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What does it take to get that dream offer?

A great curriculum vitae and clear understanding of target companies can help you excel during pre-­placements at management institutions.

education Updated: Aug 20, 2014 12:17 IST
Gauri Kohli
Gauri Kohli
Hindustan Times

It’s pre-placement season in most B-schools across the country, including the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs). MBA students getting their suits, ties, saris and other formal wear ready have quite a few things on their mind at the moment – the most important ones being the top organisations in particular sectors; job profiles they are likely to get and salary packages they should accept and personal preferences.

HT Education spoke to students and faculty of some of the top B-schools to find out what it takes to get that dream job.

For the best PPO

Active preparation is a good way to maximise one’s chances in placements, say experts. “Candidates should strengthen the core concepts related to course work (finance basics, marketing concepts, etc), practise group discussions — both case-based and general, give mock interviews to get a feel of how exactly an interview can pan out and be well-versed with current affairs,” says Professor Rajiv Kumar, chairperson (placements), IIM Calcutta.

The pre-placement process is divided in four phases – writing a CV, applying and preparing for the interviews, the actual interview and the internship where candidates spend two months at the organisation. They need to work hard during all the four phases to bag that coveted job.

“CV-making in IIMs is a critical piece of the entire process. For a perfect CV, one needs to spend time with seniors in college. While framing points, candidates should ensure that they are demonstrating impact in each and every point and the skills they possesses. Lastly, the CV’s formatting/visual appeal should be perfect with no grammatical or spelling errors and proper spacing,” says Kshitij Bindlish, an IIM Calcutta student.

The next phase is preparation for the interviews. Before the interviews, each candidate must prioritise at least two sectors to focus on. “More than two sectors would end up diluting one’s level of preparation in all those sectors. To do that, they should again talk to all seniors who have interned in those particular sectors/companies and try to understand the job profile, expectations of hirers and the interview process. After narrowing down the choice of sectors, candidates need to prepare extensively for that particular sector. At IIM-C, seniors organise regular sector-specific sessions where students are guided on how they should prepare and resources (books, articles, PDF files, previous year’s interview experiences) are shared. Candidates should give as many mock interviews as possible,” adds Bandlish.

Actual internship is vital too. “Before going on internships, candidates should talk to seniors who went to target organisations and find out what the projects were like; expectations and work evaluation methods. Internships, say, in investment banking, may require you to study a bit before going. However, in most cases you won’t require that. It is a simple process of working hard and creating an impact in the organisation,” he says.

Landing a good offer

Bandlish, who bagged an internship with the consulting firm Bain & Co, says, “The interview process for Bain involved two case interviews with seniors from the firm. The interviews required me to solve a business case that the interviewer was solving at that time or had solved in the past,” he recalls.

Animesh Agarwal from IIM Shillong got one of the best PPOs from Mahindra GMC recently. His interview was mainly about his understanding of the role and the GMC programme. “The panelists wanted to know what motivated me to apply for this programme. We discussed how my past shaped my decisions. We also talked about my future goals and how I thought Mahindra can help me achieve my goal and how can I help the organisation get a little bit closer to its aim,” he says.

Four steps to a pre-placement offer

1 Writing a CV: You should meet with seniors who have a similar profile as yours and those who have interned in the sector of your choice. Framing points in a CV should be done carefully to ensure that there is impact. Avoid errors and see that the formatting/visual appeal is perfect.

2 Applying and preparing for the interviews: Do not focus on more than two sectors as this could end up diluting one’s level of preparation in all those sectors.

3 The actual interview: The only thing to add to one’s preparation at this stage is one’s confidence. Do your research well about the company that is holding the interview.

4 The internship: Before going on your internships you should talk to the seniors again who went there last year to understand what are the projects like, what are the expectations, how are you evaluated etc.

First Published: Aug 20, 2014 12:15 IST