Mastering The Placement Season: Aditya Birla Group
A global conglomerate, the Aditya Birla Group is in the League of Fortune 500. Anchored by an extraordinary force of over 120,000 employees belonging to 42 nationalities, the Group is built on a strong foundation of stakeholder value creation. With over seven decades of responsible business practices, their businesses have grown into global powerhouses in a wide range of sectors – metals, pulp and fibre, chemicals, textiles, carbon black, telecom and cement. Today, over 50% of Group revenues flow from overseas operations that span 36 countries in North and South America, Africa and Asia.
Aditya Birla Group is one of the top-priority recruiters which visits NIT Rourkela for campus placements annually and many talented graduates from our Institute this Placement Season.
Team Monday Morning caught up with the recruits of the Aditya Birla Group for the academic year 2020-21 as they unravel their preparation strategies and interview experiences.
DEPARTMENT OF MECHANICAL ENGINEERING
NIHAR RANJAN SAHOO
The 1st company in which I was placed is ESSEL MINING LIMITED which is a part of Aditya Birla Group. The selection procedure started in the second week of February which was divided into two rounds. 1st round was the CV shortlisting round, out of many candidates. 1st 6 students were selected based on their CGPA. The 2nd round was the interview round in which I was asked general HR questions and on the technical part, they asked 6-7 questions from my favourite subject (IC Engine) which lasted for about 15 minutes. All the technical questions were basic and one who is thorough with the basics of mechanical engineering and giving the answers confidently could easily crack the interview round.
I began my preparation for placements about 2 months before the placement season started. Initially, I went through the basics of all the mechanical subjects apart from this I prepared 3-4 favourite subjects of mine in which I thought I could cover all their topics thoroughly. Simultaneously, I was doing my summer internship knowing each part of it. Also, I used to practice a lot of aptitude questions as well as basic mechanical MCQ questions from Indiabix, Pariksha etc. Candidates should be prepared in subjects like thermodynamics, heat transfer, RAC, SOM as a majority of questions are asked from these subjects. The questions can be like design a heat exchanger, design a shaft, types of boiler, the significance of dimensionless numbers, types of the transmission system, governor, flywheel etc. The interviewers mainly monitor the type of content and its quality, one is delivering to their questions, whether you are thorough with all the mechanical concepts or not and how well and in what depth you had done your internships and projects. To be honest, the 1st phase of placement season didn't go well for me. I couldn't clear many online tests though I was doing well in it and also I could not clear few personal interview rounds which led to a lot of disappointment and it demotivated me to a great extent because I was not getting the results according to the level of preparation I had done for the placement season. But every time I used to overcome this and try to prepare well for the next opportunity which would come on my way and I think this continuous preparation is the reason which made the 2nd phase of placement season fruitful for me. I was able to crack the interview round of 2 reputed companies.
There are several factors to be considered: as I said I was well prepared with the basics of all the mechanical subjects. I was able to answer all the questions asked to me which proved to be beneficial for me. Apart from this my internship played a key role as the majority of questions were asked from it and I was already prepared for it. Also, I was trying to give a practical answer with a real-life example to the interviewer's questions which I think had increased my selection chances. I always used to practice the type of answers to be given to the most probable interview questions. The most important factor is consistency, you will face a lot of rejections in the early stage but you should not lose hope and should prepare well for the next opportunity.
Another thing I would like to add is to decide the type of companies you wanted to take part in the placements before the placement season starts because it creates a lot of confusion during the placements whether to go for core or analytics when some analytics organizations offer an exciting package, at the end what matters the most is job satisfaction rather than the package that one is offering. So be determined and list down the companies you want to sit for in the placement season and prepare accordingly.
At last, I would say be honest to yourself and have faith in God because God's timing is better than our planning. Thanks to the Training & Placement cell of NIT Rourkela, my friends who always supported me and Monday Morning for providing me with an opportunity to share my placement experience.
There was only one round for Essel Mining Limited. Direct Interview without the Online Test. The shortlisting was based on CGPA.
The preparation was simple. Just go through all the basic concepts in core subjects, especially MOS, KOM and Thermodynamics. Prepare one favourite subject thoroughly. More than the subject, weightage goes to how you present yourself. After failing in many interviews I learned a lot about it. Confidence and speaking skills are the keys to success. Class notes and Powerpoint Presentations are more than enough. If you want to prepare in less time, follow any GATE related material where concepts are given in brief.
Essel Mining Limited, a subsidiary of Aditya Birla Group visited our Campus. The process took 2 days. There was an Online PPT session after which a list of shortlisted candidates was announced. Technical+HR interview was taken on the same day. The interview platform was MS Teams so uninterrupted Internet plays a vital role for a smooth and hassle-free experience. Make sure the environment is quiet too.
