CQCoreCombat: Subodh Ranjan:-Honeywell(Mechanical)

Subodh Ranjan
Placed at Honeywell

Interviewed By: Secretary

How did you decide to go in the core profile considering that coding and data are usually in vogue and are most talked about?

I’ve always been interested in the field of aerospace and aeronautical engineering.During my five years at IIT Kharagpur, I have had a diverse experience. I got to know what particularly interests me in Aerospace Engineering. I enjoyed understanding the thermodynamics and aerodynamic concepts of propulsion systems and experimenting on them through my projects. I even forayed out of my comfort zone into non-core domains like Finance and Data Analytics. I took a liking to the financial subjects.While it’s true that people fancy coding and data-analytics jobs more, I strongly believe that the core profiles were and shall remain evergreen. I chose a core job because I felt it to be my calling at this moment. I guess I was more inclined towards those from the beginning as my father was in ISRO. His profession excited me enough to take up this field and I ended up choosing Aerospace Engineering here at IIT Kharagpur.

What was the general interview process (number of rounds, questions asked, topics they questioned about in each round, etc.) for the companies that you aimed for?

While I was more inclined to take core-jobs, and I had more than sufficient research experiences to hold my ground in the interview, I wasn’t confident about getting offers from core companies initially due to my mediocre CGPA. Core companies usually expect you to have a sound academic score, and while a 7.5+ GPA is acceptable, an 8+ GPA candidate with similar research experience would always have an upper hand. As a result, I took up the opportunity of applying in other profiles apart from Core. I was selected for the interview procedure of Halma PLC, JP Morgan on Day 1 and AB InBev, Fractal and Honeywell on Day 2. To be honest, the interviews of the Day-1 companies were more exhaustive. JP Morgan held 4–5 rounds each focusing on a particular field. The first round was mainly CV-grilling followed by a coding round where they asked you about searching algorithms and coding puzzles. Preparation from G4G comes in handy over here. This was followed by a round focussed on Quant, where you are asked questions from Prob&Stats and puzzles. Sadly, I couldn’t hold my ground well in this round and wasn’t shortlisted for the next one. Halma also had an exhaustive interviewing procedure. An online test(quantitative and verbal reasoning) was conducted, followed by two psychometric online evaluations. This was followed by a short buddy session with a Halma representative where the shortlisted candidates could find out more about Halma and what life is like in the program. This was followed by a group-discussion round on Day-0 and the shortlisted candidates had to go through a thorough interview session on Day-1. The interview session is unlike any other. This is not a technical round, but more an extensive psychometric round where you are asked about your strengths and weaknesses in detail. They followed an experiential questioning technique, where the answers don’t have a specific right or wrong. Questions like what a person learned from his past projects/experiences, how he handled stressful situations, and how he approached solving open-ended problems. It was an exhaustive round that lasted for around an hour to an hour and a half depending on the candidate. The interview procedure for Honeywell included an online test(technical and quantitative), and two interview rounds (Technical and HR). The technical interview began with CV grilling where they asked about the core projects I worked on and went into finer details about some of them to grasp if the candidate has in-depth knowledge about that field. I was grilled on my MTP project and my work-experience in TeamKART, along with my participation in an international competition. Post the CV grilling, I was asked basic questions on thermodynamics and propulsion. This was followed by the HR round, where they tried to find out how well I knew about the company(if I was genuinely interested in joining them) and if I’d be a good fit for the team.

Many of us have heard that one should aim for going into the core sector only when your CG is high. Would you like to comment on that statement?

There is no denying the fact that CGPA matters a lot, specifically for core profiles. If there are two candidates with equally sound technical experience in their CV but one has a higher CGPA, he might still be preferred even if he doesn’t have PoRs or extra-curricular activities to show in his CV. But keep it above 8, and you’re sure to get shortlisted for most of the companies provided that you prepared for the preliminary tests and have done well enough in those. With that being said, campus placements are anything but predictable.

Any resources you’d like to mention which you used while preparing? Eg- any additionals you took, online courses, etc.

