Sunday, July 10, 2011

My f(unny)irst interview

It was a great day because they said the interview was on the next day. Mu-Sigma was such a terrible experience because… wait… Don’t be in a hurry… That’s what I am going to say in this post.

Mu-Sigma was the first company that always opens up for all GCT-ian. Well, it has been so for the past three years. Big names have gone there and the hype for the place was really high. Commvault came and they only wanted people who knew how a computer could dance. Hardly, any guy from other department gets placed and they only give a chance for the toppers to try their luck.

Coming into business, the first round had 20 questions. 10 apti, 5 read and write english questions and 5 data interpretation questions. Clearing this test would have been easy, even without attending those summer placement classes that my classmates took.

I cleared the first round. That night the results were out and many were selected from the first round. Then, sun was up again the next morning. Sickness was in the air. We went in a bus, a town bus that had lot of other people. Satheesh sent a lot of forward jokes, which were all of ‘prasuramaagavillai’ genre. Everyone was told that, ”The presentation will start at 8 in the morning. You must be there atleast ten minutes before that.”

The bus went as slow as it could and threw us away in front of PSG tech. We asked where this happening was going on. Some people directed us in a way and we were walking through corridors of width smaller than my hip size. Mind you- Its PSG and Mind you- my hip size is 4_

A dimly lit hall with a projector on one end opened to us through a small door. There were some 10-15 people from the company and around 50 students sitting in that hall. We came in and took our seats in a row and started talking about when they would leave us.

“Good morning fellas…”, said the mike bearer. No response.

“So, how many from CIT?” 30 among 50 in front of us lifted their hands.

“GCT?”, it was him again. The rest of us lifted our hands up.

“PSG?” None. “We’ll wait for another 10 minutes and then start”

This happens everywhere we go. They say to wait for ten minutes as if they have sent them to buy tea and biscuits for us. Then the presentation started and slowly the lecture hall started to fill up. They showed us a scatter diagram, which I knew was a scatter diagram eight months after it in a TQM lecture. They told us about their work and what their requirement was.

Then was the questions session…

“What do we need to enter your company?”, asked a student.

“Well, you need to be 6 feet tall and must have a French beard”, said the mike bearer mockingly. But, you’ll soon understand the reality of this statement. The talk show came to an end. It would have been good if the pre-placement talk had some elimination too. That day would have been better.

Then we went on for the group discussion. And the topic to us was, ‘Should ragging in colleges be made legal?’… Before I entered for the group discussion six batches had already come out and Barath was telling ‘machi’ for the 117th time, the most vaseegaristically. He had not opened his mouth in the GD inside. He was not allowed to infact. Every batch had 4 GCT students and others were filled from PSG and CIT. The common comment was, “The PSG guys are dominating! You must talk a lot louder and sharper”. If you have seen Guru- the Manirathnam movie this dialogue, “Jagadheesaa, naama innum nallaa kathanum” would surely have come to your mind by now. GCT-ians are very soft GD speakers. They don’t speak very harsh, loud or out of the box.

I entered the room with 8 PSG guys and four GCTians. And I had my roommate Kamal sitting to the left side of me. We had planned a lot like, Kamal will start speaking immediately after I stop to talk etc. The topic was given and all the eight students from PSG started scribbling in their notepad. There were lot of opinions and arguments. After 10-12 minutes of talking, only 8 had spoken. The conductor of the GD asked the others, do you have anything to say. They just said nothing. I was one among that eight and I had used some comedies like connecting morning’s happenings at the pre-placement talk with ragging. There is nothing worse to your comedy being taken seriously. I promise I was not at my best and it was my luck that there was a GCT alumnus in the panel. Moral of the paragraph: If there is an alumnus of your college in the selectors’ panel, you only need to be the best from your college. They have this gratitude towards the college and they’ll pick atleast one.

The upset was that the ratio of first round clearers to the second round clearers was too high. It was 119:23. Adding fuel was my department’s ratio of 19:3. Now a question to you reader. If you are from a company and there are 30 people from an other, which is 7-9 km from the place of interviewing what would you do? Ok, leave that… Then we wore a neck-tie.

