Summer Placements 2011 is round the corner: Tips from IIM B second year student

 | October 20,2011 01:52 pm IST

At many MBA institutes summers placement is given too much importance from the very first day of the program. It somewhat rightly deserves this importance primarily for people who are fresher and hence going to start their career or who have sufficient work experience but want to change their sector.

If you end up in a sector of your choice in summer placements, it can be a great start to your career. However if you end up in a sector that you really do not like, it will again help you test the hypothesis – is the sector really that bad for you. In either case this 2-3 month experience will give you a perspective about the kind of job and work culture to expect after graduation, which is true for even some work-ex junta due to as most of them are from IT/ITes in India and have limited exposure to industries like consulting, banking or marketing.

Pre Preparation
In order to get shortlisted in the company of your choice, you need to get your basics correct such as resume, forms, cover letter, screening tests, and networking.

Definitely one cannot make points for resume, but he/she can highlight the important points on resume to attract the attention of the recruiter. Try quantifying your achievements wherever possible. Similarly forms and covering letters are also given importance by many firms especially general management firms, e.g. TAS give sufficient importance to what you have written in form.

Networking here means attending company PPT (Pre Placement Talk), event or competition sponsored by the company, rapport building with company people/seniors during high tea after PPTs, events, resume mentoring etc. Some firms (mostly top consulting) also arrange for dinner parties to shortlisted candidates only, rapport building during these dinners is very crucial for obvious reasons.

Preparation for interview
Preparation for different sectors – Finance, Consulting, and Marketing vary from each other. However for any company/sector, you need to go through the company’s website/brochure thoroughly to understand more about the company and get your basics correct. For example, you should know that various product divisions (Tobacco, FMCG, Paper, Hotel etc) of ITC before you interview with the company. Also, reading about that particular sector/company in newspaper – recent trends and latest happenings is a must. For personal questions one must be ready to answer anything related to his resume – past work ex etc. Given below is a small guide about specific preparation required for companies from each of the major sectors visiting top MBA institutes in India.

Most of the consulting firms conduct case interviews for final selection. In case interviews they give a small case mostly one liner and ask the candidate to solve it by asking back right kind of questions from the interviewer. The core skill tested here is structuring - the ability to solve a complex problem by dividing it in parts. Case interview is a very diverse topic in itself and is beyond the coverage of this article. Readers are suggested to refer online resources like - Vault Career Guide or McKinsey’s case interview tips. Some of the useful online resources for consulting preparation are Vault ReportsJob JuiceThe McKinsey QuarterlyBCG Publications & ArticlesBooz Allen & Hamilton - Strategy & Business

Apart from this one can refer - Harvard Business Review, Sloan Management Review and consulting company’s websites.

Banking & Finance
Banking can be typically divided into sectors like PE (Private Equity), IBD (Investment Banking Division), Markets and Corporate finance. For IBD preparation one has to prepare for 2-3 sectors tracking major news and M&As in the domestic markets. The choice of sectors may include sector like Telecom, Cement, Energy and Power, Education, Healthcare, Infrastructure, Banking and Finance, Automobile etc. Reading yellow newspapers and business magazines is very helpful to be in touch with latest happenings. One quick reading of Macro Economics book like Shyamal Roy can be very helpful.

For Markets one has to read the basics of bonds and derivatives including futures, forwards, options etc. Hull’s book can be a good read for derivatives. Knowledge about different trading platforms, major markets, terminologies is must. For example if someone is interested in commodities – he/she should know LME means London Metal Exchange, what is margin trading, what are the probable reasons of recent sharp decline of silver prices etc. Basic knowledge about different desks is also necessary, like – equity/forex/rates/derivatives, sales/ research/ structuring/ trading.

For corporate finance knowledge of the terms like CAPM, WACC, beta etc. can also be very helpful. One is expected to know basics of accounting, leasing, financial ratios etc. So going back to your textbooks can be immensely helpful. Reading financial statement and making sense out of it is expected in any finance role.

Reading basics of marketing terminology like 4Ps, 5Cs and STP from standard books like Kotler is a must. Having examples for each of the most basics concepts ready for interview is the key to success. There are few standard questions like – sell this pen or water bottle, which can be prepared in advance. Knowledge about marketing research techniques, pricing strategy, sales and distribution channels, and consumer behaviour terms is added advantage.

Other sectors
For other sectors like General Management, Operations, IT and IT consulting, and new ventures like FlipKart, Red Bus, Clear trip etc. knowledge about the sector and company is helpful although not much specifics is expected.

At the end, one must take care of the basic hygiene factors, proper dressing and grooming on interview day, systematic resume folder etc. Keeping a smile on face and having a calm gesture is essential.







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Guest on 10/20/11 at 06:30 pm

Wasn't there an essay exam for entering IIMB for this author's batch? R u kiddin me?