Sunday, November 29, 2009
Slot 0. Slot 1. Slot 2. Slot 3. Rolling. Internship. PPO. Back to XL. Interviews. Slot 0. Slot 1. Slot 2...
This summer, yet another bunch of students will strap their bags on, leave XL and board trains or flights to reach the HQs/branches of the companies where they will intern for approximately two months. A motley bunch- doctors, engineers, accountants, psychologists - most of them will be long past the initial seven days packed with confusion, uncertainty, swearing and the 'Man, it's so frikkin arbit!' feeling of when they sat for their SIP 2010 interviews. I won't have forgotten, nor will have most seniors- after all, this is our second SIP interview process. Once before, we were in the hot seat, overwhelming Small Auditorium with our suits, questions and hopes, cracking smiles when the last thing we wanted to do was to smile, staring straight ahead when we wanted to avoid an over-friendly sympathizer, politely holding back sheer disbelief when someone whom we felt didn't deserve it got a prize placement offer, peering at the brown board covered with SIP 2009 announcements- some new, some old- and asking our friends in one moment of open anxiety, "Yaar, mera ho jaayega na?", trying to hide a pang of jealousy when a close friend gained a better offer than we did, and celebrating with crazed relief, tired out but so, so happy that we were 'signed out of the process'.
This time, we're the seniors - we served, we controlled, we coordinated, we handled the logistics, we formatted CVs and one bunch of us spent sleepless nights to help place the entire batch. Also, the same people who sat in that auditorium, mostly feeling lost, anxious or confused, stepped in to provide Valuable Advice for the juniors; we offered our Excellent Tips on Company Pecking ("No, no, A is always better than B, yaar, kyunki maine suna hai ki last year X who interned there told Y ki..."); we provided our Critical and Comprehensive CV Reviewing Services ("Dude, why don't you put all your Positions of Responsibility in this format? Max shortlists this way, trust me. And remember, tere saare internship details ko aise aam aadmi language mein HI likhna, otherwise recruiters won't understand, machi!"); we bestowed upon them our Sure Shot Interview Academia Primer ("Boss", with a heavy sigh guaranteed to create mass nervousness in juniors, "sabse pehle, jaake dekh ki Theory X aur Theory Y dono mein se which is what... Yeh sab pakka poochenge, PAKKA. DEFinitely coming in UGJIK company's interview, man."); and to top off the line up of services, we added the finishing touch: Our V V Special Tips To Handle Horror GDs and Ace Intimidating Interviews ("Start and finish evvvvery GD. Make your presence felt. Smile confidently and tell the interviewer if you don't know something - he will be hazaar impressed with your straightforwardness.)
Let's face it - SIP is a bit like life. Heck, it IS life, played over on a considerably smaller stage. The defining theme is randomness, of the highest order. And yet we will continue, batch after batch, to believe in such concepts as perfectly made offer-getting CVs (snort!), the correct answer to a company's subjective questions in its form, advice from 93 people to get the better of the Great Pecking Tamasha and a common set of tips to acing GDs and PIs (don't even get me started on this one). It is ironic if nothing else that we invest some much of time and energy in what process is essentially a function of uncertainty. However, things are remarkably different on the other side of the spectrum, and I know how I will feel, come CRP - so less of the sarcasm from me and more from Ground Zero.
I helped a tiny little bit in coordinating some parts of SIP 2010, and my role being much easier than others, I got the chance to observe the play of events inside the audi. I observed, partly curious, sometimes helpless, and sometimes just proud at how my- our- juniors were, for the most part, handling SIP 2010; after all, they were battling the sharpest force of nature - uncertainty. There were those who stood up to the pressure calmly and shrugged off rejects, though they undoubtedly had their quiet moments of worry; those who broke down only to rise again; those who sat friendless, slightly removed from the clutter of people all around, and celebrated solitary and silently when they were placed; those who sailed through the process on the first day but stayed on to cheer, encourage and support their friends and batch-mates. Moments of heartwarming bonding, and moments that made me shake my head. The public nature of this post prevents me from taking names, but some of you absolutely rock, you guys, your friends won't forget how you stood by them. Hats off.
From SIP, last year and this one, I have some observations. Some you may know, others you may recognize, and even disagree with some. One, SIP is and will always be unpredictable, so the hype can be reduced. The Hype is the worst part- nothing creates pressure like the talk. Two, there will always be people who will take it in their stride and people who will break, and the unexpected often occurs. Some build respect for the calm with which they handle the entire process. It's called maturity. No amount of mock anythings will help the breakers and none are needed for the steady rocks, but the majority lies somewhere in between and wholehearted support from a senior batch helps. (Incidentally, I had a wonderful senior student coordinator last year called Meetesh Jha - he kept me from pressing my ever-ready panic button. Trust me, It Helps.) Three, there is life beyond SIP, which it is very easy to forget those seven days. Those who remember and put things in perspective make life easier for themselves.
A good number of people in this junior batch did keep things in perspective. Today, they're all placed for summers. And so next summer, they'll strap their bags on, and leave XL and board trains or flights to reach the HQs/branches of the companies where they will intern for approximately two months. A motley bunch- who started out not knowing where they'd end up, but all of whom made the cut, in the tradition of every batch before them.
Congratulations, Class of '11. Nice work. Rock your summers! :-)