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
- 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.