In the technical interview, I was asked everything about Turbochargers. Apart from that questions were asked about my Project and Internship. In HR, basic questions were asked like Family Background, Strengths and Career Objective.
It is easy to prepare for placement during the Online semester. I always had more than enough time to prepare for interviews and OTs. I focused more on the core and basic concepts of each subject. For the technical Interview I prepared - IC engine, Strength of Materials, Thermodynamics, Fluid Mechanics and Dynamics. Be thorough with your favourite subjects as the interviewer will not ask simple questions from those topics. I made notes of commonly asked question on these topics from the internet. For HR questions I went through commonly asked HR questions on the internet. Don't copy the answer from there directly. Try to make your answer as they are pretty skilful in detecting so. Always go through the company website and try to merge their company values or the skills they are looking for in your CV and your interview answers. Last but not least is the CGPA. Many companies do shortlist just based on the CGPA. So try to maintain a decent CGPA.
There's a saying, 'To be a champion, fight one more round'. For me, Failures are not failures but indicators of improvements that need to be taken care of. One has to try many times before tasting success. And even when you failed many times don't ever lose hope. Remember the darkest hour is just before dawn.
DEPARTMENT OF ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING
They were recruiting for a standard profile, so they kept the process very simple. There was no Online Test round .1st round were the resume shortlisting round and the 2nd round was the Interview round in which there were mainly technical questions, and some 3 to 4 HR questions.
Talking about the preparation strategy I would say keep ready a good core centred CV as they directly shortlist from the CV and then take the interview. For the interview round, they asked very basic questions from departmental courses, so you can prepare for the interview by just revising class notes. Technical questions were mainly from core subjects like power system, Transformer and Machines. They will ask you for your favourite subject and will ask basic questions about that subject. In the same interview round at the end, some simple typical HR questions will be asked which you could answer easily. I can say from my experience that the interview process is very easy you just need to be easy and confident there.
SWATANTRA KUMAR GUPTA
PLACEMENT EXPERIENCE AND PREPARATION STRATEGY
Talking about rounds, I was physically involved in only the Personal Interview before that there is shortlisting via CV.
They asked very basic questions related to our core studies. Some of them are from our first-year course like Basic Electrical Engineering. They don't ask any hard questions. And they take HR interview in the PI itself, where they ask my intension to join their company.
The only thing that I did for the company is updating my CV as per the core company so I excluded non-core activities i.e. programing language etc. Always be comfortable with all the skills you have mentioned in the CV.
DEPARTMENT OF CERAMIC ENGINEERING
There were 3 rounds Online test, group discussion, and personal interview. The online test was via AMCAT (Aspiring Minds Computer Adaptive Test). It had five modules Quantitate Ability, English Ability, Logical reasoning, AMCAT Personality Inventory (90 basic questions to be answered in 20 minutes) followed by 30 MCQ from core subjects. I tried to solve each question in the minimum time possible.
14 students selected online were divided into two groups for a case study-based group discussion to be conducted on the MS Teams platform. HR showed us a 3-page case study for about 5 minutes then 15 minutes was allotted for group discussion (anyone could start) and in the last 2 minutes to each student to conclude their points. A case about 6 contestants with varied detailed profiles was given and we were the panel members who had to decide whom to give award with financial aid. I started second interrupting the first speaker and diverted the discussion to discuss the aim of the case study and then took my stand.
All the students selected for group discussion were interviewed. Questions were asked from the CV followed by questions from core subjects like refractories, glass, cement, etc. Some situation-based questions were even asked. A panel of 4 members asked me personal questions like tell me about yourself followed by interview questions from sintering, refractories, float glass, kiln, tiles, AZS refractories.
I had read some mental maths, speed maths books in the past, came in handy. After we were informed by HR regarding the AMCAT test, I went through the AMCAT website to check the level and type of questions.
I referred to reference books of the core subjects for technical questions. Along with that, I went through YouTube videos for general HR questions. I watch news channels, debates, panel discussions, etc. which helped me to improve fluency and to some extent answer situation-based questions.
For case study-based group discussion I went through some YouTube videos of Harvard business school. They were really helpful.
Personal interview- I went through the website of Aditya Birla to check their history, past performance, different subsidiaries there had. Then I looked for Hindalco specific, plant location, different products, output capacity, furnaces they were using, refractories used in those kinds of furnaces, some of the projects they were working on. I went through everything available on their website. I knew they were going to ask me to tell about yourself. My answer to it was influenced by the vision and mission of Aditya Birla. I prepared specific subjects like Refractory, Glass, Cement, Iron, and steelmaking, and questions were asked from them mostly.
My mantra to success is analyzing the situation ahead, introspecting, working on the skills required, and then facing the situation head-on.
