exams, IIT, India

IIT placements – PLACED! – Part 3!

After a strenuous and exhausting week of first week of day zero and day one placement tries, IITs stepped into the second week of placements. The second week of placements began from December 8th and my son appeared for more tests. As usual he cleared many of the first round of tests and was shortlisted for interviews for more companies.

Some of the other companies that he was shortlisted for the second week of interviews were Achnet technologies, IFFCO, Contata, Nucleus software and Jungle software. Some of the companies were based in Bangalore and I was beyond all excited! 🙂

Second week of placements:

This week of placements needed more calmness and determination. We gave him all the moral, emotional and physical support that was needed at that time. In addition, since the HR round was his bottleneck, he decided to tackle that one too. He gathered all the commonly questions in the HR round and figured out the best way to answer them (he was a pro at those questions since he had attended so many interview questions by then (face palm!))

Some commonly asked questions were:

1. Where will you see yourself in 5 years time?
2. If you have such a high CGPA(his CGPA was 9.3! :)) – why have you not gone into research?
3. Why do you want to work in our company?

These questions needed delicate and careful answering. After the first week debacle he was more careful in answering questions and judged things a little better.

The graveyard sessions were finally done with in the second week of placements. Now, the interviews were conducted on normal earthly hours! 🙂 But still he had to do a written test between 3 and 4:00 a.m. in the morning. He was now used to this new schedule of getting placed.

There was another company whose interview went well and he thought he might be selected but unfortunately slipped yet again! 😦

PLACED!!

December 14th 2022 dawned and he had 2 interviews the same day and almost at the same time. One was online and one was offline. Slack channels were already created and he learned to juggle both of them simultaneously (they are all supposed to do it that way)

He cracked the interview that came first and it lasted only for 15 minutes! 🙂 So, where did he get placed finally? He got placed in IFFCO-TOKIO as Senior Executive !! 🙂 (spelling varies as IFFCO – Tokyo in some places too) IFFCO-TOKIO is a joint venture between an Indian fertilizer manufacturer and a Japanese insurance company.

Once he got the good news of his placement at 5:00 p.m. all other interviews that he was shortlisted for was closed and he was not required to appear for any more interviews after that.

My thoughts on the whole process:

  1. The IIT placement process is an emotional roller coaster.
  2. While studying and getting good grades might be one part of the process, cracking the interview is shifting to a different part of the process(“Shift left” in DevSecOps parlance :))
  3. You have to get placed as quickly as possible else you will be physically and mentally drained.
  4. Getting placed in a recession year is tough for the students, parents, faculty and everybody involved.
  5. Competition is stiff is an understatement. Everybody is smart!!
  6. You have to do a lot of homework before the placements. You have to read about the company, be strong with the technical concepts and do smooth HR talking as well.
  7. You have to be confident and truthful. There will always be something that we don’t know and it is always wise to say “I don’t know”
  8. There will be companies who might do the full stretch of 5 or 6 rounds and still go back without hiring anybody! (face palm!)
  9. There are some companies who open placements exclusively for girls alone (yes – it is nice to see placements being open only for girls… now the parents of girls should be willing to send them anywhere they want ;))
  10. From what I could see, very few companies came for placements for non-software roles
  11. The IIT placement season runs from December to May the following year
  12. Alumni students are also allowed to sit for placements
  13. There are students who are passionate about their core subjects like Mechanical, Civil and Physics. Many might pursue higher studies in their core subjects and look for suitable opportunities after that.
  14. It is absolutely important to network with peers and seniors during the entire placement process (a skill which my son sorely lacked!)
  15. In a normal placement year, packages for most students start from 25 lakhs(we will not consider the very few who get the 1 crore package – they are a minority), but this year it might have dropped to 15 lakhs – 20 lakhs! 😦
  16. In a recession year, if bigger giants do not visit the campus at all, the startups will hire only 1 or 2 students or none at all!!

Good luck to the Class of 2023! Never lose faith and keep at it!

Do give the first and second post in this series a read if you haven’t already!

college, exams, IIT, India

IIT placements – Graveyard sessions – Part 2!