For the people more inclined towards core jobs, make sure that you are well-versed in your technical field, and I cannot stress enough how important this is. You should obviously know your projects inside out, and be comfortable in explaining them in detail. Most of my electives in my final and pre-final years were mainly in the turbomachinery field and that helped me a bit at Honeywell. Some programming knowledge wouldn’t do you any harm.

What was your strategy for preparation? Did you change it depending on which company you were aiming for and in between rounds?

Since I was studying for both core as well as the non-core profiles, I had to modify depending on the tests and the companies for which I was shortlisted. I initially studied for the core subjects making sure that I cover all the bases for interviews at core companies like Honeywell and Airbus. Post that I studied for quantitative and focused on my coding skills. During the last week, I focussed more on the quantitative and coding questions since I was shortlisted in non-core companies and in Honeywell for the first two days. Since I had already prepared my core subjects, I was confident about the technical sessions in the core companies.

What advice would you like to give your juniors who will be sitting for placements this year?

Given the corona pandemic and everything, my only advice to the junior junta is to stay strong and stay positive. Be ready to face rejections and surprises. Placements are anything but predictable, and with the looming threat of deep recession, it’s even more so. There is no telling how the placement session would turn out, but there are a few things you can do: ensure that you duly utilize this time strengthening your skills and learning new ones; efficiently utilize the resources that IIT is offering you; prep well for the preliminary placements test. You’ll have to brush up your coding and quantitative skills for both the interviews and tests, so start early with that. Make sure that you have good networking with the KGP Alumnus so that in the worst-case if the placements don’t go so well this year, you’ll have external support from them.

What would you like to say to the general KGP public out there? Any advice for them?

KGP provides a pretty good platform for you to excel in your career. Make sure to utilize it well. Explore as much as you can in the initial couple of years of the college. The institute offers opportunities in all the fields, so try them all out. If you want a research exposure, apply for FTs; if you need corporate exposure, apply for internships in start-ups. Once you have explored enough and have a basic idea about the profiles/fields you are interested in, contact your seniors and try to understand the scope of those fields and if you are the fit for it. Make sure that by the time you reach the final year, you have enough experience and knowledge to hold your ground in the placement sessions.

How did you decide to go in the core profile considering that coding and data are usually in vogue and are most talked about?

I’ve always been interested in the field of aerospace and aeronautical engineering. I guess I was more inclined towards those from the beginning as my father was in ISRO. His profession excited me enough to take up this field and I ended up choosing Aerospace Engineering here at IIT Kharagpur. During my five years at IIT Kharagpur, I have had a diverse experience. I got to know what particularly interests me in Aerospace Engineering. I enjoyed understanding the thermodynamics and aerodynamic concepts of propulsion systems and experimenting on them through my projects. I even forayed out of my comfort zone into non-core domains like Finance and Data Analytics. I took a liking to the financial subjects. While it’s true that people fancy coding and data-analytics jobs more, I strongly believe that the core profiles were and shall remain evergreen. I chose a core job because I felt it to be my calling at this moment.

What was the general interview process (number of rounds, questions asked, topics they questioned about in each round, etc.) for the companies that you aimed for?