OT is practising against time. I was in touch with my subjects all the time. To excel in the group discussion session, I learned the basics required to analyze a case study, the right way to do it like when you start a case study-based group discussion one needs to discuss the case before jumping to conclusions. The interview is all about the presence of the mind. In situation-based questions, my answers had a multidimensional approach. I tried to discuss all possible outcomes. These things set me apart.
DEPARTMENT OF CIVIL ENGINEERING
There was no Online Test round. 1st round was the resume and CGPA shortlisting round and the 2nd round was the Interview round. The Interview panel consisted of two members – one having a technical background and another having an HR background. The questions were mostly technical questions related to my branch of Engineering. There were a few questions also about the Clubs of NIT Rourkela that I was a member of during my college days.
During the placement season I was preparing for GATE simultaneously, so a quick go through from the Civil Engineering Handbook was helpful. Materials related to GATE and the Civil Engineering Handbook was quite useful to prepare for the Interview. I mainly focussed on keeping my basics clear on the technical subjects of Civil Engineering.
DEPARTMENT OF METALLURGICAL AND MATERIALS ENGINEERING
There were 3 rounds: Online test, group discussion and personal interview.
The online test was via the AMCAT platform constituting 90 aptitude questions and 30 technical questions. The level of questions was easy to medium.
ABG usually conducts a case study based on GD and this year was no exception. Usually, they do not eliminate many candidates after the GD round. It was conducted through the MS Teams platform where the case study was displayed by the HR and some minutes were given for preparation and 5 minutes to put forth our views on the same. I noted down the cases in order of my preferences and presented them when it was my turn.
Each student was interviewed for around 20-25 minutes by a panel of 3 members. They asked me technical questions followed by HR starting with my summer internship project. Then they went deeper into physical metallurgy as my project was based on it. Subsequently, they asked some tricky questions also from mechanical metallurgy, metal extraction, characterization techniques etc. For the HR round, they first asked some situational type questions related to industries and ended with the most expected question "Why should we hire you?”
The best part of the online semester was that we got sufficient time to prepare for placements. Also, we dual degree students have got only two theories in the autumn semester, so maximum time could be devoted to placement preparation. To tell about my strategy, I was quite clear from the very beginning of not going for higher studies and crack campus placement anyhow.
For OT, I practised from Indiabix. Even during my practice, I did it within a certain time limit to improve my time management skills. For GD, I went through YouTube videos which were quite productive. For PI, I mostly depended on sources available online as I had left my books and notes at the hostel, went through NPTEL videos, Google and Quora for the informative type of questions. For the HR round, I watched many interviews, news, read articles and practised myself. I also visited the ABG website for information about the industry.
I had appeared for ABG in my pre-final year for internship and could make it to the PI round. So, I had an experience with ABG and knew where I went wrong. There I learnt from my mistake and worked on it and improved my time management skills for OT. Also, for AMCAT based tests, the psychometric testing part will fetch you more marks if you represent yourself as an extrovert, team player and interactive individual. While going through videos for GD, I noticed that for case studies, the panel does not expect a particular answer from you rather they analyze your thinking ability, approach, confidence, consistency and presence of mind. They will try to deviate you but you have to firmly stick to your opinion. For PI, I made my technical knowledge stronger, worked on my English fluency, talking style, and maintaining body language. Above all, I had faith in God, in me and the process. I gained a lot of patience and willpower from my previous rejections, rectified my mistakes and kept myself updated. I owe my success to the Almighty, my family, professors and friends.
I have prepared mostly from online sources. Physical metallurgy by Vijendra Singh and mechanical metallurgy by George E. Dieter are must for any technical interviews. Apart from this, NPTEL video lectures are very very helpful in this regard. Videos of Introduction to Material Science and Engineering by Prof. Rajesh Prasad, IIT is the best available material. He has explained in such an excellent method to have a good grip on the fundamentals of metallurgy. For Corrosion and Degradation of Materials, videos of Prof. Kallol Mondal, IIT Kanpur are best. For Metal Extraction, Characterization part any standard book or simply Google can be referred.
ABINASH AUROBINDO BEHERA
The procedure was divided into three rounds. First was the online test, which had the aptitude and technical questions from metallurgy core.
The metallurgy core included questions from physical metallurgy, mechanical metallurgy, thermodynamics and extractive metallurgy. All those who cleared the online test had to go through the group discussion round. The group discussion was a pretty interesting round where we had to rank 6 innovations individually and justify the reasons for doing the same. Those who cleared the GD round had to give the Personal Interview. The personal interview was a combination of technical and HR questions. They asked about my internship and questions were on metallurgy, and general HR questions. a psychometric test was also a part of the online test, which was a major part of their recruitment process. To prepare for that, I gave multiple psychometric tests on free websites and analysed the results.
PREPARATION STRATEGY AND SUCCESS MANTRA
I was anyway preparing for GATE. So, I had studied the subjects from the GATE material which helped. For aptitude, I practised from Arun Sharma’s Quantitative Aptitude. For GD I watched videos on YouTube.
