur - Mechanical Engineering. Couldn't have been better. Then a job in arguably the best manufacturing set-up in India, that too in production. It was all so smooth and meant to be. Then suddenly to MBA? That too looking for finance? and applying to S&M. Boss, things are really out of place. Me and a lot of my friends with similar qualms had formed a well and were cursing just anything and everything, starting with ourselves. It seemed like coming to do an MBA itself was the biggest mistake. Some of the girls had already started to cry and guys had become obnoxious. And the people who had already been placed became angels. They would console us, teach us, feed us, encourage us. They were doing a good thing but sometimes it did make us feel like piteous. You can't even refuse their services as you not only need them but also don't want them to think "bhalai ka to zamana hi nahi raha". I took undue advantage of the situation as well. When else would I get the opportunity to be served by the prettiest and the nicest of the girls in the campus. I even behaved like a kid who is hungry for anything being served and would make demands of his own, ("nahi... humko chocolate khana hai, uwaaan, uwaaan"). I don't know what people thought about me on that, but I was given all i wanted :D

Anyway finally the calls started coming. I had 2 more telephonic interviews which I thought went well and a series of GDs, all of which bombed! I was still stubborn enough not to apply to many companies and was kind of readying myself for a possible slot three. After 930 pm, there were no activities. Some lucky ones were going through the process and we were just waiting for the results. Results were then announced, alphabetically. I got placed. In fact the company was at the top of my priority list. At that moment I couldn't have been happier. What also made me happy is that many of my friends got placed in fin roles as they would have liked to. Finally they had a reason to smile. But what made the celebrations dull was the fact that there were a few friends still to be placed. I know it would happen soon, but still... So this is how yet another eagerly awaited and anticipated chapter ended. As a friend rightly said a game full of bargaining and auction, a once in a lifetime experience. Actually it will be a twice in a lifetime thing. Having gone through the SIP I am only waiting for the CRP to come.


naween said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
pendreams said...

nice one.. u compensated my laziness to pen everything.. i will link your blog from my blog :)

Anonymous said...

hi babes

this is avinash..

masto blog... except i hoped the post ending part will be thr also...:)

really gd description of the dilemma nd "the truth"..:)

Voice said...

i read this one
i dont know why my comment is not here

Vithika said...

"Basically when I walked out of the room, I walked precisely into nowhere." ...awesome statement and a good blog!