Embarking on the path of success: OPJEMS Achievers 2021

Embarking on the path of success: OPJEMS Achievers 2021

The O. P. Jindal Engineering & Management Scholarship (OPJEMS) is a prestigious scholarship exam meant the achievers from the Tier 1 colleges of India, was started in 2007 to commemorate Shri O.P. Jindal, the founding father of the Jindal group. The O P Jindal Engineering & Management Scholarship (OPJEMS) is a timeless tribute to this visionary leader. These scholarships aim to promote academic and leadership excellence and are awarded to meritorious students who emulate the vision and values of Shri O. P. Jindal and have the potential to become leaders in entrepreneurial excellence and innovation. Every year, 100 students from 40-43 premier engineering and management institutions are awarded. In the last 14 years, more than 1,400 students have been awarded this coveted scholarship. The program would identify around 100 deserving students from 40-43 premier institutes across the country and award scholarships to the value of:

  • Management - INR 1,50,000 per Student
  • Engineering - INR 80,000 per Student

Nevertheless, students of NIT Rourkela never leave a chance to open the door for the opportunity knocking at the door. With such criteria and multiple rounds to go through, Three students from NIT Rourkela have made it through it and bagged in the scholarship. Hop on to get an insight into their preparation strategy, challenges, and many more about the achievers. 

AYUSHMAN RAGHUVANSHI (Department of Electrical Engineering)

Monday Morning(MM): How did you come to know about OPJEMs, and what motivated you to participate in the prestigious program?

Ayushman Raghuvanshi(AR): Initially, the NITR Telegram group was very active, and the then Dean posted a pdf related to OPJEMS. I went through the pdf, but nothing much happened back then. So I assumed that the scholarship procedure might have ended. But a few months back, I was added to a group, and then I got to know the process had just started. The OPJEMS officials had created the group and added all the eligible candidates. They gave us an insight into the procedure and told us to register for the same. So, I thought it would be a great opportunity for me for developing my carrier.

MM: Tell us about the registration procedure and the eligibility criteria for OPJEMs?

AR: I think they might have contacted higher authorities and taken the students names from them. Then they added us to the WhatsApp group as mentioned above, and informed us about the process. They informed us to apply at the OPJEMS site for registration, where we filled in our basic details. After that, we had to download the app, where we had to complete the further formalities. The criteria based on which they had shortlisted students were top 3 meritious students from core institutes.

MM: Shed some light on your Preparation strategy, and what challenges did you face through the preparation?

AR: The OPJEMs exams were not academically based, and the whole process didn't demand any academic knowledge from our branches. So I didn't prepare anything specific for those quizzes. My main preparations began with the business proposal, where I had to research a lot and go through Government stats to develop a good idea. Initially, I don't think it requires any specific preparation, but you have to dedicate some time to complete those rounds in later phases. 

MM: Was the online semester a challenge for you? Had it been offline, you could have gone to senior for consulting about it? 

AR: No, it wasn't challenging. The preparation didn't take too long, but the longest and most challenging part of the preparation was to come up with an idea for which problem I wanted to tackle down, and after that, the whole business proposal process didn't take too long. Talking about the online semester, it did help me as I could watch recorded lectures and schedule my other activities accordingly. Had it been an offline semester, I would have gone to a senior and asked about his experience with this.

MM: Walk us through phase 1 of your selection process. What was the proposal, and how did it go?

AR: The Phase 1 consisted of two types of quizzes, more specifically, the psychometric and the awareness quiz. There was no correct or wrong answer; the officials gave us situational questions like what you do in a business setting; if this happens or if you are part of the team, what would you do. Following that, there was an awareness quiz about the OP Jindal Group. The questions revolved around questions like the vision, goals, directors, plans.

After completing the quizzes, the officials declared the names of the candidates who have qualified for the next round, which was the business proposal. You can provide a few things for the business proposal: either presentation, video clip, or a general report. Because it was held online, the officials told us to submit a general report on the app only. 