While I was more inclined to take core-jobs, and I had more than sufficient research experiences to hold my ground in the interview, I wasn’t confident about getting offers from core companies initially due to my mediocre CGPA. Core companies usually expect you to have a sound academic score, and while a 7.5+ GPA is acceptable, an 8+ GPA candidate with similar research experience would always have an upper hand. As a result, I took up the opportunity of applying in other profiles apart from Core. I was selected for the interview procedure of Halma PLC, JP Morgan on Day 1 and AB InBev, Fractal and Honeywell on Day 2. To be honest, the interviews of the Day-1 companies were more exhaustive. JP Morgan held 4–5 rounds each focusing on a particular field. The first round was mainly CV-grilling followed by a coding round where they asked you about searching algorithms and coding puzzles. Preparation from G4G comes in handy over here. This was followed by a round focussed on Quant, where you are asked questions from Prob&Stats and puzzles. Sadly, I couldn’t hold my ground well in this round and wasn’t shortlisted for the next one. Halma also had an exhaustive interviewing procedure. An online test(quantitative and verbal reasoning) was conducted, followed by two psychometric online evaluations. This was followed by a short buddy session with a Halma representative where the shortlisted candidates could find out more about Halma and what life is like in the program. This was followed by a group-discussion round on Day-0 and the shortlisted candidates had to go through a thorough interview session on Day-1. The interview session is unlike any other. This is not a technical round, but more an extensive psychometric round where you are asked about your strengths and weaknesses in detail. They followed an experiential questioning technique, where the answers don’t have a specific right or wrong. Questions like what a person learned from his past projects/experiences, how he handled stressful situations, and how he approached solving open-ended problems. It was an exhaustive round that lasted for around an hour to an hour and a half depending on the candidate. The interview procedure for Honeywell included an online test(technical and quantitative), and two interview rounds (Technical and HR). The technical interview began with CV grilling where they asked about the core projects I worked on and went into finer details about some of them to grasp if the candidate has in-depth knowledge about that field. I was grilled on my MTP project and my work-experience in TeamKART, along with my participation in an international competition. Post the CV grilling, I was asked basic questions on thermodynamics and propulsion. This was followed by the HR round, where they tried to find out how well I knew about the company(if I was genuinely interested in joining them) and if I’d be a good fit for the team.

Many of us have heard that one should aim for going into the core sector only when your CG is high. Would you like to comment on that statement?

There is no denying the fact that CGPA matters a lot, specifically for core profiles. If there are two candidates with equally sound technical experience in their CV but one has a higher CGPA, he might still be preferred even if he doesn’t have PoRs or extra-curricular activities to show in his CV. But keep it above 8, and you’re sure to get shortlisted for most of the companies provided that you prepared for the preliminary tests and have done well enough in those. With that being said, campus placements are anything but predictable.

Any resources you’d like to mention which you used while preparing? Eg- any additionals you took, online courses, etc.

For the people more inclined towards core jobs, make sure that you are well-versed in your technical field, and I cannot stress enough how important this is. You should obviously know your projects inside out, and be comfortable in explaining them in detail. Most of my electives in my final and pre-final years were mainly in the turbomachinery field and that helped me a bit at Honeywell. Some programming knowledge wouldn’t do you any harm.

What was your strategy for preparation? Did you change it depending on which company you were aiming for and in between rounds?

Since I was studying for both core as well as the non-core profiles, I had to modify depending on the tests and the companies for which I was shortlisted. I initially studied for the core subjects making sure that I cover all the bases for interviews at core companies like Honeywell and Airbus. Post that I studied for quantitative and focused on my coding skills. During the last week, I focussed more on the quantitative and coding questions since I was shortlisted in non-core companies and in Honeywell for the first two days. Since I had already prepared my core subjects, I was confident about the technical sessions in the core companies.

What advice would you like to give your juniors who will be sitting for placements this year?

Given the corona pandemic and everything, my only advice to the junior junta is to stay strong and stay positive. Be ready to face rejections and surprises. Placements are anything but predictable, and with the looming threat of deep recession, it’s even more so. There is no telling how the placement session would turn out, but there are a few things you can do: ensure that you duly utilize this time strengthening your skills and learning new ones; efficiently utilize the resources that IIT is offering you; prep well for the preliminary placements test. You’ll have to brush up your coding and quantitative skills for both the interviews and tests, so start early with that. Make sure that you have good networking with the KGP Alumnus so that in the worst-case if the placements don’t go so well this year, you’ll have external support from them.

What would you like to say to the general KGP public out there? Any advice for them?

KGP provides a pretty good platform for you to excel in your career. Make sure to utilize it well. Explore as much as you can in the initial couple of years of the college. The institute offers opportunities in all the fields, so try them all out. If you want a research exposure, apply for FTs; if you need corporate exposure, apply for internships in start-ups. Once you have explored enough and have a basic idea about the profiles/fields you are interested in, contact your seniors and try to understand the scope of those fields and if you are the fit for it. Make sure that by the time you reach the final year, you have enough experience and knowledge to hold your ground in the placement sessions.

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