CQ_DataCrux | Vatsal Venkatkrishna | Zepto

Communiqué IIT KGP
4 min readMay 13, 2024

Interviewer: Hello, I’m Muskan Khemka, an associate at Communiqué and today we have with us Mr Vatsal Venkatkrishna who is an intern at Zepto. So, Hello Vatsal, how are you?

Vatsal : I am doing good. How are you?

Interviewer: I’m also fine. So, first of all, congratulations on bagging an internship at Zepto. So, basically in this short interview, I’ll ask you some questions for our blog series. The blog will be shared with the KGP community to guide them about the selection procedure through your experience. So, if you are ready, can we start?

Vatsal: Yeah, thank you very much, Muskan. Let’s begin.

Interviewer: So here goes the first question. So, what was the general interview process for the companies you interviewed? Could you please list down the questions you were asked in the different rounds?

Vatsal: The only interviews I gave were for Trexquant and Zepto, both for data science/analytics roles.

For Trexquant, there was a preliminary shortlisting round with open internet access, which I personally felt was a great way to gauge one’s understanding of business analytics. There were only two questions (paraphrased here): “What according to you are the best indicators to analyse Bank of America’s stock price. Give as detailed explanations as you can” and “How would you use ML approaches along with the aforementioned factors to predict BoA’s stock.” Unlike most shortlisting tests for data science roles, this does correlate with the actual work of the role. I was shortlisted for the interview which was fairly mainstream, dealing with my CV and 2 moderately difficult CP questions. As fate would have it though, I wasn’t selected for the role.

For Zepto, there was a shortlisting test with a few MCQ questions on basic ML practices, 1 CP question and 1 SQL question. I was able to solve everything but the SQL question and that got me shortlisted for the interview rounds: one technical and one HR. The technical round focused mainly on my CV and internships, and had fairly straightforward questions. According to me, the HR round was mostly just a “Are you a robot?” verification round, asking the stereotypical “Why do you want to join the company” and “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”

Interviewer: Thanks for briefing, what are some of the FAQs in most companies that you faced and things students must prepare for? More specifically, in the context of HR rounds?-

Vatsal: To prepare for HR rounds, I suggest visiting the company website and reading up on their mission, vision, and other corporate-y stuff they have on there. Additionally (or alternatively), just search YouTube for an interview of someone like the Founder, CEO, etc. talk up the company. This is generally enough content to generate a response which is in line with HR’s expectations. For technical rounds, try skilling up as much as you can, and once you have a baseline understanding of the field, learn through internships or projects because 1) there’s an infinite knowledge pool and not everything is important and 2) visible experience working on a project is greater than the knowledge you claim to have.

Interviewer: So, moving ahead, what are the things students sitting for placement next year can do from now until December to maximise their chances of getting through a company in this sector?

Vatsal: I cannot recommend “Hands-On Machine Learning with Scikit-Learn, Keras, and TensorFlow: Concepts, Tools, and Techniques to Build Intelligent Systems” by Aurélien Géron enough. It does a great job at explaining basic and advanced ML/DL concepts along with the ways to code it up. The 1000-or-so pages can be daunting, but as I said before, not everything is important. I’d suggest using it as a handbook rather than a textbook. If you’re completely new to ML, start like everyone does, with the Andrew NG courses and the DL specialisation on Coursera. It’s not a prerequisite but is definitely a good introduction to the field. The assignments might be a bit dated so don’t hesitate to look up solutions online if you’re stuck (I repeat. IF YOU’RE STUCK).

Interviewer: That’s great. My next question is, how did your preparation for technical rounds evolve once you were shortlisted?

Vatsal: I personally did not prepare much for CDC at all. I was more interested in getting an FT over CDC, and CP is painstakingly annoying for me so I chose to just give tests with my existing knowledge and see what sticks. However, the most common strategies are to brush up on ML basics before the interviews since related questions are common.

Interviewer: Vatsal, anything else that you would want to share with the students?

Vatsal: I’ll use this question to highlight the importance of keeping calm. Although it sounds like a consolation, CDC is honestly not an accurate measure of worth and is definitely not worth getting worked up or demoralised about. Use the opportunity of having a bunch of companies coming to KGP for the express purpose of recruiting students to the fullest, but don’t forget that it ultimately is just that. An opportunity. There’ll be plenty of other avenues to bag internships before the summer and a rejection from a company does not indicate any lack of skill on your part. Keep your friends and confidants close, and just do the best you can overall.

Interviewer: So, Vatsal, your interview is concluded. And thank you for your time. It was great talking to you.

Vatsal: Thank you, Muskan.