MM: How did the Online test for phase 2 go? Can you give us some insights into your experience with the questions and the evaluation procedure?

AR: I don't think the officials made it clear to anyone about the evaluation of the second phase. We just had to submit the business proposal, and they didn't communicate with us or anything, and after some time, they came up with a list of shortlisted people for the final interview. There was no such communication or questionnaire round for the business round; all this happened after the selection of the PI round. 

MM: Share with us your experience in the final set of interviews in phase 3 of the Scholarship test. 

AR: The interview round was the most crucial in the process. Initially, there were three panellists ~ one was HR and some business managers. First, they asked basic behavioural questions like why you chose to become an engineer and the five things you would take when you go to Paris. Initially, I think this round was conducted by HR herself, and then after that, they came up with questions about the business proposal, like what are the flaws and how could be the improvement, and they asked me how I could implement it. Besides these, the other panellists were also analysing my answers and came up with their questions.  

MM: Any experiences that stood out for you during the OPJEMS journey that you would like to share?

AR: The experience of coming up with the business proposal was a great learning curve for me. We are from an engineering background and are not used to coming up with business ideas or solving some business problems in daily life. We are more inclined towards building scientific stuff, so this experience of coming up with ideas based on social issues persisting in our society was something different. 

MM: What was your reaction after seeing the results, and What are your future plans?

AR: I didn't know that the results were to be announced on the first of November. I had checked on that day only before they announced it on the group or before any notification they sent. I just checked it and thought it was the list of shortlisted people for the interview round, but then I realised these were the final results. I told my parents about it, and there were also very happy about it. Momentarily it was very exciting to know that I performed very well. 

As per my future plans, I would probably go into research after seeing all these social problems. Either I'll go into research or do some social work to develop, uplift, or improve these sectors of our society. 

MM: Any message for the aspirants?

The message I would give is for the PI round; you should be confident enough so that you don't become nervous while you are answering the questions; even the panellist who were interviewing me said that you have some flaws in your business proposal, but I was confident throughout the process. In the end, the interviewer said, even though the proposal had flaws in it,  he liked my confidence and the way I had presented yourself. So I think this line, being able to present myself confidently in front of the panellist, was the greatest takeaway from the journey. And my final message for the aspirants is to BE CONFIDENT while you are giving your PI. 

K ADITYA (Department of Civil Engineering)

MM: How did you come to know about OPJEMs, and what motivated you to participate in the prestigious program?

K Aditya(KA): I came to know about OP Jindal Engineering and Management Scholarship when I was in my second year. I saw that some of my seniors had received this prestigious scholarship. So at that time, it was my first impression of this scholarship. Then, in August this year, I received an email in my webmail stating that I had been nominated by our institute (NIT Rourkela) for the OPJEMS. Students cannot directly apply for this scholarship, but there are certain participating institutions in this scholarship, ie. around 20 IITs, 25 NITs and BITS Pilani. This scholarship is only eligible for Mechanical, Civil, Electrical and Metallurgical and Material Science Engineering branch students. Our institute nominates three students of each year of each department from the second year, third year and fourth year. So, a total of 9 students from each department would participate in this scholarship. 

MM: Tell us about the registration procedure for OPJEMs? Was The registration procedure was it done by the institution? 

KA: Once I received the email from the institute that I had been nominated for the scholarship, I received another notification from the OPJEMS group that I had been nominated for the prestigious scholarship. The officials added me to a WhatsApp group, where they guided us through the entire process. First of all, they provided a link to us of their OPJEMS app, which we had to install and then filled up a registration form in that app. There were certain personal details to fill in that form. That's the registration process. 

MM: What was your preparation strategy for all the phrases, and what challenges did you face during that preparation phase?