After having been shortlisted for 7 companies, my son was busy preparing for the impending interviews. He knew the interviews would be tough and there would be multiple rounds for most companies. He was decently technically sound and had gone through multiple sources of information preparing for the same.

There was one trouble though… he knew the interviews would be coming up but he had no idea when they will be scheduled. He was also extremely uncomfortable with the fact, that he might have to sit up all night for the interviews. That thought was more disturbing than doing the interview itself! 🙂

The companies themselves did a mix of online and offline interviews(pandemic effect) Slack channels were created for all the companies that he was shortlisted and waitlisted for and there was a huge list of them on his phone!

November 30th, 2022: It was Day Zero for placements at all IITs (This fact was known to all IITians except for my son and he realized it only after a while! (face palm!)) Many companies had come for Day Zero placements and he was pleasantly surprised to see that he was shortlisted for a Day Zero(SquarePoint) company as well!

Online interviews were scheduled to begin at 11:30 p.m. and we were all excited for him. He was dressed in a suit and looked dapper! 🙂 As the night wore on, the graveyard shift progressed slowly and at a snail’s pace. My son had never sat up that long and the night was hanging wearily on him. He was finally called for interview at 4:00 a.m. in the morning. He did the interview but was up against all odds and circuit branch students held the key and SquarePoint unfortunately fell away.

December 1st, 2022: He was immediately called for Oracle offline interview at 6:00 a.m. on December 1st. There was hardly any gap between the graveyard shift and morning shift of the next morning. He did the Oracle interview well as well but was unfortunately not selected again.

The pain of the interview process is that even though you finish your interview, you might have to actually wait for another 3-4 hours till the results are declared! In the mean time, other interviews might be slotted as well. So, it is quite a tiring and never ending battle till we get selected.

We wait and we wait and we wait, either for the results to be declared or wait for the next interview 😦 We figured that each interview goes for a minimum of 6 hrs and the entire 6 hrs is only stress and anxiety!

December 1st, 2022, 11:30 p.m. – After spending an anxious day, there was another graveyard session on December 1st, 2022 at 11:30 p.m. Sprinklr had 5 rounds of interview and he cleared three of them.

By now, he was clearly tired and exhausted and knew the effects of IIT competition.

MathWorks and Inito came close and he was almost selected for either but fell through at the managerial and HR round! 😦 It feels so painful, when you clear the technical rounds decently well, but fall short on the HR rounds.

By the time, Tata AIG and Deloitte came, there was little to no enthusiasm or energy for him.

Pulling through graveyard sessions needs tremendous mental and physical strength. You have to be resilient and pull up quickly if all does not go well. You have to be able to adjust your eating, sleeping habits and at the same time, prepare for the interviews well. Those interviews dig deep into Java, C, C++ and system design concepts and you have to be extremely good in competitive programming. In addition, you have to mouth your words carefully through the HR rounds.

Truth:

When you have 6 or 7 interviews lined up on consecutive days in the first week of placements when graveyard shifts are the norm, the trick is that we have to crack the interview as soon as possible. If the interviews, stretch and pull, you will be pulled into a black hole of tiredness and exhaustion.

Week 2December 10 – December 14:

He decided to appear for more tests and try to finish off the placement process this semester, rather than pull it into the next semester(though I was bugging him to take a break and come home) Banks, insurance companies and other companies were continuously coming and there was no dearth of them. The only catch was that, many were startups and they might hire only one person or none at all after the entire interview process! (face palm!)

So, what happened in the second week? Come for the next post in the series! 🙂

college, IIT, India

IIT placements – A Mother’s perspective – Part 1!

I don’t know about other college placements…but the current ongoing IIT placements at the different IITs across India for the Class of 2023 is a true test of physical and mental strength! If you have seen the Netflix series – ‘Alma Matters’ – you might fairly know what I am talking about…here goes my son’s IIT placement journey at IIT-R in greater detail:

If I could describe the entire placement journey in one word – it is “WAITING, WAITING AND MORE WAITING”!! Most of you might be knowing, but in case you didn’t know – my son is a final year student at IIT-R in the Engineering Physics stream. Final year began in July 2022 and we knew what that meant – placements during the end of the seventh semester!

