Interviewer: Hello, I am Yash, an Associate at Communique and today we have with us Mr. Pranav Mehrotra who has bagged an internship at NK Securities. How are you doing today?
Pranav: Yeah I am fine
Okay so firstly the heartiest congratulations to you for getting an internship. So basically in this short interview I will ask you a few questions for our blog series. The blog will be shared with the KGP community to guide them through the selection process by your experience. So if you are ready can we start?
Yeah yeah sure
Thank you very much. Let's begin. So here goes our first question. What was the general interview process for the companies you have interviewed? Kindly mention the number of rounds and the nature of the interview process
Pranav: Alright so, I was shortlisted for around 6-7 companies. I interviewed for three companies and I got my offer after interviewing with the third company. So the three companies were NK Securities Research, QuantBox and Nutanix. They were in this particular order itself. So for NK Securities there were basically two rounds. The first round was more or less some basic puzzles and software/CP related questions. The second round was more like medium to hard level puzzles. And the interviewers were very friendly and they gave suggestions if you got stuck. I got my offer from NK Securities at the EOD. And then, for QuantBox there was only one round. After the first round I didn’t make it to the second round. And then for Nutanix there were again two rounds. And the first round was around 1.5 hours long. And it contained normal SDE questions and basic coding questions and some debugging problems as well. Basically they gave me one or two codes and asked me to debug the problem in the code and suggest changes. And then the second round for Nutanix was a HR round. And in the HR round the interviewer asked me questions related to my CV and what I had done till now, like my society and different stuff and basic HR questions. I received an offer from Nutanix in the HR round itself and didn’t sit for other interviews. Yeah, that's more or less the nature of the interview process.
Interviewer: Okay, that's nice to know. Would you like to list any other discussion in general that you think will prove important for the students?
Pranav: I would say the interview process might get a little bit hectic because the interviews are like back to back. So you just need to calm down and don't get stressed out because all the interviewers are pretty similar in each of the companies, you just need to be calm and also the interviewers are friendly as well. So just don't stress out. Just go through the whole process. And at the end of the day, you will be very happy if you get selected. And even if you did not get selected, there are always other chances and It's not a report card for you. Like, if you can't get an internship through CDC, then that in no way should dishearten you. It is just a process and there are many other opportunities as well. Try to explore different fields like research or entrepreneurship. If you are not comfortable with this process, then try to do what you want to do. Don't just go with the crowd.
Interviewer: Okay, that's amazing. Moving on to the next part. What are the things students sitting for placements next year can do from now until December to
maximize their chances of getting to a company in this sector?
Pranav: So for placement, the process is similar, but I would say try to hone your coding skills as much as possible. Let me tell you only about software because I know about that. So try to strengthen your coding skills as much as possible. Try to give different contests of different sites like Codeforces or Codechef, etc. And always try to up-solve, Like many people do give contests, but don't up-solve. What up-solving is, let's say you are solving questions and say you are able to solve questions of certain difficulty, for ex. 1200 or 1500. Then always try to increase your bar. If you can solve questions of 1500 level, don't just keep solving them. Try to solve questions of 1800 level, 1900 level and try to up-solve. And if you get stuck in a question, don't just look up the answer. First, try to give your 100%. And then if you cannot think about the answer, then the solution is always there for you. But first try to give your 100% thought about it.
Interviewer: Okay, that's amazing. Moving on to the next part. How did your preparation evolve for technical and case study rounds once you were selected?
Pranav: Okay, so for me, there were no case study rounds. There were only technical rounds. So once I got shortlisted, I got to know about the shortlist from Nutanix like one or two days ago. But for NK Securities and Quantbox, it was just the day before my interviews, So there was not a very particular company based preparation. But basically what I did on the last day, when I got to know about my shortlist, I just researched a little about the companies. Because if you're going to give an interview for a company, you should know about the company and what they do. Because they expect you to know that, at least for the placement process. So just research about the company, I searched about what is the profile that they are looking for, and what is the industry that they work in, what are the different types of other companies of that particular industry. Just a little bit of research, not much. So that is what I did just before my day of interview
Interviewer: Okay. So that's the next question for you. What will be your advice for first years on how they can start preparing themselves for this particular domain?
Pranav: Okay. So for software or for HFT, I would say, for the first years, you don't need to do anything for HFT in particular. But for software, you can start preparing from a course from the CSE department, which is Algorithms. CSEstudents, they have it in their curriculum, but non-CSE students, they can do this course, it is freely available online, the websites are open to all. So they can go to the course webpage and try to watch the lectures and read the slides. Also, I think the laboratory part is pretty good because the questions are of a good and a little difficult level for beginners. And you need to solve them in three hours. They will give you a good grasp of each and every topic individually. And when they are done with that, they can start solving a little bit of questions from different coding websites. I won't suggest starting contests right away because nowadays contests are a little bit of an ad-hoc type. So they are like a combination of five or six topics. So that would not be very great for the learning process. So try to solve previous questions, like questions from old contests, and topic-wise questions. Yeah, that would be pretty much more than enough for the first years.
Interviewer:Okay. So moving towards the last question. Anything else in general that you would want to share with the students?
Okay, Apart from all this coding stuff, there is one thing that people generally overlook is HR rounds. For me, there was only one HR round in Nutanix. But in general, there are almost all software companies have HR rounds. So don't undermine it, prepare for it as well. You should be well-prepared through your CV. Many people don't give that much attention to CV. In software although, what does your CV contains doesn't matter. But whatever it is, you should be well-prepared with that much at least. So prepare your CV well. And also, in the HR rounds, they are very friendly, but they will ask questions just to check whether you can communicate, whether you can collaborate with your team or not. So try to be as open and as free as possible because they will ask some of the questions like what will you do in this situation? What will you do in that situation? So try to answer them as well. And also prepare for some of the basic questions like questions about your CV and why should we hire you etc. So try to prepare for the basic part and for the other things that they ask, try to be as free and as open as possible
Interviewer: Thanks a lot for your Answers. With this, the interview comes to an end. It was great talking to you and knowing your experiences and insights.
Pranav: Yeah, thank you.