Placement Process: A neutral observation

April 11, 2008 at 9:06 pm (Uncategorized)

DISCLAIMER: 1) Only i am responsible for all the views expressed in this post.  2) Satyam did not pay me to write this post… i wish they did 🙂

NIT Durgapur’s placement process for the year 2008 began on 26th March. The first company to arrive was TCS. I appeared for the interview. As luck would have it… among the 300 odd students who were selected for the interview after the written exam, i was the first person to be called for the interview. Hence my interview was quickly over, while my friends had to languish for 2 more days. I being the Training and Placement representative of my department

, i volunteered the remaining two days. I was selected, along with 201 other college mates of mine.

Next in line was Infosys. It took around 70 i think. Then came Wipro and took 49. Then accenture and satyam came on the same date… and we somehow managed them both. It was a unique challenge as never before in the history of our college had two companies come on the same date. It was also made more complicated by the fact that almost everyone sat for both the companies.

But this post is not about presenting statistics. That you can get at http://tpsw.nitdgp.ac.in . The objective of this post is to show to you what i saw in this period, having spent a lot of time with the HR people that came.

The TCS HR guy, Debjyoti Sen was a guy who loved to be hated, and hence he will love this post!! He was quite young. Did his management from BHU. I would say he was an arrogant man. His attitude and manner reflected that TCS is not interested in selecting us really, rather they were doing us a favour. But he was a man of few words, and he meant business. It was not a pleasure being around him. Mayank Daga shouldered that responsibility for 3 days… quite an achievement. Basically, it soured my feeling for the company and turned many people off even before joining the company.

Infosys was utterly professional. Impressive PPT. Far more than TCS. The HR guy, a sardar named Tanveer, was very articulate… and the presentation was great. Their definition of excellence was proven by the fact that they had no age limit for eligibility. So they basically needed good people. The Infosys HR interviewers were very aged men… and very experienced. Infosys was great.

Then came Wipro. It was a soso experience. Not bad not good. They just needed NIT students. Thats all. There was this interviewer who was an ex-NIT Dgp student but he ultimately rejected the most number of students. I even went around the college taking snaps for him in his digital camera on his request. There was this healthy lady, who was heading the team. She was nice… and strict when needed.

Then came the the most important day. Accenture and Satyam on the same day…. i was assigned to the Satyam team. I had to report to the college at 10 AM. I had the interview rooms cleaned and i received the 3 Satyam people who had come. Later two more people came. The man heading the team was Prabir Saha. Was probably in his late 50s, bald with some hair on two sides and very fit. There was a young guy also, and he was there for tech rounds. The last guy was the tech head and he was a south indian.

It became to apparent to me very quickly that Prabir was an ex-millitary man. His sense of humor and nature and the confidence in his speech was something you will not normally find. I was amazed by Satyam’s patience. I would admit that they were treated pretty harshly by us… mainly because two companies had come on the same date… and our resources were stretched. Then there was the issue of Satyam having to wait for Accenture getting their tests done with. Accenture HR people were very feisty from day one. Even on the phone before they came down. They had to have everything their way. Just the opposite was Satyam; very adjusting in nature, cool, calm and composed.

I did not watch the Accenture PPT. I did watch the entire Satyam PPT. It was a delight. Prabir was at his sublime best. He cracked some of the best jokes i have heard in a while. The ethos of Satyam was very evident in the PPT and in the people Satyam had sent. Lines like “You will never see people playing golf in our ads (a swipe at Accenture & Tiger Woods)” , “We are a middle class company” and “We are the only Indian IT company with an Indian name” captured my attention like no one else had. Even the PPT was problematic. Very few people attended it. Even then they did not complain.

Just before the written, i learnt that Prabeer was a retired Brigadier/Colonel in the Army and that he was very strict against cheating. He had cancelled scores of papers in BCET a few weeks back. I made sure the message was passed to the people appearing for the test.

Then came two other people.One of them, Nikunj, was an angel. I have never met a better human being before in my life. He always wore a smile, had a moustache, was tall, healthy and wore a Satyam shirt. During the form fillup phase, they cracked jokes, some quite raunchy ones,,, the kind i cant write here 😉 . Prabeer did the commanding while Nikunj kept talking people out of their tension.

Then began the interview rounds. I was the gate keeper and hence i saw the entire process. They rejected very few. Their mode of selection was based on bringing out the best in a person, contrary to the other companies who were bent on finding weaknesses.

In particular, the most notable case was that of Ranjan Maji, my class mate. He has had a speech defect for a long time now. He used to stammer quite badly. Even in the classroom, when we had mock GDs, he used to fumble. As TPRs we had little hope of him getting placed in a company, although his technical knowledge and english is pretty good.

He went in and told Prabir and another elderly HR guy (i think that was Nikunj inside) his problem. Now Ranjan had sat for all other companies before, and within 5 minutes his interview would be over. Interviewers would tell “All the best, but sorry for today”. In stark contrast, Satyam people asked him the history of the problem in detail. Actually he was naturally left handed as a child, but at home he was forced to write with his right hand. This created some kind of a disturbance between the right and left halves of his brain and hence the speech defect. On hearing this out, Prabir set out on trying to relax him as much as possible. Then gave him some tips. Asked him about his hobby of paining. Asked him to name a famous Dutch painter and Ranjan stuttered “Vincent Van Gogh”.

He cleared the HR round for the first time. I personally thought he never would. So did he. His happiness knew no bounds. But the technical round was left. And there lay half of the story.

The technical round was taken by Nikunj as well… i think specifically for Ranjan…. i may be wrong also. His interview lasted 1:15 hours i think. I was peeping through a small opening by the door. Nikunj first asked him to relax as much as possible and only then enter the room. Ranjan took a while and then entered. i do not what exactly transpired in that room in terms of words, but i saw a very supportive and helpful adult trying his best to cure a problem in a child. I could not believe that values like these are still alive in companies like these.