July, August, September went quietly. Many companies started visiting the campus by end of September 2022 and first round of tests were conducted. The dreaded ‘R’ (recession) word raised its head out of the blue and many were wondering about the effects of the recession on the placements.

True to fears, recession hit alright and the Class of 2023 will never need a theoretical explanation of what a recession is(they lived through it)! Here is a timeline of events leading to the interviews:

Before that, a small personality close up of my son – he is a smart and silent boy who mostly keeps to himself. He would rather figure things on his own than knock on his neighbor’s door and ask for information! 🙂 He had never sat up beyond 11:30 at night and never knew how to keep awake the entire night and manage life the following day!(the relevance of this information will be revealed shortly!)

Late September 2022: Companies start arriving at the campus and written tests are conducted

October 2022: More companies come but bigger giants like Amazon, Adobe, Cohesity, DE Shaw are distinctly invisible. Amazon had initially stated that they would be coming to campus – but announced that they were going back on their plans and would not be recruiting after all. All the major tech giants had given handsome PPOs(Pre placement offers) the previous year and they were not actively recruiting now.

The results of the tests were not available for almost a month and you have no clue whether you have done well in a test or not. The waiting game has already begun. What do you do in such a situation? We just continue to write more and more tests in the hope that we are shortlisted for interviews for at least some of them.

It is to be noted that 95% of companies come only for coding interviews. And some of them open only for circuit branches(EEE, ECE and CSE)

The helicopter mom, I am – I was also keenly looking at the companies that were coming for recruitment. No surprises there, software and coding rock the field even today!

So, what do students who are in non-circuit branches like Mechanical, Civil, Chemical do? Just learn coding along the way in your 4 year degree program and sit for placements! (unfortunate, isn’t it?)

November 2022: After having written multitude of test, the results of the tests finally start getting declared.

It was with sheer happiness that we saw my son had been shortlisted for not one or two but for 7 companies !! 🙂 There were companies like SquarePoint, Oracle, Sprinklr, MathWorks to name a few. SquarePoint was a day zero company which means they were offering the highest salary of almost a crore! (yes!:))

So, what happened in the interview and where did my son get placed? Stay tuned for the next post….

Family

My strong mother!

“Strong women aren’t simply born. They are made strong by the storms they walk through” Anonymous

This is probably one of the most popular quotes that I have seen on the Internet long ago and it fits my mother so well!

My mother:

My mother was the most softest and gentlest person on this earth. She had the longest hair and was just slim and beautiful as ever.

She and her family were the purest and purest of vegetarians and they had never even touched cakes or eggs. She always ate correctly and in perfect proportion all through her life. She was a Zoology graduate and her record books of those days were done with so much care and precision.

She was probably the only person in our house who could adapt to any place very well too. Born and raised in Tamil Nadu she became a banker’s wife and thoroughly enjoyed it. She had to move all over India and a few International destinations too and she adjusted easily. She could adapt to Hindi in Northern India, Kannada in Karnataka, Marathi in Maharashtra and more. As recently as last month and even the day before she passed away she was learning to read and write Kannada. She had almost mastered written Kannada.

She was an amazing cook and was a soft and innocent person and was quick to catch up with technology too!

Technology and my mom:

While my father was the initial person who showed all of us the technology path in our house, my mom was quick to grasp all the latest in tech. She was an expert in using Whatsapp, Google Pay and more. Though we never allowed her to use GPay on her own, she knew how it exactly worked and its pitfalls too.

I had also talked about Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to her and she knew them well though she was never on them.

Organized and structured:

My mother was the Queen of organization and structuring. Everything was done methodically in the house and she always planned ahead neatly. Groceries were brought well in advance and neatly organized. Medicines were methodically stocked. Bed spreads were neatly organized and everything was washed and cleaned on time.

Strong and Determined:

My mother was also probably the most determined person on earth. If she set her mind to doing something, she will ensure that she gets it done.

Life did not throw simple problems at her and she was forced to reckon with complicated challenges. But she was resolute and she finished all of them perfectly.

My father passed away in 2020 and she handled it very well even though I know that it must have been very, very hard for her. She was the one who gave us the strength with her quietness and resilience. And we were the ones who were visibly going through a tough time.

