How did you decide to go in the core profile considering that coding and data are usually in vogue and are most talked about?
Very early on, since childhood, I was very keen to work in the field of Aerospace Engineering. Sometime during 2nd year, I decided to go for higher studies. So initially, I had applied for placements just as a backup. My inclination towards Aerospace made it very clear that it was just core profiles which I was interested in. During my 9th semester I dropped the idea of applying for higher studies and started looking for placement options apart from CDC as well. However, I was never really interested in the non-core profiles.
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?
In Airbus, there were just 2 interview rounds, but prior to that, we had to appear for an online test that was conducted at CIC. In that, there were 3 sections: 1) an English section (similar to GRE), 2) Logical and Reasoning (which had some simple Maths and aptitude questions) and finally 3) profile specific (which were proper technical questions). My profile was Simulation and Modelling. On the basis of our CV and our performance in this test, we were shortlisted for the interview. There were 2 rounds in the interview. The first one was a technical round. In this, the main focus was on technical topics related to my profile. So I was asked some questions on flight mechanics and controls. It was basically whatever we had learned in our depth courses. Apart from that, they asked me some simple puzzles and programming questions. This is because most engineering jobs need you to do some coding. I was asked some questions on Object-Oriented programming and some simple algorithm-based questions. On the basis of my performance in this interview, I had to appear for the next one, i.e. the HR Round. The questions were like, tell us about yourself, why do you want to join this Airbus, what do you see yourself doing in a few years, what do you know about the company, etc. I was also asked to talk a bit about one of my projects.
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?
This is actually a safe thing to do. A lot of companies have very little to judge you, so CGPA becomes one of the main criteria. It is advisable to keep your CG above 8 or 8.5, otherwise, things are a bit unsafe. Whereas in Non-core, CG does not matter as much as in core. But that was not so in my case. My CGPA was 7.81 at that time. Most of the people who were shortlisted did not have a high CGPA. So, it varies from company to company and year to year. This year, Airbus probably required somebody who had done certain kinds of projects so that they suit the profile. Moreover, having a high CGPA means that you are very good with your concepts and serious about your work, but it may also indicate an inclination towards higher studies, which could be a red flag sometimes. Thus, they may not go for candidates having a very high CGPA. It is very difficult to predict what will happen next year. So, a very safe thing to do is to keep your CGPA above 8.5. Another thing is, if you are interested in the core field, you should be good at your subjects. And if you are good at your subjects, a low CGPA may not be justified. People often neglect their academics which affects their CGPA. But you should keep a check on it.
Any resources you’d like to mention which you used while preparing? Eg- any additionals you took, online courses, etc.
I didn’t use any resources as such. I had prepared my profile for higher studies and core jobs in general. I had done a few good projects (term projects, BTP as well as extracurriculars) which suited my interest in Flight Simulation. Through these, I was able to develop the skills required for such a profile. That is how I made myself suitable. For core profiles you don’t need to prepare for placement tests as in case of the non-core profiles. You just need to know your concepts well and brush up the same.
What was your strategy for preparation? Did you change it depending on which company you were aiming for and in between rounds?
This is a question that does not apply for me very much. I was not very hopeful of being placed on campus, because there were very few core companies for Aerospace, out of which I couldn’t apply for all. I just applied for whichever profiles suited me and did not prepare for interviews beforehand. Just after I knew I got shortlisted for Airbus, I brushed up a few concepts and prepared myself for the HR Round. It was a very simple process for me. I was shortlisted on the 29th of November and my interview was on 1st December. Between the rounds, I couldn’t really do much as I barely had an hour in between. I just tried to mentally prepare myself for the HR round since the placement process can be quite nerve-racking!
What advice would you like to give your juniors who will be sitting for placements this year?
If somebody just wants to get placed, some standard things need to be done. You need to know basic programming and prepare yourself for the placement tests (there are standard resources for that). Additionally, you need to practise how to give an interview and how to communicate well in English. However, if you want to get placed in core companies, you need to prepare a good profile, have a decent CGPA and 2–3 very good projects related to the work you want to do, and you should do them sincerely. Through these projects, you will automatically get the skills you need. These will not only prepare you for core placements but also for applications if you go for higher studies. That said, you should bear in mind that you may not get what you want through campus placements because the options are very limited. A huge majority of the companies that come through CDC are for consultancy, coding, data analytics, etc. Therefore, if you only want a core job, you should also apply off-campus. For the case of Aerospace Engineering, there are written tests for DRDO and ISRO which are conducted by the Government.
Is it advisable to prepare for core and non-core jobs simultaneously?
Yes, because if somebody wants to do a job later, then, as I said, you can’t depend on Core profiles only. This means you will have to prepare for non-core as well. Moreover, it might be a good idea to prepare for non-core early on, since the skills you develop for technical non-core can also be useful for core profiles (programming and data analytics).
What would you like to say to the general KGP public out there? Any advice for them?
You should give some time to think about what you specifically want to do in your life. Often, we just try to copy what others are doing. That may not be something that suits you in the long run. If you do give some time, you will find out what you want. Don’t do everything blindly.