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I was sitting with my friends Allen and Parag 2 hours before the placement registration deadline. I was still in confusion about whether to go for higher studies or a job or something else. As is the case with everyone else, it was hard to build trust in any particular option. In my case, the option of sitting in for placements was not very tempting since I was already late for the preparations and resume making. People had started aptitude preparations and mock interviews, whereas I was yet to pay the fees for placement registration. 

I registered after talking to people, mostly seniors. Throughout my stay at IITB, talking to seniors has always been the most successful problem-solving method for me. I wanted to pursue the core sector in aerospace. But the number of companies coming in it was minimal, and so I started exploring my options. I did have a decent background in coding, and hence, I began to sharpen this particular skill. 

I did not prepare well for most of the things in the whole process, as I was still not sure if the placement is the thing that I want. I managed to make my resume somehow, but I did not have a third-year intern. At times, this would squeeze a lot of confidence out of me. My roommate was always around for help. Somewhere in October, after the midsems I started my aptitude preparations. Most of it was from Pariksha and institute PCAT. As far as aptitude is concerned, make sure you have a regular practice for it.

The companies started coming in, and every day there were 2-3 tests to be given, even more on weekends. I wasn’t getting shortlisted anywhere. It was hard to digest, but I had been told by my senior that you would need a lot of patience. I remember, my first shortlist was Axis Bank that came two days before Day 1. Also, Aerospace core looked like a very long shot from where I was at that time. I had signed 120 JAFs, and none of them was in the aerospace sector. A lucky surprise for me was OLA shortlist. So basically, I had two shortlists and the start of December.

Fast-forward, I got rejected from OLA on day two itself. Day 3 saw me getting rejected by Axis Bank and Sprinklr. A lot of companies followed for the next four days, namely Bharti Axa, HDFC Life, Kotak Securities, Wipro and much more. It had already been day 5. 60-70% of the people had already been placed. It was very depressing to see rejections after rejections; most of them in the first round itself. However, I always had my friends for help. I started making a resume doc which people usually make somewhere in November. It was late, but I was out of options. Backing out of placements seemed tempting but foolish at the same time. 

On day 6, I gave a total of 8 interviews. I got selected for interviews in Coupa Software, Halcon, Ubisoft, GoPro, Axxela Advisory Services and much more. I was more than confident of my selection for this day. It was the busiest day for me among all the six days since I was giving interviews after interviews. I remember asking for food in the Ubisoft interview when the interviewer had a sandwich. Later in the day, around 5 pm, I had my first meal. Coupa Software took four rounds to select me in the IT profile finally. It so happens that one of my projects was based on Deep Learning which they liked very much. 

I am someone who believes in short term planning. I did not have a lot of golden rules written on my whiteboard or some sort of prayer that I did before the interviews. However, I was very adamant about two things which I would suggest must be in your heart as well as your mind during placements.

Keep going for the interviews; you will get placed one day.

One of my close friends and alumnus Shubham Shah told me this during the pre-placement process. It is very depressing when you don’t get placed. The hostel, the lobbies, thousands of emotions and you yourself feel miserable why you haven’t made through. Confidence takes a hit, and it takes a lot of courage out of you. Self-doubt starts growing. I have heard my friends saying, “Agar aaj nahi nikla to kal se nahi aa raha idhar, main apping kar lunga.” My advice would be to keep going to the interviews. Take the job. It might not have the field you want or a good and glittery package, but take the job. Give up should never be an option, in the worst of the worst conditions.

Keep good people around you.

My aerospace batch, a group of 60 odd people, had come together in these days of extreme nervousness and each one of us stood for our friends. We motivated our batch mates, had their resume preparation done, brought food and water for them whenever required. This also included dragging people out of their rooms to go out there and give interviews. Lastly, I would say that you are always going to be an average of 5 people around you. Make sure you choose the right people.

I would like to thank each and everyone present alongside me during these tough days. My placements wouldn’t have been possible without Manit Rathi, Allen Bose, Parag Mundhada, Shashank Sahu, Yash Kothari, Maulik Bhatt, Paras Patil, Namita Soni, Tanya Mamgain, Mansi Singhai and many more who did not give up on me when I did. 

Sayan Patel