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MBA placements: Clinch your dream job

Merril Diniz | October 18, 2005

You've had two years of rigorous exposure to the MBA grind -- assignments, projects, festivals, training, the whole gamut.

image But the real test for every MBA student presents itself at the end of your course -- during the placements. How can you maximise your performance and get the job/ salary of your dreams?

We kickstart a new series where ex-MBA graduates shares their experiences, tips and advice to help you gear up for campus placements.

Pranav Chawla from IIM-Bangalore (batch 2005) was absorbed by investment bank Lehman Brothers. He is a Senior Analyst and earns $ 1,20,000 per annum (approximately Rs 5,416,750). He is posted in Tokyo.

  • Part II: What recruiters look for 

    Pranav did his schooling from Delhi Public School, Mathura Road, followed by an engineering degree in Computer Science from IIT-Kharagpur, where he was amongst the top five students in his department.

At IIM, he was on the Director's Merit List, which consists of the top five percent students of the institute.

He shares his mantras for placement success with Merril Diniz.

Tell us about the placement process.

My recruitment was based on my summer internship with Lehman Brothers. The real test was being selected for, and performing well, during my summer internship. There was a shortlist of 20 people followed by interviews. The shortlist for the summer internship was based on my background before coming to IIM.

For the placement, there were two rounds of technical interviews, followed by an interview with the HR department. The final placement offer with the firm was based on my evaluation during the internship process.

During the internship process, there were two rounds of evaluation, the first was a mid term review and the other was the final evaluation. Each evaluation involved making a presentation of my work and taking feedback from the people with whom I had worked.

Apart from the above, there was an exit interview with the recruitment head of Lehman Asia.

Tell us about your recruiters.

Lehman Brothers has been rated the number one investment bank in fixed income securities for quite some time now.

None of the interviews conducted by the firm were stressful. They were trying to make the candidates feel at ease and bring out the best in them.

The final offers were made based on the capabilities of the candidates and their ability to learn and adapt.

Prior knowledge of the work they were doing was given importance.

What, according to you, were the factors that worked in your favour?

My IIT background and my comfort with mathematics helped me a lot during my summer internship. The summer internship experience helped me build a good reputation for myself in the firm.

Besides, the evaluation and feedback we got during the internship was a continuous process.

We were not only evaluated on technical competence but also on qualities like leadership skills, teamwork and our ability to take on tough challenges.

Describe your job profile. What are the skills you would require to do well in such a role?

I would be working on the Derivatives Trading Desk (derivatives is a financial instrument used for stock market trading), which is a much-coveted department in investment banks today.

The trading desk comes with handsome bonuses, but these are matched by an equally stressful work life.

The skills needed to succeed in this line of work are a good mathematical capability coupled with a calm head.

How did you prepare for the campus placement?

I talked to seniors and also researched the Net to get more details on the company.

Was money a deciding factor?

My salary was not negotiated and, no, money was not the deciding factor. In fact, it should not be the deciding factor if you are looking at the long term. I was basically looking at the skills I could develop by working for the firm.

I aspire to be an entrepreneur in the long run. The market for derivatives trading in India is going to grow in leaps and bounds and the skill sets I acquire through my stint at Lehman Brothers will put me in a favourable position to do a related business in the future.

What are your tips for MBA students gearing up for campus placements?

~ Be yourself.

~ Be calm; stop feeling so tense.

~ People at campuses are driven more by what is perceived as a good job at the campus. But what should be considered is the fit between the person's strengths and the company.

The choice is a tough one and a person needs to consider his long term goals and company which will help him develop the right skills to get there.

If your match with the firm is right, you will definitely get through.

Part II: What recruiters look for


Illustration: Uttam Ghosh

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