I don’t think my preparation strategy stood out or anything. The key was to be confident and be able to communicate your ideas effectively with them.
SIVARATHRI PAVAN KUMAR
First, there was shortlisting based on resume followed by 3 rounds - Online Test, Group Discussion and Personal Interview.
In the online test, there were 5 sections English, quantitative ability, logical reasoning, psychometric test and core questions(multiple choice). The next round was group discussion which was like a case study in which we were given a problem and 5 possible solutions with detailed explanations. Out of the given solutions, we need to choose a solution that we think would be the best for the given problem and justify our selection. The final round was the personal interview. The questions were mostly on basics. The basic knowledge in different areas of metallurgy will be tested. This was followed by a few hr questions.
The entire process completed within 2 to 3 days. So there was not much time during the process to prepare for the company specifically but I had been preparing for placements and that helped me. My prior experience in GD while I appeared for the ABG internship in my 3rd year helped me to clear the GD. Practice for GD before the process to know where you need to improve and be good with your basics in core topics.
Round 1: Online Test: The online test had aptitude questions and technical questions. The level of aptitude questions was easy. The technical questions consisted of metallurgy core subjects like physical metallurgy, thermodynamics, casting and solidification, corrosion and a few from mechanical metallurgy.
Round 2: Case Study based GD: (Conducted online) An MS-word document with the educational qualifications and experience of 5 individuals was shown along with the criteria for providing membership in a global research-based organization. We were given 5 minutes to read the document (1.5 pages) and note down our points. Each student had to nominate one individual for the membership and defend why we think that person is the most eligible candidate. The group had to conclude who should be given the membership.
Round 3: Interview: The interview was conducted online with three panellists. The technical questions asked were from physical metallurgy, basics of XRD, heat treatment and Aluminium extraction. The other panellists asked HR questions regarding future goals and why ABG.
The online semesters were slightly hectic. Still, I devoted some time to revise the concepts of essential subjects taught in the previous semester. 2-3 days before the interview, I brushed up the concepts and was confident for the interview. I found the interview questions quite simple.
I believe in meticulous efforts, and so I have always been consistent in attending classes. My preparation for the interview was solely based on the class notes I had prepared during the semesters. Being clear with the basic concepts is important because they check how thorough you are using the interviews' basics. They don't go deep into the concepts.
My preparation materials were class notes.
- Physical Metallurgy: (Prof. A. Basu)
- Thermodynamics (Prof. M. Kumar)
- Phase Transformation and Heat Treatment (Prof. BC Ray)
- Corrosion (Prof. A. Mallik)
- Mechanical metallurgy (Prof. N. Yedla)
- Manufacturing Processes (Prof. K. Dutta)
VIJJAPU V R S MAURYA
The online test takes place in AMCAT with proctoring and it has around five rounds with both aptitude and core questions. It is a bit easy to crack the OT. In GD there will be a case study and something related to that should be spoken confidently as there will be less time in the case study round. GD and interview were on the same day.
My interview was a bit quick when compared to others it took around 15 minutes (both technical and HR). They will ask our favourite subject and in my case, it was iron and steel making. First, they will ask from our area of interest and then some general core topics. I could answer all the questions except one and I asked for a hint for that question and answered it. In iron and steel, making the questions is mainly about electric arc furnaces and type of slags, secondary steelmaking, etc. In the general topics, the questions are about x-ray structure determination, physical and mechanical metallurgy related etc. In HR, they will give some situations, ask for solutions, role models, CV-based questions (extracurricular activities), etc.
PREPARATION STRATEGY AND PREPARATION MATERIALS
For online test general aptitude can be prepared from Indiabix and basic core knowledge is sufficient to crack it. For GD, you should be spontaneous about the case study and try to speak something related confidently.
For the interview, it is important to answer confidently which requires some practice beforehand and for iron and steel making class notes are more than sufficient to answer everything, but for a quick recap, everything metallurgy(youtube channel) ferrous extraction 14 videos are very helpful. For aluminium extraction, it is required to watch NPTEL videos (4 lectures). I also read books like Mechanical metallurgy and manufacturing process by G.Dieter and Physical metallurgy by V.Raghavan.
Online classes for me are not helpful because my area of interest was completely different from what they are teaching in that semester. So I had to prepare differently at night times. There will be enough time for preparing even with online classes so try to use most of it.
I would like to keep things calm and simple. Before the interview, I knew the answers but was unable to answer them due to lack of experience so this time I tried to present my answers well and which made a difference. I tried to answer the questions straightforwardly and they were impressed. There is 1 person for technical and 2 people for HR. For HR questions the communication skills were better and you should know everything in your CV well.
Team Monday Morning congratulates all the recruits for their success and wishes them good luck for all the future endeavours.