Placement Series: Post 1

Written by Vignesh Thiagarajan

In a college of MIT’s standards, am pretty sure that MU-SIGMA is not always the first choice of many because it does not satisfy the tech geeks and is also not a cake walk for the guys with the ‘who cares’ attitude. But it’s the ideal company for someone who wants to do an MBA in the near future or is interested in learning the nuances of administering a firm. MU-SIGMA has carved a niche for itself in the relatively nascent field called ‘DATA ANALYTICS’. To go with an illustration, if some movie actor wants to choose a story or a genre to act, he consults a D.A company like MU-SIGMA and this company does some meticulous math, first starting with shortlisting the movies that have grossed the most in box office, then the genre of the successful movies, then the common factor or aspect among these movies, the kind of visual effects used, the kind of ending, so on and so forth. Thus the actor finally gets to star in a movie that has the highest probability of a box office sweep. This work may seem like Sheldon cooper’s staple but it can be very interesting.

       Coming to my experience in campus placements, MuSigma was the second company I attended and the first in which I cleared the initial rounds. But I was shown the way out in the third round despite my decent performance because of my misinterpretation which I corrected in the off-campus placement of the same company. In the middle of the confusion I was in, between an M.S, M.B.A and placements, I wasn’t sure whether I wanted this company in the first place. I got a little tensed after a few rejections on campus and fearing the absence of core companies, I got placed in CTS despite my interest in pursuing an M.S. As we are allowed only one placement on- campus, I thought I was going to end up in CTS happily before I do an M.B.A

Round 1: Online

Then came the off campus placements. I did not take it seriously because my mind was fixed to enjoying life in CTS and so there I was in Courtrallam the day before, enjoying an open shower after a long time. I attended the first round of mu-sigma off campus placements in PANIMALAR college, Chennai and cleared it quite easily because I was a little into CAT exam preparation. I had to attend 15 questions in 25 minutes and the questions were from aptitude, verbal ability and data interpretation and it was an online round. I got 11 questions right. There were around 1500 guys for the first round from various colleges across India, lesser than the number who attended the same company’s on campus placements in Anna University. The first day schedule only had the first round and I returned to my hostel. That evening came the text message that I had been selected for the further rounds. But I couldn’t take my eyes off the T.V series ‘Person of interest’. Then later that night I prepared an updated resume and brushed up my area of interest and projects.

Round 2: Case Study & Pseudo code

       The second round was a cumulative round and contained a case study and a pseudo code solving round. In the case study round – you are given a situation that requires a solution pertaining to a company and you are to assume that u have certain data and your task  is to ask questions from that data that you think will throw up the answers that in turn you think may help you in formulating the solution. Precisely, it’s about asking the right question. And you have to ask for additional data that you may require also. The pseudo code round is where they give you an algorithm which you can solve and give the output even if you are not familiar with any programming languages. It’s just about finding a min or max value or adding up values from a table.  Then you have to spot the error in the algorithm. I got through this combined round.

Round 3: Video Synthesis

          Then the third round is also a cumulative round containing a video synthesis and a group discussion.  It’s the same clichéd video that they run wherever they go, it’s about what they do in that company and it’s pretty much like an introduction to a book on mu-sigma. It’s their CEO Mr.Dhiraj speaking in an ‘Indian turned American’ accent. I sincerely noted down the key points though I was told it was enough to listen. Then the task was to synthesise the video in 3 crisp points. This was where I went wrong in the campus placements ,where my Matriculation board instinct took over ( which u could very well judge from this article) and hence I wrote a 10 mark essay for what was supposed to be a 3 or 4 mark question. In off-campus, I subdued that interest and stuck to the rules.

Round 3 contd.: Group Discussion

        The group discussion had a few topics from the video. After the video before the GD, I was going through the notes which were very useful as I knew GD topics can sometimes be related to the video. Before the GD we were divided into groups of 10 and in my group all others were from SRM, VIT and NIT s. I shouldn’t deny the fact that fear did creep into me in spite of the numerous GDs I had attended before. That was because all these guys were kind of posh and they all seemed like NRI s with impeccable English and the only thing that was missing was a pair of bathroom slippers. But I realised I had nothing to lose and something more than just a job was at stake. I had to prove to myself that mu-sigma was not above the high standards that I had set for myself. It was a matter of prestige that I got rejected on-campus.

So GD started and soon I realised that my voice was the feeblest voice among the lot and it made me feel like some interference signal in an audio recording. I tried to intervene many times but these guys bulldozed me every time I opened my mouth. But as it progressed, I realised that though all these guys churned out English like a heavy downpour, most of their talks were filled with clichés, fillers and some meaningless repetitions just rephrasing some other’s ideas, except a very few guys who were to the point . I wasn’t that fluent but was articulate enough to express my ideas without any barriers except some usual stuttering. Seeing my plight, the panel members stopped and asked me to come out with my point. It was one of the 2 or 3 occurrences where I had a chance to open up and I made sure that I made good use of them.  I was able to infer that my points were good and unique from the way the company guys nodded seing each other on hearing me speak. And I cleared this round too; it was a little less than shocking.

Round 4: Interview

          But then came the worst part in which I had to starve till before the interview got over. Hunger pangs aside, I had to while away my time before the interview got over, so I had a conversation with an SRM guy. Sadly there were very few girls sitting around, in stark contrast to on campus placements.  Then I went in for the interview in which we two candidates sat against a single jury consisting of a single senior executive.

             He asked questions to analyse my character and to find out if I had a clear thought process. He then asked me “what’s interesting about you apart from this resume?” the answer to which is, I presume, beyond the scope of this article. Then there were questions from that video that tested my understanding of the video. Then came the statement that I would not forget for a long time. After the questions, he told me “You don’t look good”. I was taken aback for a moment and my hands involuntarily went up to correct my hairstyle and then I controlled the urge. For an instance, I thought it was the stubble that made an unkempt look. But to my relief, he comforted me with a smile and told me “I was talking about the way u project yourself and not about your physical attributes”. He told me that my answers were good and clear but my low tone and kind of amused face made me look like I lacked self confidence. I promised to correct it.

                 He asked me about other placement offers and I told him CTS was just a backup plan and promised to join mu-sigma if selected. He then told me I was one of the four guys who got an’ A’ in the video synthesis. He then asked me why I dint get selected in campus placement and I told him the reason. Then I was asked to wait. Then there came the pretty woman who read my name and I was a proud, happy and a relieved person.

              Then they gave me their company T-shirt and it seemed to fit me just fine. I hope the job does too.

Written by Vignesh Thiagarajan

Vignesh is a final year student of Production Technology at MIT. He was rejected by Mu-Sigma on campus and went on to attend the off campus drive of the same where he was offered placement.

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