#Repost #ExtremelyLongPost #ADifferentTypeOfConvert
Hey Everyone. I want to share my good news that I accepted an offer for a Manager role at a Bulge Bracket Investment Bank in one of its Front Office Technology functions. I want to share my experience here as this group kept me motivated with their inspiring perspectives.
Usually, I wouldn’t make an experience share for getting a job. Still, given the circumstances, I hope this will offer everyone motivation that things that seem bleak now will actually turn out for the better.
A little about me – BE Mech 2012 passed out from a regular Tier-2 college that gives priority to IT placements. Did my best to get placed into a TATA Company (Core Job) that paid more, was closer to home, and was employee-friendly.
Worked as a Design Engineer making production automation machines from 2012-17. If you bought a Royal Enfield vehicle (except the Himalayan and the GT) anytime after 2014, the engine crankcase was assembled in a machine entirely designed by me. If you traveled in an Airbus A350-1000, I made the machine that tested the mechanism operating the wing flaps. If you bought a diesel engine car (TATA, Ford, Hyundai, Honda, VW) after 2015? boom – the turbos are assembled on my machine. Did you know your windshield (and also rear) is made up of 2 layers of glass with a cellulose film in the middle? Yah. I made the machine that assembles it.
Work kept me engaged and satisfied with the impact I was creating; however, I noticed the high attrition around me. People who get placed mostly leave the job after two years because of the industrial town location and lower salary hikes than their IT peers. But my pay was still surplus for the area I lived in (My Rent+Utlities was ~2500 per month. My company got my meals covered. I invested for tax benefits and still had enough savings to buy a mid-size sedan on my own dime and afforded weekend movies, eating out at the metro, and frequent road trips).
Jumping forward, I was selected by my company as a part of its internal leadership program and was sponsored with a PGCBM (Certification in BM - I do the classes on weekends) at XLRI through virtual means. I learned a good deal from the subjects covered and had new perspectives (I knew the professors in the XLRI BM and GMP panel I sat for – but they won’t know me, never seen my face before), but I lost all my weekends for a year. I had a less than par peer group to learn from and importantly no experiential learning. After completing it, I had no change in the role I was still working (Company promoted based on seniority (Welcome to TATA) – not because you have an MBA now – and we know you did it in the weekends and so not a full-time MBA – You are still the same guy). This is why I took a stance that I wanted to do a full-time MBA rather than opting for the executive one, which everyone was recommending for me. I was also slowly feeling burned out due to overcommitting on my work and seeking a change in my domain (Since the company I worked in is the best you can go in my field). Also, a failed relationship due to poor long-distance execution served as an inflection point to restart things in my mind.
I leaned towards a Master’s abroad rather than an MBA as I didn’t have good examples in the company who made a satisfying career for themselves after an MBA. I got admitted to one of the QS Global Top 20 universities in Europe for a Design Masters program that combined technology and business with a user-centered approach. I kept my head down, did the work required sincerely, made many good friends, and completed my master’s with a decent grade towards the end of 2019. I had a liking for civil aviation, and that was where I did my thesis from, hoping to work further in the field.
2020 was shit as the COVID brought down the two sectors I cared about – Civil Aviation and Production. I started seeking jobs anywhere and everywhere. Companies (not all) indirectly rejected international candidates because their own people were getting unemployed. Employment Visas were hard to comeby. The last time I had to appear for a job interview was in 2012, and LinkedIn wasn’t the force as it is now. I still don’t figure out how LinkedIn gets people hired faster than conventional networking. As COVID became more prevalent as a global pandemic, opportunities disappeared. I have approximately 200 rejection emails in my Inbox (which I plan to delete), which was enough to pack up my bags to India.
So here is me, with experience in Core Engg in a country so competitive that there is always a better person to get the job ahead of you. I have worked with digital technologies and transformation projects during my stint in Europe, but I was an idea man/facilitator rather than a coder/developer. Same story as in every job that fits my profile needed some experience which I didn’t have. I would have made 50 different resumes by now, circulating through all my network in various sectors in a scenario where many HRs thought I was high maintenance (looking at my CV). My previous working experience was in 2017, which was 3 years ago at that time. A gap was already formed in my resume, and at this time, my expectation was as low as to get into a new sector and maybe match my old salary (which would be approximately the median CTC figure of IMT or XIM). After receiving poor feedback, I decided to try CAT for the sole purpose of getting a decent job – even if I had to start afresh through a full-time MBA. This was September 2020, and I booked at the last moment when they delayed the registration by a week.
