Hello Piyush! I am Raza Khan, Secretary at Communiqué IIT Kharagpur. And I wish to interview you for the blog series, related to placements in finance profile. Can we start with your introduction?
Sure! Hii Raza, good to know about your initiative. Communiqué is doing a great job in this regard. Regarding myself, I am Piyush Agrawal, currently a 5th-year student pursuing Economics at IIT Kharagpur. I recently got a full-time offer from KPMG for an Associate Consultant position in the Financial Risk Management profile.
Piyush, can you brief me about the role which you have been assigned in the Company?
Sure, this is an excellent question because the role that KPMG came for this year was quite different from the ones that visited our campus earlier. They usually offer management consulting and analyst(Finance) roles. But this is a client-facing job in the domain of Financial Risk Management, similar to the risk profiles of Nomura and JPMC but the latter are more of an analyst role that is not front-facing. I think this is unique about the profile as it’s not restricted to analysing and modelling alone but also involves client interaction. And, I hope that sums up the role.
That’s quite a diverse profile to work on. Can you share some insights about the recruitment process and general advice which will prove helpful to the aspirants for this profile?
First of all, there was a subjective screening test, with questions focused on Quantitative Aptitude. For this, hands-on at solving Prob-Stats and Econometric Analysis questions will be helpful. Post getting shortlisted, they took three rounds of interviews. One was the HR round, where they asked general questions like Strengths Weaknesses, Why KPMG? Why you?. The other was a technical round where I was grilled on Econometric Analysis, Derivatives and understanding of the Banking system. After clearing these rounds, we had a Partner Round. It moved around judging my personality, my familiarity with Finance jargons, and how I can deal with some practical situations like handling pressure and dealing with clients. Apart from that, I have seen candidates getting rejected because they were unable to explain their CV or don’t know about the role. So, I would suggest refrain from these common mistakes for the interview and prepare accordingly.
That’s quite a robust answer. Now, how can a pre-final year student maximize their chances and what resources and suggestion you want to give to them?
I was also in the same position a year before, where I was going through the resources and suggestions to get a grasp and move forward. First of all, try and decide the profile you want to go for or have a priority order of profiles in your mind. I realised students usually try their hand in multiple fields end up having a lot on their plate, during placement preparation. But it’s essential to prioritise and take a call ASAP, which will give you a direction you want to head-on. Secondly, try to figure out and don’t forget your USP(Unique Selling Proposition). For example, I come from an Economics background, which gave me an upper hand in finance-related fields. Similarly, you may have done some internships, projects, courses or involved in extra-curricular activities, which definitely may have improved you & created the potential to get an edge in a particular domain. Apart from that, the resources are almost known to all. However, I would suggest reaching out to seniors who are currently working in your target companies and take suggestions on preparing for the interviews.
What do you think about the weightage that certifications like CFA and FRM add to this role?
No doubt, these certifications play a positive role in getting you a job as it gives a sense to the industry that you are equipped with a certain amount of knowledge. Also, the job description of companies recruiting in the finance field generally includes that having a CFA or FRM certification would be a plus. Still, I would suggest discussing with your seniors before doing any Certifications.
Can you suggest any Courses in Kharagpur or online MOOCs which can help in the preparation for this profile?
Concerned to this Profile, as the test and interview moved around Quantitative Finance. So, courses like Probability and Statistics, Regression and Time Series Model from the Mathematics department and understanding of basic finance through online MOOCs or subjects offered by VGSoM and HSS department would be helpful. If someone wants advanced knowledge of finance, they can opt for derivatives and financial risk management subjects.
You took multiple PoRs over the years, how did they help you during the Placements?
First of all, I feel lucky for being a part of various Extra-Curricular activities on campus. On the front of holding PORs, I was Secretary Hockey, became General Secretary, and then Overall Coordinator of Inter-IIT 2019. Also, I remained a part of GYWS and BClub. Overall I can say that these engagements helped me in shaping my Personality. I can recollect my Partner Round (at KPMG), where there were situational questions that I felt confident to answer due to the experience I had being at crucial PORs. It’s not that when you hold multiple PoRs, you will surely get a good opportunity at the Placements. People should not blindly take PoRs because they think they can in-cash them during placement. Instead, this is an opportunity to positively impact and simultaneously gain some important soft-skills like negotiation, problem solving and teamwork. PoRs aren’t meant to give a job, but they will provide you with an experience with your peers, which can’t be substituted.
Yeah now we are at the end of the interview, anything else you want to share with your juniors?
I would like to say that online semesters would have given you a taste of how vital peer support is. So if you are stuck somewhere, just seek help. We are part of a 7-decades old institution, and yet you believe your problems or situation are so unique that not one of those alums/ seniors/ juniors/ profs has ever faced it? Reach out to them and talk your heart out. Also, be proactive and don’t be limited to yourself. Participate in competitions, network, travel, create something new or unique and take out some time for your body & yourself. Please bear in mind that this is not the end of the world. There’s a whole wide world apart from this. So yeah, Enjoy & keep progressing! Interviewer: Yeah that’s a very nice suggestion for juniors. I’m am sure students pursuing the same will be benefited from your advice. Now we are ending the interview, thank you for your time, Piyush.