Well, out came Ranjan, and lo, his speech defect was almost gone!!!!!!    Yes thats true. He did not stutter for 2 days in a go. He just did not stop speaking for hours and hours after that. He even ended up professing his love for a girl in our department in that moment of mad happiness. He was eventually selected for Satyam. Our great professors and HOD sir went and met these great people and thanked them in person. They said to Ranjan “You are a star”. Our Placement officer said, you will soon come to our college to recruit people.

It was such a shame that a company like Satyam got the last slot. It deserves the best of us. I will make sure they come 2nd slot next time… after some truckloads recruiter like TCS or CTS. I felt so bad not be in Satyam then.

And recently Satyam and open source giant RedHat tied up. All the more reason to join Satyam…………

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10 Comments

  1. shreyank said,

    Good piece !! Loved this one !!
    BTW who is this girl for whom ranjan had feelings for ??

  2. MUNMUN BISWAS said,

    very very inspiring……gr8…..
    “God sees everything but waits”……cudnt b mor truer…

  3. Ranjan said,

    On one hand, there is nothing left to say, but I think there is a lot more to say. Words will not suffice. But thanks a lot to u. It was a great experience (both unhappy and delightful situations) for me during campusing. “Alls well that ends Well”

    BE INTELLIGENT. USE LINUX .

  4. debayan said,

    Shreyank, Munmun, thanx for your comments.

    Ranjan, YOU ARE THE MAN!!!

  5. debayan said,

    I later came to know that Nikunj Sir was not really Nikunj sir… and i do not know his real name!! Sorry for the error 😛

  6. Rahul said,

    Really great!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Cheers to all……Ranjan Majhi, IT Dept, Satyam people, and you.

    And yes……TCS people really gave us a big time attitude as if by recruiting us they are doing the biggest favor possible. May be that particular person meant business but the way the process was handled was extremely unprofessional……….saying “don’t want to see their faces in this room” for those who couldn’t qualify the written test. As a whole, the entire process was unplanned, random, and had to be such because he wanted to do everything singlehandedly.
    Its pleasant to hear that there are companies like Satyam who believe in bringing out the best instead of finding faults with everyone. And the team was cooperative and well mannered.

  7. Zahid said,

    Well Well Well !!! That was a very good and closely watched account of a TPR. I am happy for you called Infosys the most elegant of all.

    Viewing it all from outside I will tell you a different version of the same story.

    First come TCS indeed got the first serve and a very big spoon of it. The whole college went to watch (not listen) the ppt. And as the ppt drew to an end everyone was getting frustated – one at the man there standing and the other at the hotness of the room. After hearing the ppt I told my fren beside me “I dont want to give the written exam”. Somehow we all gave the exam. Even after the exam I was feeling wrong.

    And I was pretty amused and in fact laughing when the same friend took the responsibility of informing with a meek tone that I was one of those unluckies (or rather luckies) who dint qualify the written. Somehow i was happy. I was actually wondering how the TPR’s got along with him all the time.

    Second was infosys. This time I loved the ppt, and the sardarji…. Somehow the sardarji was beating arounf the bush when asked with critical questions like joining date and in hand salary. Infosys as was hyped was supposed to be a class company with class objectives whose paper would be so tough that it would be the only thing that matters.

    And its strict policy broke the heart of my two very close friends – Uday krishna uddanti (as you know) and P.V. Santosh kiran (First seater of our batch) who were disqualified bcoz they spoke during the exam. Both of the m got accenture however.

    In between was Mcnally, for which our mechanical TPR’s had a tough time explaining to the normal public what went wrong. Somehow I thought it was a success tht it could actually give room to 15 of us in it. One pun that was released during this time was that Mcnally would return after holidays again to take double the amount of people with double package and someone chipped in “with double the bond period”

    Wipro ppt i attended for my frenz and i must say i liked it. However we were of the opine that wipro and satyam were among the bottom two that were visiting our campus this march-april. This opinion is transferred from the idea of our seniors who told stories about the in hand salaries and the owrk culture of satyam. And accenture we began to know was creating the fuss all through but many of us succumbed to it in the name of Tiger woods perhaps and the company’s NAME. Bangalore was another reason.

    I din attend only one ppt and that was satyam. And for the first time I heard something positive about satyam other than in a business magazine featuring it as one of the top 4 indian IT companies.

    And finally we all discussed about the extreme hard work put in by the TPR’s. The amount of effort put in by all of you was nothing less than Tiresome. And we often talked about the good overall management. You all did a fantastic job.

    Just before anyone would enter the interview room they told briefly what was going inside and tried to build up the confidence (Avinash did it for me in infosys) Never between did any of them show any signs of desparateness or the fact that people were riding on their hardwork.

    Hats off to you and all !!! I believe you have harder work post-summer !!!

  8. Zahid said,

    And if you are wondering what i was doing, commenting this late in the night a day before the examination ….. I am seriously seriously sick !!! of this semester so long and the thought of giving 5 long papers and much more of studying now !!!

  9. debayan said,

    Zahid,
    Thanks for all the good things you said about TPRs… they will bless you surely. We generally get flak rather than appreciation.
    We do have work post summer; that we will try our best to do.
    And i havent yet started studying for my exams. So you not studying late night does not sound unfamiliar to me!! 😛

  10. piyush said,

    wow.. nice post. loved the way u have described the whole process and loved even more the way satyam handled the whole thing. it was really a remarkable gesture on their part. gr8!!

    and i also loved that i got to read something not related to linux on your website, which was really enjoyable as i remain totally unaware of the former till date. 🙂

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