So, in CAT, I scored shit with hardly 15 days of prep and used another month to prep for GMAT in December and got humbled again. At this moment, I gave up hope for MBA and started thinking of job opportunities again. I had a lovely New Year to myself and was like yeah, let’s finish XAT and be done with it. What I did differently in XAT was to manage my time well across the three sections and attempted all questions except five. I had a good feeling about my performance, and this is where I joined in PagalGuy after getting to know about it on a rant answer on Quora.
These last three months have been a mental turnaround in my life. With XAT Scores shortlisting me for all XLRI programs, life looked like I would finally achieve the parity I sought for. I could apply to only XAT colleges, and so I applied to the programs of IMT, GLIM PGPM, and LIBA (I wanted to be closer to home – and maybe be in a position to drop out if something better comes along). GLIM was first – grilled me with my age and my potpourri of academics. Handled them and got a convert. LIBA was easy, and the panel was patient enough to postpone criticism until they heard my side – Converted. IMT-G – they were fine and had a decent interview. Then came a call from them saying I have been “upgraded” to their executive program (Shit). GMP was next, was in my element, and so was a convert. Then came the eye-opening XL BM interview, which I had already posted here in the XAT group that became a mini-disaster of an identity crisis.
There were many moments where there was fatigue, looking at too many rejections for reasons beyond my control. Still, the only thing I said to myself is to keep pushing on. I made new resumes again and applied left, right, and center of every company job board and referral I could find. And then came all the luck that eluded me was the past two years. I got a call from my eventual company’s HR and scheduled an interview for the next day itself. Being in practice of giving interviews at the MBA institutions helped to give that interview immediately, and so did learning from many of your interview experiences. The job description was more in line with the Masters’ I did in Europe. I had a decent first interview (I was interviewed by an ED from New York and another ED from London <- This guy has an Auto Engg background, so lucky me) but wasn’t expecting much from this, being a very tough company to get into. I was also fortunate that due to the same COVID that ruined my chances abroad, also came a decision from the company to form the team in Bangalore in a big picture way and reduce the size of the team elsewhere in the globe. I cleared the first interview and the second interview was with my hiring manager (another ED in London). I crammed in as much as possible I could learn about the field and polished the required acumen. This interview was the best in this season for me, and after a point, I knew this was a real possibility when the discussion turned into the current projects I would work on. I skipped the XL-HRM interview, which was due by this time, and got into my third interview with the ED in Bangalore, scheduled on the same day. These three interviews spanned for almost a month, and with each interview, I was able to demonstrate progress as an individual. I waited with bated breath for the phone call that would change my life and was extremely happy to confirm that I got the job. Period. But also at 400% of the CTC (I am counting only the Fixed – Bonuses are extra) from my previous company in 2017. This is still a better deal than any job I would have got in Europe.
Never in my life, I imagined until recently that coming from a core background, rejected by many companies and institutions, having a gap of 1.5 years, would ever get a client-facing role at one of the world’s largest IBs. Through this post, I would like to say that there is a design to life, and everything begins and ends with you and only you. When things seem bleak, I urge you to iterate your efforts, sometimes go for the unsafe option, and put your faith in humanity. Try to form a personal b......ng for yourselves with your own differentiators. And when you finally get into some position where you can make a difference, please don't be like the panels that we faced forcing us into manageable stereotypes, thereby conforming us to a template. We are born to be individuals, so appreciate the differences in people. Diversity in thought is the best thing you can put in your CV. Organizations value them and expects the same from its people. Next, Honor your parents. The best thing your parents can do for you is zero loans for you when you graduate, and I’m thankful to god to have such parents who did more than that and supported me with my job search efforts for almost a year and a half. It took me 29 years to be here, but I’m sure it will take you guys way less than that if you keep true to yourself and carry on. In short, don’t let anybody (Your institution included) decide where you end up in life.