It was 3’o clock in the noon. I was lucky, because I knew how to knot a tie. Soon it was four ‘o clock. Then it was long before it was five… Girls were attending interview and leaving. Our turn was like the arrival of some long running trains. {The train number 99999 is running 5 hours 45 minutes late. The slight inconvenience is deeply regretted}

“Baskar from GCT”, was the call... He went in. the man who called him added loudly, “everyone must have one passport size photo of yours” ,and went in.

“Next will completely be our college guys”, said a vice from our group. Everyone smiled for the first time in two hours. Baskar came out. Obviously, we asked him what they asked him inside.

Question 1: (As Baskar enters) Whats your height?

Baskar: Something above six.

Question 2: A puzzle

Baskar: Wrong answer J

Interviewer: you may go…

Then slowly, the number of boys from GCT kept increasing like the cricket scoreboard when Dravid is batting. Very very slowly…

After each boy came out, he told about what puzzle he was asked. There were so many common questions. The common comments were

*the interviewer was very simple

*he asked my hobbies and interests

*he asked me to solve some puzzles

No on had any clue on what basis the selction was. There were 190 students and one panel of interviewers.

Then it was eight ‘o clock, slowly nine and nine forty-five.

“Raghunath, Sabarivasan, Rahul Raj, …….”, he called and went in. By then, I was mentally tired and was already thinking of living alone in B’lore.

I went in to the interviewer…

Interviewer- I Me- A

I :aham… Ok, you are Raghunath… Tell me…..something about yourself…

A :I’m Raghunath. Did my schooling…… joined GCT…….. …like management..…. So, if you can tel me, on what area you want to know about me, I’d elaborate more on that.

I :Ok! Leave it…..

A : {why? Shall I tell about my neighbour? That might be of some interest to you… maarujaadhi marriage}

I : So, you are a member of the college mime team and Thamizh mandram?

A :{that is what is written in the CV, you idiot}

{smiling…} y… yes sir…

I : So, why do you want to get into mu-sigma?

A : {sight seeing, enjoying the climate of B’lore} I want to be a good leader and manager sir!

I : Even companies like HCL and Infosys gives you chance to be a leader? Why particularly Mu-Sigma?

A : {This is the first company that came to take us} In IT companies leadership is like leading a flock of sheep. We don’t have work for the right brain there. I don’t want such a work.

I : Ok then. Can you solve some puzzzles???

A : Ya… Sure sir…

I : Ok… you have a pond….

A : The flowers in it double every day… I heard this outside sir!

I : Who found the answer?

A : They all know it. Even I knew the answer already.

I : Ok! Leave that. You have nine balls…

A : { J that’s great } two sir…

I : No, nine balls…

A : The answer is two sir…

By this time a lady came and knocked the door. She was below than average tall and not beautiful.

L : Sir… Dinner???

I : Ya… I’m coming…

A : { idiot who didn’t know the difference between supper and dinner was the one interviewing me}

He gave me my file and told me to leave. Once I came out, I knew I’d not be given that job. But, my placement representative was a very strict man and was one among this 3 in 19:3. So, I had to sit tight for another five hours. At 2 ‘o clock in the night we went to the placement officer of PSG.

“Sir, its already two ‘o clock. When are you going to let the results out???”

“You are here for only this day! This is my daily routine. What will I do?”, asked the PO.

I don’t know what came across my mind suddenly, in Vadivelu’s slang I said, “ungala paakkavum paavamaa dhen irukku!”. Everyone around me started to laugh and we left the place.

In between all this we had a photo session and many exchange of stories. I had Hari Prathap with me. He was the only person in the group who had similar mindset of mine. What we both wanted was liberty for the past five hours...

The inteview briught Hari and me very close. We had some real good time then on (who knows? Some of my stories have his influence in them). We- the three of us from our department and Hari came back at 3.30 in the morning to the hostel. Mu-Sigma picked up four students from our college.

Anand (ECE) - IIM

Venkatraman (ECE) - Huawei

Baskar (CSE) - Authenahealth..

Vigneshwari (CSE) – MuSigma

Dedicated to my juniors who are now going to attend their placements...