Prof Vijay Kumars Interview tips

Prof. Vijay Kumar was kind enough to give us hints on how to prepare for placements.

How to prepare for interviews

  • Have a list of intelligent but unoffensive questions for each company.
  • Contact alumni who are working there, and find out what work is like.

What should I find out

  • How does the work improve my employability or value? Specifically in terms of the
    • Nature of work
    • The experience that I get
    • Skills acquired
  • What will the salary growth be over time?
  • What are the perks at different levels?
  • What are the promotion and growth opportunities?
  • What industries does the company focus on?
  • How many people are there, and what is the employee growth rate?
  • What do clients feel about you? (Talk to clients themselves — maybe friends in client organisations.)
  • Which is the largest office? Where are most of the projects executed? (It makes a lot of sense to get into this office. Project staffing is usually done with people in the same office.)

What should I question

  • Revenue per employee. Is the denominator total employee hours or billable hours? That makes a big difference. Usually its the former, to make it look inflated.
  • Why are you giving me international figures? What are the Indian figures for revenue per consultant? Revenue per partner? Salary per consultant? Billable hour percentage? Consultant to partner ratio? As a rule of thumb, the consultant’s salary is one-fifth of the revenue per consultant. For partners, its usually half.
  • What components of the cost-to-company will come to my pocket? Could you break down the components of the cost-to-company?
  • What component of the pay is sign-on? The larger the sign-on, the less the basic pay, and hence the less the next year’s pay.

What does an interviewer want

  • Brains: logical thinking, primarily
  • Creativity
  • Hard-work, but one can take that for granted for a person from the IIMs
  • Willing to take direction, and yet is a self-starter
  • A person who can explore new ideas on their own
  • Good interpersonal relationships
  • A person who can make casual conversation
  • Can suavely deflect objectionable questions
  • Well dressed, good posture, etc.

Should I go for consulting?

If you like solving problems, want to move quickly from one assignment to another, and like helping people, you’re good for consulting.

How are consultants evaluated?

  • Quality of assignments
  • Followup on assignment
  • Client feedback
  • Budget overruns (applicable more to PLs and managers)
  • Input into thought leadership and knowledge-base
  • Strengths and weaknesses
  • Future directions for improvement.
  1. pegasus says:

    nice points… I also once had the fortune of visiting him in person.