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 was preparing for Data science, and apart from that, in my 2nd year and 3rd year, I did two projects under certain professors; that was the only time I was engaged in the core. After that, at the end of 3rd year and in the whole 4th year, I did two internships and prepared for Data science itself. I was preparing for both core as well as non-core. But I didn’t give much time to the core; I gave more time to coding and Data sciences. And to be frank, I was not wholly dedicated to the core. I dedicated more time to data science. I was trying to find a job in Data Science. Hence, if I had not been selected for Airbus, I would have been trying for Fractal Analytics.
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?
There was one test, and after that, there were two rounds of interviews. The test had some questions of Aptitude, general mathematics, Aerospace itself, a few from marketing and other areas. I think that test was prepared so that anyone can answer a certain number of questions. I believe that the test was not designed to focus on any particular topic. It was like a general aptitude test though I was disappointed to see an irrelevant question for an Aerospace Engineer. But it was clear that it was not designed in such a way to give more priority to some topics. Also, I was applying for other related companies. And my previous internships one was in Computer vision, the other was in Data collection and Data characterization.
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?
Okay, so this particular question’s weight seems too heavy for people with low CG and tend to fear it. I had the same fear. That’s why I was trying for Data Science. But from my experience, I can say that it was not a major point. If you can explain in the right way that why your CG is low, then the interviewers can understand that you are interested in the core but are also parallelly doing stuff other than core. Rather than just thinking about low CG, you have to defend yourself for it. Because we can also understand that if we are going for core means you are reading a subject, your marks are low, then either your aptitude is low, or there is some problem, which means you are not dedicated. So you have to explain that you are doing projects or internships or that you are more into practical stuff than in theory. The CG cut-off for this year was 6. This means the CG cut-off was six but I was not shortlisted in many companies for which I was trying. So, a minimum of 7.5 is necessary as a benchmark.
Any resources you’d like to mention which you used while preparing? E.g.- any additional subjects you took, online courses, books, etc.
Yeah, as I have done two projects in my 2nd and 3rd year. So while I was doing the projects, I was wholly dedicated to them. I read quite a lot of research papers related to my projects. If someone puts up any question and I will quickly answer, I know every key point and all the theory related to them. My first project was designing a wing; a group of 4 students tried creating a glider wing. And my 2nd project was the implementation of Tubercles.
What was your strategy for preparation? Did you change it depending on which company you were aiming for and in between rounds?
In the core profile, I was aiming for only Airbus, so I used to follow the news, updates about Airbus. Like in my interview, I was asked about the aeroplane Beluga. In the interview, I told more about my projects during my introduction, so they started to ask questions related to them. After that, there were questions posed only about my projects. In the first round of the interview, they asked some questions related to data science as I have done internships related to it. For Data Science, they asked generic things like recall and precision. So for preparation, one should focus on the course itself and some research papers. I was pretty confident about the data science part, so the last few days I spent revising the project going through every point and the concepts related to it, I was recreating my experience of the project itself. Revising in this particular manner, I was able to answer all the questions that they asked. So these are some basic steps that everyone should take, and I took it too. I did not do any external research in the coursework. I just revised what I have already done and took a peep at what the company is currently doing. I asked one of my friends who was also placed in Airbus about the questions that the interviewer asked, but they were completely different. None of the questions matched. But the pattern in which they asked questions was the same. Like my friend has done some work in control, so they asked questions related to control. And I had done my projects in Aerodynamics, so they asked questions from the Aerodynamics, in my interview.
What are the opportunities in the core sector?
Actually, I don’t think there are many options in the core sector, at least in Aerospace. Because ISRO opens for Electrical, Mechanical, and other branches but not for Aerospace, Airbus is the only company we can try. There is also DHL, but I don’t think they are actively recruiting. So Airbus is the only option as Boeing is not coming too. Generally, there are nine profiles in Aerospace one can opt for, but there is not much opportunity. Many people are going for MS, but I was not interested in research, so I don’t know much about it. Not in India, but in foreign countries, there are vast opportunities in research for Aerospace Engineering.
What advice would you like to give your juniors who will be sitting for placements this year?
From my experience, my advice will be if you have less time and are trying for both things, then understand entirely and revise the work you have done. And be careful about the part where they ask you to introduce yourself because that is where you can direct them to ask any question you want. These are the things that I had learned from my experience of my internships interviews. Focussing too much on the things which you do not know shouldn’t be done. Just be thorough with what you know and do it perfectly. It will fetch you an excellent job.
What would you like to say to the general KGP public out there? Any advice for them?
When there is this dilemma of going for core profile or not, one must notice that getting a job in the core is tricky because there are fewer opportunities, but at the same time, it is easy as fewer people are trying, so now it is balanced. Most people think that core is complex, so very few are trying. So I would say that if you are interested, you should try because many people believe that it is challenging, and they drop the idea of taking up the core. Also, if you are confused, you can prepare for two profiles; preparing for two profiles is not very hectic, in my opinion. Because we generally have ample time to explore things in KGP. I wasted too much time still I was able to prepare for both of them. Hence, even you guys can also do it. I wish all the very best to everyone out there!