Placement Story: KPMG — Risk Consulting
Arpan’s Campus Placement Experience at Manipal
We indulge in a conversation with Arpan Haldar, a Civil Engineering student from the Batch of 2019. Having walked into college with the hope of becoming a programmer, read to find out how his journey in the field of consultancy and management unfurled.
Interviewer: Where are you working right now, and can you briefly describe what you are working on?
Arpan: I am currently placed at KPMG Advisory in Gurgaon. The Risk Consulting vertical deals with advisory services such as Internal Audit, Internal Financial Control, SOX Compliance, Project Audits, to mention a few. Having been from an engineering background, I get to do a lot of audits for construction projects while also getting a chance to do financial audits as well as financial controls for various clients.
Interviewer: What does a regular workday look like for you?
Arpan: A usual working day starts at 10 AM and involves checking emails, listing down the targets for the day, planning the work, and executing the same. The schedule is flexible and target based. On most days, I work until around 6 PM.
Interviewer: Tell us a bit about your time in Manipal.
Arpan: Manipal, with its vast student base across various disciplines, allows you to have a fantastic peer group, like in my case, which escalates the whole “MANIPAL” experience. The University, with its no barrier and open-minded line of thinking, has been responsible for the shaping of many minds in varied fields. MIT’s wide plethora of clubs and organisations tend to give every student an insight into their areas of interest and up-skill in the same. While pursuing Civil Engineering, AIESEC was an organisation that played a significant role in my college life and helped me gain insight into the arena of management.
Interviewer: What was your goal in the first year of college, and how did it evolve/change over the years?
Arpan: When I entered college, I dreamt of working as a programmer, one day. But, my nightmarish experiences with PSUC (coding subject in the first year) made me realise that coding wasn’t quite my cup of tea! I decided to stick to my branch and consequently started working for AIESEC. That is where I made my bones. I found a new perspective on what I wanted to pursue professionally. It was quite clear that it certainly wasn’t engineering; but rather, management. AIESEC helped me develop my leadership and team-building skills. I started liking this new realm of work so much that I went on to pursue a minor specialisation in Business Management, in my later semesters.
Interviewer: When did you start preparing for placements? Tell us a bit about the process and what a student should keep in mind while going through it.
Arpan: I started early — during the summer after the sixth semester. That’s a good time to start for everyone, I feel. There are generally three steps in the entire placement process: Quantitative Ability Tests, Group Discussion, and Personal Interview(s); in that order. Some core engineering and IT firms have a technical round too, of course. I think the trick is to practice a lot of questions for the Quant Test; being articulate and precise in the GD, and not panicking in the Interview! ZS case studies are very beneficial when prepping for consulting companies.
ZS case studies are very beneficial when prepping for consulting companies.
Interviewer: How was your placement experience?
Arpan: It was a good experience for me. The placement portal helped me keep track of all the companies coming and their schedule. The introductory sessions of the firms were very informative and helped one get to know about the firm and the roles on offer.
Interviewer: Tell us a bit about the KPMG placement process, the rounds, the pre-requisites etc. How was your experience? Anything memorable?
Arpan: The KPMG placement process is the same as most other placements offered. The company follows a three-stage screening process of the Online Test, a Group discussion and finally the Personal Interview.
The Online Test has standard data interpretation and quant questions. The Group Discussion round consisted of around seven or eight members in each group. The topics given were quite abstract. For example, a topic could have been — “AI is boon or bane”. It is expected that the candidate is aware of general trivia and in-depth knowledge of the topic is not a necessity. The Group Discussion is judged primarily on the following parameters, such as how good and applicable the points raised by the candidate are and how logically the point is elaborated and explained. And of course, there are brownie points for conclusion and introduction. A thing to keep in mind is that raising more points doesn’t ensure selection. Instead, talking sense and logic is most of the utmost importance.
The next step is the technical interview. The primary focus of this interview is your Program Electives (PE). It’s expected that given you chose your PE, you should be well aware of it. My PE was Business Management, and questions asked just checked whether I learnt it well or not.
Last was the Human Resource (HR) interview which contained basic HR questions. As part of the HR round, there’s the stress interview which checks how well the candidates can handle stress, whether the candidate is suitable considering there are insanely strict deadlines. I was asked to speak about real estate fraud. The topics for the stress interview are random and intend to check how you respond to certain things you are not aware of. My advice would be to not to ramble if you are not aware of the topic and instead be genuine.
There were about five hundred applicants and the package offered was five lakhs per annum, CTC. Thirty four candidates were selected.
My advice would be to not to ramble if you are not aware of the topic and instead be genuine.
Interviewer: How is KPMG unique in its work culture?
Arpan: KPMG has helped me improve myself beyond routine analyst work. The difference is, even as an analyst, we are called to the front end meetings with the client. This keeps the analysts in the loop and allows even the analyst to learn the subject better. It is especially beneficial for someone planning to pursue higher studies later. Interaction with team is friendly, people are helpful and there is no “sir” culture.
Interviewer: Do you plan on studying further?
Arpan: Yes, I want to pursue an MBA in a few years! Currently, my job is inclined towards the management side of the construction and financial industries. This is steadily helping me gain a considerable amount of exposure and work experience.
Interviewer: Wrapping up this insightful conversation, are there any tips you would like to give to the readers?
Arpan: Don’t get disheartened if you don’t get a particular result you hoped for because there is always another chance. A job is like a hole that you fit yourself into. For the perfect fit, you need to be the perfect fit; not bigger or smaller. That perfect opportunity will present itself to you, and the key is to keep trying hard until then.
A job is like a hole that you fit yourself into. For the perfect fit, you need to be the perfect fit; not bigger or smaller. That perfect opportunity will present itself to you, and the key is to keep trying hard until then.
You can connect with Arpan on LinkedIn.
Interviewer: Manan Shah (Vice President, Corporate Outreach and Finance)
Writers: C Mrinal Ganapathy, Deepan Mukherjee, Issac B Jacob (Associates)
Editor: Yash Banka (Vice President, External Relations)