KA: In my opinion, the process for which we had to prepare the most was the business proposal round and the personal interview round. We had to prepare for these two rounds because the business proposal round is a very critical round in the selection for OPJEMS. The majority of the students get eliminated in that round. We had to submit a business proposal to them in that round, and we had to stick to specific criteria they had for selecting the business proposals. For preparing for that, I had to know about Jindal in great detail. I had to know what they were dealing with, what all industries they are working on, what kinds of products they are using and something about the history of Jindal as well. And then, I had to figure out that what kind of business proposal would be suitable for the Jindal group and how can it be sustainable, cost-effective and how can be implemented. Also, a lot of time and effort was given in making the cost and revenue analysis. There was no particular theme. We just had to provide a solution to a problem based on technology. And if it is based on the steel industry, then it is better. There was also one online MCQ test - OP Jindal awareness test. Questions were based entirely on Jindal. 

MM: Was it difficult for you to prepare for the whole scholarship process during the placement season? How did you manage your time?

KA: I had been preparing for my placements beforehand itself; it wasn't something that I had to prepare for during the beginning of the season; I just had to brush up and revise a few things. So placement preparation and OPJEMS preparation went on simultaneously, hand in hand. For the business proposal submission round and companies visiting our campus, the dates were very close to each other. Hence, there was a time when we had to specifically dedicate time for our OPJEMS business proposal round and create the ppt for the business proposal. We had to manage our time effectively at that point; other than that, it wasn't an issue. 

MM: Walk us through phase-1 of your selection process in a bit more detail- what was your proposal, and how did it go with the panel?

KA: In the selection process, we had to give an online test. The online test had the OP Jindal awareness test, and the other was the psychometric test. A psychometric test is an online MCQ based test where the questions are based on the psychology of a person. In that round, the officials mainly wanted to know what kind of a person you are. They are looking for corporate leaders in you and looking for students who have the leadership capability and can take up leading roles in corporate sectors. So they try to understand from the psychometric test whether you are psychologically capable enough or bold enough to make those decisions. An example of a question is- what would you do if you were the leader of a team where such things happen? And there would be options. In these cases, you have to be tough; there is a big difference between making a decision as a corporate leader and as a normal person. As a corporate leader, you have to think about what is best for the company and what is best for the team and what's best for the project, but as an individual, you would think differently; the emotional aspect comes into play and all these things. But as a corporate leader, you cant be taking emotional decisions; you need to think about your company and your project even if it means that some teammate of yours gets angry at you or something or the other happens, which may not occur if you take an emotional decision, but the corporate world does not work on emotional decisions, so this is what they were trying to see, whether you are good enough to be a corporate leader.

MM: How did the Online test for phase 2 go? Can you give us some insights into your experience with the questions and the evaluation procedure?

KA: My business proposal idea was to use stainless steel fuel tanks instead of the conventional ones~ high-density polyethene fuel tanks used in the automobile industries, especially in India. The thing is that Jindal already produces stainless steel tanks in one of their industries, but in the common notion, people and the automobile industries don't use it a lot on a large scale. Rather they are going for the conventional high-density polyethene fuel tanks. My business proposal was to marketise and commercialise and promote the product- stainless steel fuel tank. I had to give a reason and a detailed summary about why we should take up the stainless steel fuel tank instead of the conventional tank. So I made a PowerPoint presentation that had 8-9 slides. I included parts like an executive summary for my business proposal. I stated the automobile industry's problem and proposed an effective solution that can be sustainable and can be implementable or practical. 

In phase two, I would like to add that people look into the business proposal to solve some social issues, and it's better if that is technical and based on the steel industry. The officials have mentioned specific pointers about the business proposal in the website. So, if a student misses out on those pointers, it would affect the selection rate.

MM: Share with us your experience in the final set of interviews in phase 3 of the Scholarship test

KA: After I had cleared the Phase-3 (i.e. the business proposal round), then came the final personal ability round. They had selected about 180 students, and generally, 50% of them would qualify. As far as the preparations are concerned, you need to be thorough with your business proposal and be ready with the cross-questions. You have to justify how your proposal is implementable and have to explain it. My friends and seniors guided me a lot. When they ask about how we will be spending the scholarship, they expect a technical and corporate leader in you; so they want to see how you will improve and upgrade yourself with that scholarship.