However all the beauty and innocence was lost in a single day suddenly.

November 14, 2022 dawned and nothing was amiss. Everything was running normally. I spoke to her in the morning(like I always do) and nothing was wrong. She was fine and had her breakfast.

Around 2:45 p.m. her physical therapist called to say that nobody was answering the door from her house. We were able to finally open the door at around 3:20 p.m. after a lot of frantic calls and tries. We saw that she had collapsed on the bed and the physical therapist immediately jumped in to give her CPR.

The physical therapist was a young lady probably in her mid to late 20s with a tremendous presence of mind and calmness. While I have been sharply critical of my father’s treatment and the doctor’s apathy when he passed away – this time, I was genuinely blown away by the kindness and sharpness of the young girl. She immediately called an ambulance with a nurse or doctor and that came in instantly. Oxygen was provided immediately in the ambulance and we rushed her to the hospital where all necessary treatment was given.

Though, nobody could save my mother, I was happy with the treatment and the sharpness and kindness of the young physical therapist and the doctors at the hospital. Hope there are more people like the young therapist who can show kindness and sensitivity in a very difficult situation!

Last rites:

My mother was supposed to have passed away on a very good and religious day in Karnataka. In spite of her being a very shy person and keeping to her self, all family members came to see her(no Covid excuse this time – sorry, had to take a dig ;))

All rites were done according to tradition and we laid her to rest exactly in the place where my father rests. I know she is happy with my father in heaven looking down upon us and guiding us!

Rest in peace Mummy and we will miss you forever!

Dedicated to my mother who passed away on November 14th, 2022.

Musings

16 years….

16 years of impishness!

16 years of sweetness!

16 years of giggles!

16 years of curls!

16 years of daredevilness!

16 years of coolness!

16 years of asking your brother questions ! 🙂

16 years of mother -daughter disagreements! 🙂

16 years of fun!

16 years of defiance!

16 years of being similar to your mother in personality!

16 years of having a never ending set of friends!

16 years of liking peculiar tastes(sour ice cream, any one? :))

16 years of making your brother smile! 🙂

16 years of making cheeky remarks!

16 years of trying to like cats(based on father’s likes! :))

16 years of frankness!

16 years of outspokenness!

16 years of beautifulness !

16 years of shouldering the responsibility of the “second child” syndrome!! 🙂

Sweet 16, my sweet girl!! Hope you realize your dream and buy Insta some day!! 🙂

Best,

Amma, Daddy and anna

Musings

21 years…

21 years of happiness!

21 years of sheer joy!

21 years of raw brain power!

21 years of smartness!

21 years of brilliance!

21 years of sharpness!

21 years of intelligence!

21 years of being a “brain box”! 🙂

21 years of quietness!

21 years of being a good listener!

21 years of never complaining about my cooking !! 😉

21 years of listening to me implicitly! 🙂

21 years of being a teacher to all of us on technical matters!

21 years of never grumbling about anything!

21 years of not being like your mother(appearance or personality! ;))

21 years of inheriting a lot of traits from your grandfathers!

21 years of helping your sister!

21 years of resembling your father !

21 years of being the best son!

21 years of being the best brother!

21 years of being YOU!! 🙂

Happy birthday Bala! May you always have the best in life! 🙂 🙂

Best,

Mommy, Daddy and Maha!

Family, India, Musings

Miss Cool! :)

You know about Captain Cool, but have you heard about Miss Cool? 🙂 Well, then you have to visit my home to see her…she is my lovely daughter who got 98% in her 10th grade results which were declared on Sunday! 🙂

The pandemic enveloped the world 2 1/2 years ago when she was in 8th grade. Little did we know, the pandemic would keep us all guessing and keeping us on our toes about what would happen next.

As 2020 gave way to 2021 and then to 2022, we were still wondering the same thing:

When will school be able to open safely offline? Will the higher grades be asked to come to school first? Will the vaccines be available to the kids? Will the kids be able to take their vaccine?

