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Must read: She bagged a Rs 65 lakh job offer from Facebook

Last updated on: December 9, 2011 17:21 IST

Must read: She bagged a Rs 65 lakh job offer from Facebook


Divya Nair

It's probably a dream come true for every 21-year-old -- to work in the offices of the greatest social networking website. Radhika Mittal, a final year student of computer science and engineering at IIT-Kharagpur is one such girl. Read on to find out how she managed to get this dream job.

Each year, reports about 20 somethings from IITs getting whopping salary offers from MNCs hit the first pages of national dailies.

This year was no different as companies from across the country came over to the IIT campuses to scout for new talent.

When Facebook came calling at IIT-Kharagpur, Radhika Mittal didn't dream she'd be getting the offer at the end of the day that would get the entire country talking.

Even as her contemporaries from other IITs would like to take the news with a pinch of salt, Mittal doesn't seem to care. She tells me she is the 'first and only girl in IIT-Kharagpur to have received a placement offer from Facebook'.

Image: Radhika Mittal


Must read: She bagged a Rs 65 lakh job offer from Facebook

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I don't know if they will be visiting other campuses as well, but I am glad to have been selected," Mittal said over the phone.

The 21-year-old computer science and engineering student at the Institute's Kharagpur campus says she loves coding and is 'very excited to work with the Facebook team'.

Recollecting her moment of triumph she says, "My name was displayed on the IIT notice board along with the other three students (Vignesh Avadhani, Ashish Yadav and Arun Dobriyal) and that's how I came to know about it. However, I am yet to receive the individual offer which has details of my job profile and salary break-up."

Speaking to IIT Kharagpur's training and placement cell head Prof S K Shrivastava confirmed the news that four students from the institute bagged an offer of US $ 125,000 (approximately Rs 65 lakh) per annum. "We got a letter from Facebook confirming the offer and all the four students have signed the acceptance letter."

In an interview, Radhika Mittal tells Divya Nair about herself and the offer that most of us would kill for.

Click here to read Radhika's CV.

Image: IIT Kharagpur

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Must read: She bagged a Rs 65 lakh job offer from Facebook

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How did you find out about the offer?

An email was sent to the placement committee and they have told us that it is $125,000 (per annum).

The results were displayed on the Institute's notice board. That's how I came to know that I was selected. I immediately called up my parents to share the news.

When did you appear for the interview? Could you please take us through the details of the selection process?

Facebook was the first company that had approached us for placements this season, which started some time last month. We were asked to register online by taking a coding and programming test in October.

We were told that the placement department at IIT had later emailed them our grades and academic performance report.

The selected candidates were asked to appear for an interview process that started at 6 am and lasted through the day.

Since the opening was for the position of software developer, for the first round of selection we had to appear for a written test that tested our coding and programming skills.

Further, we had to submit our CV following which the short listed candidates had to appear for interviews.

There were three rounds of interviews -- two face-to-face interviews, which were conducted on campus and one telephonic by the Facebook team in the United States.

What would you say was the most difficult part of the interview?

I won't say there was any particular part that was difficult. But there was some nervousness while taking the test. After that I was fine.

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Must read: She bagged a Rs 65 lakh job offer from Facebook

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Tell us about your experience of interacting with the Facebook team. What questions did they ask you and how did you face them?

Frankly, a lot of us were anticipating a rigorous interview since Facebook is known to be a very efficient organisation. But during the interview rounds, I realised that they were more interested to know more about how we approached a problem rather than analysing whether the programme we coded was fool proof and perfect.

It was like a healthy discussion where we had to present our approach on problem-solving techniques, how we could improve our own coding skills for the better and about identifying a weak code from a strong one.

They wanted us to think aloud and share our views, which was quite encouraging for most of us. And they really heard us out! They also asked me about my work at Microsoft Research and the project I was responsible for.

What project were you responsible for at Microsoft Research?

The Microsoft Research project was a summer internship project that was part of our academic process. I was employed at Redmond between May and July 2011.

The project was Energy Profiling and Modelling for Windows Phone Apps where the team had to develop an energy exploration tool that works with the Windows Phone emulator in Visual Studio, which helps the application developer in estimating the energy used by different components of the phone, while the app is still running. It was an interesting and innovative project and it was a great learning experience for me.

Image: Microsoft Corporation' headquarters in Issy-les-Moulineaux, near Paris.
Photographs: Charles Platiau/Reuters

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Must read: She bagged a Rs 65 lakh job offer from Facebook

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What made you choose a career in programming?

I was in class XI when the programming bug first bit me. I was browsing through the programming language and the sheer fact that by writing a few lines you could change the way things looked on the web fascinated me.

To me, it seemed like solving a puzzle.

That's when I decided to make it a serious vocation. I enrolled in a coaching class in Kolkata to prepare for JEE. I also appeared for AIEEE and was in the first 1000 and 345th in my JEE.

I chose to study at IIT-Kharagpur since it is also close to my home in Alipore.

What do you think are the most common mistakes students make while deciding a career?

Generally, career decisions are influenced at an early age, and hence some of the decisions students make at their undergraduate level may not be their own.

For me, it was a conscious choice. I spent some time in evaluating where my interests lie.

When I was in class 10, I realised that I was not interested in accounting and finance. I did not want to pursue a career in medicine either. And it was computing technology that really fascinated me.

However, most students are not able to make such choices. Today, you will find a lot of computer science students who do not have the passion for the subject and are yet pursuing it.

Your career choice should not be based on trends or subjective data. It has to be an independent and well-informed decision. Most importantly, you must love your subject and be passionate about it only then will you succeed.

Tags: JEE , AIEEE , IIT , Kolkata , Alipore

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Your CV tells me that you have won a lot of scholarships. Were you always so studious?

I always loved to study. It comes naturally to me. All through my years at Birla High School, I have been a topper. I have either stood first or second in class. I was very disciplined and obedient all my life. I don't think I have been naughty at all.

How was it like moving to IIT- Kharagpur? What were your learnings here?

IIT-Kharagpur is a great place to study. And since it was closer to home, it helped because I could go home and meet my parents every alternate weekend. Besides, I could also make new friends while staying at the IIT hostel.

Professors here are extremely friendly and co-operative. You can walk into any department at any time of the day and ask them for help and they won't refuse.

Three years have passed and each year has been a learning experience for me. We have so many assignments to finish in a year but the best part of IIT is that it's not all about academics.

For instance, in my first year, I was part of the Dramatics society, so I would act and direct plays. In my second year, I worked with the web designing team at IIT and helped them during the annual Sports festival. I was also part of the Communications team, so we would also visit professors from other institutes and invite them to hold workshops and seminars on improving soft skills for students.

These were some of the activities that exposed me to real life situations where I learnt the values of leadership, communication and social responsibility.

However, when I entered in the third year, I realised that this was the right time to focus on academics and improve my grades. Although I do find time to listen to music, my prime focus this year has been to excel in academics and improve my knowledge in technical skills.

What are your other interests besides studies?

I love listening to music, especially, the English romantic singles. I am a great fan of AR Rahman's music. I also love watching English comic sitcoms like How I Met Your Mother and Friends.

What tips would you like to share with our young readers?

You have to be very passionate about the career they choose because each career comes with its own set of challenges. Unless you are passionate, you wont be able to live up to the battle each day because the competition is so high that only the hard working and determined make the cut.

I would not be able to tell you about the other vocations, but if you wish to take up a career in computer science, you must be able to love the subject irrespective of what your influences are.

Photographs: Rediff Archives

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