Sankalpa Hota(OPJEMs scholar) and a couple of seniors helped me understand the way I should answer any question asked. The question of how one is going to spend the scholarship money is a crucial one. The officials wished to see corporate leaders, so I answered that I would like to spend the money on my project. And I also said that I am looking forward to a youtube channel that will cater to the unprivileged kids and would use a part of the scholarship, unlike the conventional answers like giving it to my parents or spending it on oneself. 

They had asked for Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn links, but I gave only my LinkedIn link. Upon being asked, I said the other platforms don't show my professional life while LinkedIn does. I think it was a trick question. And the justification I gave, I believe, had a lot of impact on my success path. I think the general answers that one gives in-company placements won't stand, I think, because of their quest for corporate leaders. One crucial thing is one should be confident and trust him/herself while answering.
I didn't know that the Jindal group was so big earlier. I learned a lot in the process. We competed amongst the country's best brains because we had students from IITs, NITs and BIT. Every scholarship you had come across earlier filtered students based on financial status, and since I am from a well to do family, I could not apply to it. I felt really bad every time. But OP Jindal is purely based on merit, so I was impressed by it.

MM: What was your reaction after seeing the results? 

KA: They had already announced the dates on which the result was likely to be out. I knew that the final results would be published on the first of November. I woke up and checked the result on the OPJEM app, but the result was not published by that time. I attended my classes.
After That, I was talking to one of my friends, who also applied for the scholarship but got eliminated in Phase 2. She told me that she just now received a goodie from OPJEM. Everyone who is nominated for the scholarship is provided with a Sky bag Backpack by OPJEM, even if they aren't selected for the scholarship.
Though I was pretty confident that I'd get through this scholarship as my interview went really well, I very dramatically told her that-" I didn't receive my goodie yet. Even if they don't give me a scholarship, but they should at least send me a goodie."
At the same time, she checked the result and told me that I had received the scholarship. I was really happy. Being from a well to do family, I couldn't apply for many scholarships. Finally, getting a scholarship is a really big thing for me. I immediately communicated the news to my parents, and they were also very happy.

MM: Any message to the readers:

For any of the juniors who are nominated for the scholarship in the coming years, do try to reach out to some of your seniors or your batchmates who have received the scholarship or who've been in the process once. Their experience will give you an idea of what you should do and what you shouldn't do.
Apart from that, take the business proposal round very seriously, make sure to visit their website and cover all the parameters that they have mentioned there. Be thorough with your case, do not produce any abrupt case where you aren't sure about the solution. It's not necessary that your case is based on the steel industry; it can be anything that solves a social and technical problem in society. Personally, I felt that they judged very critically in this round.

For OP Jindal Awareness Test, you can refer to Google and Wikipedia; and go through the websites of Jindal Group. As far as Psychometric Test is concerned, try to think of situations like what kind of decisions you'll make or what kind of attitude you'll have if you're working in a company as a leader. Try to appear on the exam with the same attitude and mindset. I found that this scholarship is easy to crack, and the process is very smooth. The OPJEM Group has been very supportive in the entire process. People competing with you are also the best brains in the country, so if you want to crack this, you've to be a little different from what the common mass goes for. You can always take guidance from your seniors.

ARCHIT NABARIA(Department of Mechanical Engineering)

MM: How did you come to know about OPJEMs, and what motivated you to participate in the prestigious program?

Archit Nabaria(AN): I had no clue about this program initially. The institute selected Top 3 students of each core branch, and  OPJEMS officials added them to their group,  where all the messages regarding the program were shared. It's the institute that recommends the candidates, unlike some other competition which is open for all.

MM: Tell us about the registration procedure and the eligibility criteria for OPJEMs?

AN: The first eligibility criteria was that you should be from a core branch, i.e.Civil, Electrical, Mechanical, and Metallurgy. Secondly, you should be in the top 3 students from the respective branch. The institute will recommend you, and the OPJEMS Team will add you to their group, and from there, the registration process will go on where they ask you for general details. This scholarship is applicable for 2nd,3rd, and 4th-year students. The CGPA of your previous academic year is considered for qualification.