Eighth grade went, ninth grade came and went and tenth grade was also here! But school was still online! Kids had to still study with a laptop and she adjusted beautifully. If I had to do so many online classes, I would have surely slept through them all! 🙂 I personally don’t know how she did it and understood the various Math and Science concepts through online learning. There were no physical interactions with her friends – it was only online chats, online parties, online games and more! But I did not see her grumble one bit…she was just the usual laughing and goofy person! 🙂

By middle of 2021 though, the two prominent Indian boards decided to conduct two semester exams instead of the traditional one board exam. Even though students did online schooling, they had to do two offline exams!

My cool miss of course made it look so effortless! 🙂 She had two bouts of serious sickness but somehow she was always smiling, playing and studying through it all.

These are her reactions for different things:

One board exam – okay – I will do it

Two board exams – okay – I will do it

Portions cut – ok – not a problem

Sit at home all day with rest of family getting stressed – ok – not a problem! 🙂

Of course, I was always behind her – telling her to study, but she had this sweet and smiling way of doing things!

She also had an in-house tutor at hand(;) – my son) who could clear her most difficult questions and queries about the various subjects. She will sit with her books, get distracted with her social media memes and platforms, get yelled at by me and go about doing her work in a totally nonchalant way(ha, ha)

My teacher:

All teens sit on Instagram with different handles and profile pictures, so that their parents cannot guess who they are! 🙂 My Miss Cool was no different and I was behind her on Instagram as well to see what she was doing! She taught me various teeny-bopper things on Insta and I just admired kids and their creativity!

She also taught me different words and their meanings and I just blinked trying to understand it! 🙂 These are some of her words:

“Amma, this person is so suss” (meaning – “This person is so suspicious”)

“Amma – Facebook is for old people”(ha,ha)

“K-pop is the genre and BTS is the band name”(me – face palming! :))

“Amma – you are always stressed” (Gosh, I was never stressed before I had kids!! ;))

“Amma – you are helicoptering me too much” (ha, ha – we mothers have to do it – don’t we? ;))

Miss Cool could also easily carry ethnic clothes without any squirming and grumbling. She was just as comfortable in shorts as in half-saree! 🙂

She is also my first cyber security student who follows my cyber security teachings diligently. She never shows her face anywhere and is prudent in her social media postings(I hope! :)) She reads most of my tech and personal posts and gives her reviews critically! 🙂 She has her own blog too and is a “trying poet”!! 🙂

The only place when Madam Cool becomes Madam hot is if food is not to her like, composition and texture!! 😉 Apart from that, all is cool!! 🙂

My dear daughter, I hope you stay cool all your life and accomplish all the things that you want to do ! Good luck for 11th grade and beyond!

Lots of love and cheer,

Amma, Daddy and Anna!

Book review, Travel, Travel, Michigan, US

Book Review: The Indian Retirees guide to road trips in the USA

Title: The Indian Retirees guide to road trips in the USA

Author: Brinda Vijay

About the book: The author has covered numerous destinations in the US and has described them vividly with pictures and words. Having lived in the US from 1996-2010, I loved reading this book and looking back on fond memories. I was almost travelling with her from East coast of the US to the West coast of US and having a good time! 🙂 I have visited most places along the East Coast of US from New York City to Mackinac Island in Michigan and this book made me go back 15 years! 🙂 These places are a delight to visit and I hope everybody gets a chance to visit them some time.

I have not visited the West Coast of US as much and it was fun to read about the destinations there. It was exciting to read about the Bonneville salt flats, rodeo, skiing and the miraculous stairway at Sante Fe, New Mexico. I hope to catch all these destinations when I visit US sometime! 🙂

I liked the fact that Brinda has provided good Indian restaurants at all the places that she has visited. It was also nice to read about why retirees should travel. “Travel broadens the horizons” is my motto and I totally agree with her reasons. I also liked the fact that there is a ‘Table of Contents’ hyperlink given at the bottom of many pages, so that the reader can easily navigate to another chapter.

A great book that is tempting me to visit the US again! 🙂

You can download Brinda’s book from this link:

https://www.theblogchatter.com/download/the-indian-retirees-guide-to-road-trips-in-the-usa-by-brinda-vijay

You can also download my book from this link:

https://www.theblogchatter.com/download/memories-of-my-father-by-jayanthi-manikandan