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PlaceKode with Ashish Kirti Singh placed at Goldman Sachs

Uthaan, the Journalism and Recreational Club of ABV-Indian Institute of Information Technology and Management Gwalior, is here with a new edition of PlaceKode. With us, we have Ashish Kirti Singh who has interned at Goldman Sachs and got a Pre Placement Offer from the same company. He will be sharing his working experience there, and advise on development and academics.

First of all, congratulations on getting selected at one of the foremost investment banking companies of all time, Goldman Sachs. How exciting is it to be offered an internship at Goldman Sachs and be put there? What was your initial reaction?

After knowing that I got an internship in Goldman Sachs, I was so excited, and I rushed to my family members to tell them about this good news. Getting an internship there meant a lot to me because the selection procedure for Goldman Sachs is quite tough. Moreover, getting a good result after your hard work is quite satisfying.

Can you share your experience as an intern in Goldman Sachs?

It was a summer internship that comprised eight weeks. But Goldman Sachs reduced it to 6 weeks. The first week went into orientation. I was assigned to work on the frontend part, but I also needed to work on the backend with GraphQL, which was new for me. Also, I was asked to host my project using Docker and Kubernetes. I learned all these new skills from this internship. Overall, it was a great experience either in learning or in corporate life.

Can you give us a rundown of your interview procedure and how you felt afterward ?

Goldman Sachs conducted interviews in a total of 3 rounds on the same day. It started off at 9 AM and ended at 6 PM. All the students appearing for the interview were asked to join a zoom call. Each student was then called into a separate room. The interview served as a formal introduction. Then, there were project discussions, 1–2 questions on coding, questions from CS fundamentals, and puzzles. After every round, the selected students were made to join into a common room.

How important was the Prographer internship experience in the Goldman Sachs interview process?

When I got an internship in Prographer, I realized that working with a firm is totally different from working as an individual. When you work with a firm, you get to know what is going on in industry and how things work there.

My job profile there was related to the frontend part. But the main thing which the company taught me was time management, work division, working as a team, and I think this helped me a lot in my future internships.

What projects did you work on prior to the interview, and how did you prioritize them for the resume?

Most of the projects mentioned in my resume are based on Internet of Things or IoT. My team and I did my first IoT project in a hackathon. This project was about queue management. We came up with a solution to reduce the queue in supermarkets and malls. We created a smart shopping cart. It generates the bill of all the items we put into it.

I recommend preparing a complex software-based project that creates a good impact in the interview and makes a good impression in the resume.

How was your week prior to the interview like? Did you have any checklist for last minute preparation?

There is no last minute checklist. We can take up the questions from LeetCode, which were previously asked by a particular company. Even on GitHub, people put up the question previously asked by the company, and we can use it as well. I did solve the problems from the interview section of LeetCode.

“Our hold of a concept is known when we are working in a time-bound condition”

This helped me a lot to solve the problems in the interview beforehand.

Can you please share the online resources you had followed for your interview preparation?

LeetCode and Geeks-for-Geeks were the primary resources I followed. For the system design section, I had referred to different articles from Medium.com. I think this would fill most of our requirements.

How did hackathons aid in the development of your coding talents, and can you tell us about some of the hackathons you’ve attended?

My first hackathon was the Hack-A-BIT at BIT Mesra which is the second largest hackathon for students. It was my only on-site hackathon. Personally, I enjoyed the atmosphere there. It did not help us in a direct way, but from the development point of view, these hackathons were really very helpful.

The other major hackathon was Smart India Hackathon 2020 — Hardware Edition which was organized in a virtual manner. We managed to bag the first place there in our category and the overall experience was good. And lastly, we also participated in Microsoft Imagine Cup and we managed to reach the India semifinals there.

One more thing I would like to include is Google Build for India. It was not exactly a kind of hackathon but somewhat related to startup ideas and all. We went to Google’s Gurugram office and it was fun doing a presentation there.

I can also remember a few instances when our code stopped working just before the final assessment. But we managed to solve those issues by doing some last minute changes.

You had a CGPA of 10 in the first semester, and you have consistently maintained a good CGPA throughout your 5 years. How did you manage your academics along with coding and development?

Maintaining a decent CGPA does not require any additional effort. You just need to maintain consistency, because college life is different from school life. I used to remain indulged in my studies during my first year.

But it is not about getting a 10 CGPA every time. When you come to college with a high expectation to grab a good placement, then you must maintain somewhat-decent grades. One should always try to aim for 8.0+ CGPA.

At the same time you should also prioritize the subjects which are more important for you.

How did clubs help you in personality development? How was your experience in the dramatics club?

Clubs helped me greatly in the formation of my personality. I was fortunate enough to meet several wonderful people there, and it greatly helped my ability to express myself. At the same time, it assisted me in overcoming my fear of speaking in front of a large audience.

The dramatics club of our institute encouraged me to express myself while also interacting with others.

After completion of your internship and before getting the full time job offer there, how did you utilize your time?

I still remember the last day of my internship. I had a discussion with my mentor about my work. And he asked me whether I wanted a PPO there. And I was like “Yes, of course”. Who does not want to? The way he talked to me gave me a feeling that he was happy with my work, and this made me confident that the company will give me a PPO. After my internship, I had a week off before receiving my full-time offer via email.

If you are doing an internship in Goldman Sachs, you have a high probability to get a full time offer, compared to other companies. Getting an internship there is quiet tough. But if you do, there is a high chance that the company will give you the offer.

This was my case. Generally, you need to keep yourself motivated, your morale high and do coding consistently, so that if you get a better opportunity, you don’t miss it out.

If you are made to begin your journey as a first year student, what would be the mistakes that you would avoid?

As I have already stated, in my first year, I was a student who always remains indulged in the academics. But, I would suggest my juniors to get out and explore, make some friends, play sports, interact with the seniors, and then focus on their academic work at the same time. I believe that having fun is crucial for maintaining a healthy mental state. Finally, you have to cover all of these points, so make every effort to enjoy the journey.

Our interview is coming to a close right now. Thank you for taking the time to share your knowledge and experience with us. We wish you a prosperous future because you are a source of encouragement and inspiration for many people.

Interviewed by Ayush Jha and Ponnolu Yushmanth Pali Reddy

Co-ordinated by Arushi Agarwal



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Uthaan IIITM

Uthaan IIITM

Uthaan is the Journalism and Recreational Club of Atal Bihari Vajpayee Indian Institute of Information Technology and Management (IIITM) Gwalior.