- In Interview
- Last Updated on 10 September 2012
- By Abhipsa
- Hits: 2795
A fairy-tale job offer from the top notch organization of the world, a mind numbing academic career, a connoisseur of fine arts; Ishita Gupta, mistress of all trades. Monday Morning caught up with this genial and charming lady for a candid chat. Excerpts:
MM: Starting with the topic whirling in every mind till now: Microsoft! Tell us about the celebrations that followed the tidings.
IG: It was quite unexpected, and the news hit me out of the blue! I was preparing for Microsoft but was not aiming for it. I was dumbstruck, speechless. The entire selection process had been quite rigorous and I had never imagined I would clear it all. When I heard the results, all that I could manage were tears of joy! I called up my parents and brother. Everyone was overjoyed and my mother also managed a few tears of joy of her own. The congratulatory phone calls never ended, not even when I got back to hostel. Celebrations in the placement committee, celebrations in the hostel, I enjoyed every moment but could barely speak anything considering my overwhelmed “cloud nine” state of mind. I logged on to Facebook to update my status; only to find the news already coursing through the site.
MM: Did you have any placements prior to Microsoft?
IG: I got my on-campus placement in December 2009 in ARICENT. I have a 10 months experience there. As I was from ECE background, I had also tried for Idea, Airtel etc. but couldn’t make it through. ARICENT was where I discovered my penchant for coding and logics. The rigorous training that we had undergone there has helped me in my Microsoft placement today.
When I was in ARICENT, I used to prepare for GATE. I lead a busy schedule which included office hours in the morning and studies at night. I can actually admit that I have studied more during my working period than my student life in BIT! I missed getting an IIT seat in GATE by a margin of 41 marks and so ended upcoming here. I now realise it was a good thing to happen with me.
MM: Any special preparations for Microsoft?
IG: No not exactly, as I was never aiming for it. My main aim was AMDOCS. I had started practicing aptitude tests, programming, SQL, C and C++ during the summer itself but with AMDOCS in mind. I had never imagined I would clear Microsoft. I think SQL and my time in ARICENT were the things that helped me the most in my Microsoft placement.
MM: Throw some light on your life before NITR.
IG: I am basically from Kolkata so I did my schooling, both 10th and 12th, from Kolkata. I completed my B. Tech in Electronics and Communication Engineering from BIT, Mesra. I consider myself as a diligent and hard working person, not an intelligent one. I was a consistent performer in my academics during my B. Tech life. I was an active member of the Fine Arts society and the Dance Club since my first year over there. All the decoration work in the campus was handled by the Fine Arts society so I had a busy but highly enjoyable time with it. I became the president of the Society in my final year. The Annual Festival of BIT was organized by a prestigious core committee which mainly comprised of final years. These two involvements made final year my busiest in my B. Tech life. I cherish all the work; the sponsorship talks, coaxing the professors for permissions, handling juniors and multiple events, everything. I never felt like sitting in the room.
MM: What are your hobbies? How do you manage to strike a balance between academics and extra-curricular activities?
IG: I am a trained Kathak dancer. I had won the second prize for dance during NITRUTSAV. I enjoy freestyle dancing too. Whenever I am in the mood, I just put on loud music and dance away!
I love painting and sketching too. During my B.Tech life, I used to do lots of paintings and sketches in the Fine Arts society. There were times when I would be working on 6 to 7 posters all at once! In my seventh semester, there was an event called “Akkriti” in the college organized by the Fine arts society. There was a lot of hectic work in the society which resulted in my parents getting angry because of my marks going downhill. So I never informed them I was participating in “Akkriti”. Fortunately, I got my highest GPA in that semester and the event was a thumping success; it all cushioned any probable blows from their side!
When you devote 24 hours to academics and extra-curricular, you are left with no spare time for yourself. I devote my weekends to dance practice, and I am a person who actually enjoys studies. I prefer doing things which I actually enjoy like dancing and studying. Most of my time is spent in that. So I hardly ever get time to go out with friends.
MM: You have been a part of the placement committee. Describe your experience as a placement co-ordinator.
IG: I think the placement committee is the biggest thing in NITR. When I first joined it was all very new and foreign to me. I walked into PPA and I knew no one. I called one person by the name of another! Gradually I started interacting with various people like Samik and Prateek who went on to become very good friends of mine. I started working for the committee with lots of dedication because I had to get companies for the people. I have three branches under me: Computer Science, ECE and Electrical, each branch having its numerous specializations. I have two friends in CS and Electrical who help me in getting and setting the profiles of what exactly the students expect from their recruiters. All this requires a lot of research. Initially it was quite scary because I had no idea as to how to act or speak. But as time passed I began to feel like a part of the placement family with Prof. B. B. Biswal heading us.
When the placement season starts, it’s an utter confusion; students calling up at odd hours and enquiring about the silliest of details. There were times when I received more than 30 calls a day. I had also lost my patience once or twice! But it always made me happy when somebody got placed. Till now, whenever the results are going to be declared I am on tenterhooks and for every student placed I feel a bubble of happiness.
And about the number of rejections-it always feels like I am proposing a boy and he’s rejecting me! Maybe it feels worse than that! The simple statement “Sorry we are not recruiting this time” heard over and over again in a single day is enough to give a person nightmares. I have actually had nightmares! There have been days when I had to make more than 50 calls to various companies repeating the single statement “Good morning! I am speaking from Placement cell NITRKL. Can I please speak to the person who takes care of on-campus recruitments?”
MM: Anything you would like to tell your juniors?
IG: They should focus on their goals. I have seen many students in M. Tech who are still unsure as to whether they would like to go for a job or for lectureships. An analysis of this would help us bring more universities for recruiting which would increase the placement statistics. They should have a clear understanding and practice of the aptitude tests if they are aiming for a job in a company. The attitude “I am an M. Tech so I will have a job anyhow” is not proper. They have to prepare for every possible thing. All the policies are balanced with considerations for both students and companies. The students being more aware regarding what they actually want to do will not only help them but also the placement committee in catering to their needs.
We are hoping her captivating journey to success leaves enough footprints on the sands of time for countless others to follow!