MM: Shed some light on your Preparation strategy, and what challenges did you face through the preparation?

AN: Personally, for preparation, I felt that only the business proposal round requires much preparation. The officials will give you 20 days, and you have to present an idea of the basic socio-economic problems of India. You don't have to prepare a complete Business Proposal; instead, you just have to pitch an idea.

As Jindal Group conducts OPJEMS, you'll get bonus points if your idea is related to the steel industry. In my case, I've done a research project and an internship in that sector, so I took my inspiration from that for this round. I had done an internship at TATA Steel, which was based on predictive maintenance; I modified my project using concepts of Data Science and presented the idea in this round.

After that, there's a psychometric test, which is to judge your personality. There's no such preparation strategy for this test; you have to think wisely and answer. If you answer any question incorrectly, then you'll be disqualified. Afterwards, there's an awareness test about Jindal Group.

MM: How did you manage your OPJEMs and placement season preparation at the same time?

AN: I already have a Pre Placement Offer from a reputed core company. Hence I didn't have to go through the rigorous Placement Rounds of any other company. That was a big bonus for me to focus entirely on the OPJEMS Scholarship.

MM: Walk us through phase 1 of your selection process. What was the proposal, and how did it go?

AN: First of all, you should preferably link your ideas with the steel industry. By Steel industry, I mean all the machines, their working, maintenance and sustainability; if you pitch an idea about it, it will be a plus point! Since I had done an internship at TATA Steel, I had previous knowledge about the steel industry. So, my project was based on Predictive maintenance of equipment. I combined the topic with various topics of Deep learning.

MM: How did the Online test for phase 2 go? Can you give us some insights into your experience with the questions and the evaluation procedure?

AN: The Toughest phase was the business proposal which was followed by the psychometric test. You don't need to prepare anything; there is no correct answer for such questions. Questions will be like on rating what qualifies you the most? There will be five options: Starting with the optimistic one, then the second one will be pessimistic. Then they will give 3-4 situations according to that, so, basically what you have to do in that process.

You have to answer to the point. You don't have to be fair and reasonable, like most of us will choose optimistically. Still, if you are not optimistic, you should never select that because the following questions will be based on an optimistic personality, and you will not be able to answer those questions. So in the psychometric test, basically, the base point is you should stick to your personality by skillfully judging yourself.

This was followed by an easy QnA section where general questions related to Jindal, founder, foundation year, steel process, and all are asked. The officials judge you significantly on the business proposal phase only; if you don't have a good response in that and you did great on the other two, then also you won't be able to qualify.

MM: Share with us your experience in the final set of interviews in phase 3 of the Scholarship test.

AN: The last process was the PI with a panel of judges where they evaluated, cross-questioned, and asked questions about the project's shortcomings. Along with that, HR  asked situational questions such as what will you do with the money and if you become PM what will you do, and on education policy etc.

MM: What was your reaction after seeing the results, and What are your future plans?

AN: I was very happy and elated at the result. Everyone else who had supported me too was elated by the news. Talking of future plans, as said earlier I have bagged a prestigious PPO at a reputed core company and will be pursuing a career in it.

MM: Any message for the aspirants?

First of all, don't bluff in psychometric test, the test is fabricated in such a way that you don't need to bluff. Morever, there are no points in the psychometric test, and Secondly, when you are making a business proposal, just make sure that it is implementable like you should not be too featureous and you should not also be too ordinary. Also, there will be an advantage if you go for machine proposals like if you play an automation or machine learning, then the judges will also be biased for a few. With these, you will crack the business proposal round easily. The interview is completely based on you and your proposal; the panellist will list out the questions they will ask, like four questions, and then you will have to answer the question one by one and also don't forget what question they asked. Lastly, just stay focused and for the business proposal round, just start early and focus on the steel industry and machine learning; That's only the advice I would like to add.

Team MM wishes all the achievers the best of luck in their future endeavours!

Designs by – Piyush Sahoo

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