I thank all the guys in PagalGuy who created this wonderful experience of sharing positivity in times that need most. I thank all the people who came to my need when XL-BM went out of my control. I’ll be still here, hoping to give back what I had received from this wonderful community. All the best for your future and I hope you guys reap what you sow.
**Reposting AIWTSAC 2020 Probably the first of the season but here it goes. CAT started for me in my 3rd year of engineering. I joined IMS Tambram in 2017 for CAT 2018. Quant was always my strong section, verbal was weak. LRDI was something I found easy but my first attempt proved me wrong. I scored in the range of 110-120 in mocks but could manage only 20-25 in verbal. One day, I suddenly scored 60+ marks in verbal in a mock & got 99+ percentile. I made a false assumption that verbal is more luck based and I don't need to worry about it. Came the D-day, mine was Slot 2 and I was pretty excited for it tbh. I got a heads-up that DILR was one of the most difficult in the history of CAT and the rest was easy. After the exam, I had a neutral feeling about it and didn't see answer keys, hoping for lrdi cutoff to clear. CAT 2018 - OA 94.67 (QA 97.9 DILR 84.94 VA 88.41). Calls- None My placement at Musigma and the final year parties drifted me away. Did not join mu sigma, I had applied to LeadSquared for an internship in my final year and got a full-time offer from there. June 2019, A fresh beginning. Worked hard this time and trust me working and cat prep needs a lot of sacrifices. I had to ditch many plans just so that I could give mocks on weekends. Came the D-Day, CAT 2019 Slot 2. Was fairly confident this time as I had prepared hard. The paper got over, I was confident that I had killed Quant and LRDI. My doubts with VARC proved to be true, CAT 2019 had a very tough verbal section. CAT 2019 - OA 97.60 (QA 98.9 DILR 98.74 VA 78.81). Calls- SPJIMR One of the biggest mistakes I made was not taking my interview prep seriously. I got out in GI1 itself at SP. I was shattered but drawing inspiration from @Arsene96, I decided to give another fight. Started preparing for CAT 2020 with full force as covid started. SIMCATS and AIMCATS became my best friends. I was scoring decently well in all my mocks and my verbal scores had also improved and then the pattern changed. The early mornings before office and late nights, I remember it all. D-Day CAT 2020 SLOT 1. My centre was a 5 min walk from my home. The paper started and it ended, it was damn quick. I was shattered after the paper as I had messed up my strongest section, Quant, and I knew this the moment the exam got over. Decided to give NMAT and SNAP as well this time along with XAT and IIFT. Results: CAT 2020- OA 97.61 (QA 95 LRDI 98.5 VARC 89.4) A 0.01 improvement in 1 year was heartbreaking. NMAT 251 SNAP- 99.61 XAT and IIFT- Nevermind Calls: NMIMS, SIBM P, SCMHRD, MDI, SPJIMR One thing I knew this time was that the interviews can be a game-changer and prepared really hard for it. SPJIMR 1st Feb SCMHRD 17th Feb NMIMS 19th Feb SIBM P 21st Feb MDI 6th April This was the lineup. 3rd March- Converted NM 10th March- SIBM P, Waitlist 469 16th March- Converted SCMHRD The SIBM P waitlist had hit me hard and I decided to join SCMHRD as SPJIMR seemed like a far fetched dream given the odds of conversion and I had lost all my energy to prepare for MDI. Fast forward, 23 March 6:14 pm. SPJIMR Results were out. The feeling when I saw the word “Congratulations” cannot be explained in words. I had a flashback of the last 4 years. I was shaking for the first 1 hour and for a split second, I thought that they had given admits by mistake to everyone like the shortlist error of last year. Checked some groups to find some people with waitlists to realise that I had actually made it. The feeling still hasn't sunk in. My very dear friend @van_hohenheim has also made it through in his first attempt and believe me when I say he is a real OG. To all those who feel demotivated or lost, I hope this post gives you some motivation that every single one of you can do it if the right efforts are put in. It is not over till you believe it is. PG has been a great family which has always stuck by. Signing off.. SPJIMR 2021-23 #IamSPJIMR