CQCoreCombat: Puja Arnav:-ONGC

Interviewer: How did you decide to go in the core profile considering that coding and data are usually in vogue and are most talked about?

Puja: I grew a tremendous interest in my department when I got into the second year. I learnt data and coding as well but my interest stayed in the core. There were times when seeing the opportunities in non-core subjects tempted me to pursue them but I realized what you want to do is all that matters. And you should keep that in mind.

Interviewer: What was the general interview process (number of rounds, questions asked, topics they questioned about in each round, etc.) for the companies that you aimed for?

Puja: Core companies include Schlumberger, ONGC, Cairn India, and Exxon. I will brief you about all of them.

  • Schlumberger- Didn’t come for placement in 2019. The usual process in CV shortlists and Group Discussion followed by Personal Interview. Topics asked are in-depth core knowledge mostly related to seismic and logging. Rigorous HR questions are asked as well.
  • ONGC- Their interview process usually occurs pre-placement time. This year it was on the 29th of November. CV shortlist according to branch rank and category followed by Personal Interviews was the norm. They will either ask questions on seismic or logging. Questions asked to me were related to seismic which includes depth migration, velocities, complex signal, seismic attributes, and deconvolution. Two or three easy HR questions were asked as well.
  • Cairn India- They usually arrive on day 1 but this year they came in Phase 2 of placements session. CV shortlist, Test, and GD followed by PI is the general norm. They focus mostly on previous internships and similar questions are asked. HR questions can get rigorous.
  • Exxon- They arrived on Day 4 of the placement process. The selection criteria is completely based on a test. Questions asked in the test were English this year but they can include basic core questions next year. PI questions asked are based on how you use your core knowledge in real-time. This process is more practical.

Interviewer: Many of us have heard that one should aim for going into the core sector only when your CG is high. Would you like to comment on that statement?

Puja: All of these companies keep CV as a criteria to shortlist and this very much includes CGPA. Once you get shortlisted, the final interview process will test your actual knowledge and that will depend on how you perform. So, maintain a decent CGPA which I would say to be more than 7.5 and in-depth knowledge of the subjects as well.

Interviewer: Any resources you’d like to mention which you used while preparing? Eg- any additionals you took, online courses, etc.

Puja: I personally referred to Yilmaz(Seismic Data processing) and Paul Grover(Well Logging). For seismic you definitely need an external source but for the rest of the subjects, class courses are enough. Apart from that basic knowledge of machine learning and coding will take you a long way.

Interviewer: What was your strategy for preparation? Did you change it depending on which company you were aiming for and in between rounds?

Puja: Thoroughly CV preparation is a must for every candidate. From previous internships to every small detail in your CV should be properly covered. The interview process is totally different for each of the companies as I mentioned before. Accordingly, preparation is required. Reference to previous year questionnaires and talking to seniors who went through the same process helps a lot.

Interviewer: What advice would you like to give your juniors who will be sitting for placements this year?

Puja: Always keep a second option than on-campus placement in one of these core companies. These companies don’t have any fixed timeline and some years they skip the whole placement process. Currently, considering the pandemic situation has worsened for our core companies. So, be prepared to handle the stress and learn as much as you can if you are aiming for the core.

Interviewer: What would you like to say to the general KGP public out there? Any advice for them?

Puja: Your personality and your aptitude to deal with situations matters a lot. Alongside soft skills and communication skills helps a lot. Work on these through your years in Kgp. ALSO, DO MAKE A LOT OF FRIENDS.

Banki to Kgp ka tempo high hai ;)

The Official Soft Skills Society of IIT Kharagpur.