Thursday, October 24, 2013

Why Getting Rejected Is Good For You ;)

You aren't the first and you definitely wont be the last one if you recently received a rejection e-mail. The reason I say this is because it has its own lessons to teach if you are willing to learn.

Editing the quote from The Dark Knight trilogy,
"Its Who I Am Underneath, Not What I Do That Defines Me."

I know. I know. All you Batman fans, including my inner voice, are totally against what I just said. But, if you think about it and read on, you might agree with me :D

Still working on my thesis with Shell, I strongly felt that I belonged here. That I deserved to be here. And that is when I decided to turn it into a official thing. I applied to the Shell Graduate Programme i.e., for the Shell Recruitment Day.

While still in east (India), I applied for the opening in Netherlands. I initially inquired with the HR in Bangalore and was told that there wont be any more recruitment days held this year here and Netherlands was hosting one soon. So why not apply there and what can go wrong my amazing brain reasoned ;)

And so I did. I applied and got invited for the online test. The first one was a psychometric test. Google came to the rescue once again. I took some sample tests and started gearing up. I got some valuable information from other graduates in the company who told me how they look for a leader / CEO material candidate.

I thought of the attitude and approach my line manager had and read articles / interviews by Peter Voser (CEO of Shell). I tried to think on similar lines and took the psychometric test. To my delight I cleared it and was invited to the most dreaded stage of the online tests. The Numerical Test!!!

This second level on online test had 2 parts namely Numerical test and Decision making test. Numerical being timed, can be quite intimidating and to be honest, I still feel intimidated by it. After thorough practice on graph type tests, I finally took it. Decision making I found to be quite easy since I continued with the same managerial attitude which I had for the first test. Numerical with its 18 questions in 15 minutes has got to be the scariest test so far. It was a whole different level than the ones I had practised and by the end of 12 minutes I had managed around 4-5 questions. Freaking out, I quickly tried to answer 4 more questions not sure of them being right.

The idea here is that you answer as accurately as you can. You dont have to answer all the questions but there is a minimum score which I believe is expected. However, saying that, this test being joint with decision making, the average of both could be the deciding factor. And that, I believe, resulted in my moving forward to the next level of the recruitment stage.

I was called in 2 weeks time inviting me to the Amsterdam office for the face to face interview. Since I was not in the country they informed me that they will contact me again to set it up. Now, during one of the team dinners, I receive a call and the music in the restaurant isn't helping at all. I am asked if it is possible to schedule it for the very next day and if I decline the next opportunity would be 2 weeks later. I decide to take the slot for the next day which I regretted greatly as soon as I cut the call.

I was helping the team set up for a "Pride in Engineering" day in the Bangalore office and not to forget I had left my laptop at work which contained all my crucial notes and preparation for the phone interview I was waiting for. The phone interview was a disaster and after ending the call with my interviewer, I felt sick at the way I went about answering the questions. The main reason being, I was barely myself. I spoke as if it was my right to work for Shell and that I deserved to bag that job.

No One Owes Any One Any Thing. Period.

I received the rejection mail in 3 weeks time as I expected and I did request for a feedback session where the interviewer from earlier called me up to give his inputs on my interview. It was quite helpful in understanding how they interpret your answers and how they understand you from your answers.

This experience humbled me. Taught me that you are as on the same level as any other person and have to fight it to get it. Dont expect but work for it. I have seen every future application as an opportunity and have taken each and every one of them seriously which I never did earlier.

In the end, I say that, keep an open mind and no matter how bad things get, there is always something to learn. It might be more about the company, what they look for or in the worst case, much more about you and what you want. Keep learning, keep changing for that is what helps you to get better as things progress.

Also, there comes a phase (hopefully not) when all you receive are rejection e-mails and with more coming in, the more you send out. In bulk. Try not to get into this habit. I will stress this more in my coming blogs and how you can apply in order to be looked at seriously.

Rejection helps - be it your own or from others (poor me).

PS: While on a roll, it wouldn't hurt proposing to a girl/guy as preferable to you. Worst case, it hurts less and you bounce back faster searching for the next "The One" ;)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Road To Graduate Program..

This post is directed towards the graduating students heading off into the big, wide world.

I am by no means an expert, but if you wish to get a head start and start your career in a big way, there are 2 main routes that greatly help.

Two things - Entrepreneurship or Graduate Programs.

Most of us dream of having our own company one day, doing what we love, what we believe in. But like most startups, there is always a mountain tall list of things that stand between you and that dream. It takes work, dedication and many more impressive sounding words and yet there is no guarantee that things will ever work out. However, it has got a thrill of its own.

Like it is said,

If you don’t build your dream someone will hire you to help build theirs. - Tony Gaskins

However, if you would rather join a company instead, I suggest you look for graduate programs. They are hard to get into. But it is one of the best ways to get into a company. They have gruelling training periods where they will put you across their various disciplines to learn the length and breadth of the company.

The usual routes for a graduate entry position varies from company to company. But following are more or less the usual steps:

1. Apply online with your CV and Cover Letter.

2. Online tests - Verbal, Logical, Numerical, Psychometric, Personality etc.

3. Phone Interview

4. Case Study

5. In-Day

6. Final Interview

Note: Rejections are possible after each of these levels.

Following days, I will stress on each of these and try to give you a brief overview of it along with my learnings.

Do let me know if it is of interest to you and if there are specific topics you would like me to address and write on.

Till then, Ciao :)


It has been a while.. Definitely more than a while. When I started blogging here as part of the TUD blogging team and especially when I stopped, I never expected so many of you to read it and contact me regarding your queries.

So here I am, back, to tell you a little about what has happened in my life since my last post.

Sometime in the end of June, I was desperately looking for internship opportunities and none seemed to be coming by. Luckily, a 2010 batch aerospace masters student, whom I knew, was doing his thesis with Shell Global Solutions at that time and they happened to be looking for some interns. So a group of 9 students (including moi) and a TUD Aerospace professor headed to the Shell Projects & Technology office in Rijswijk.

Up till that very day, whenever I heard of Shell and how my friend was doing his thesis in some corner of the office, I imagined a "control room" office with monitors, controls and people in orange jumpsuits (Personal Protection suits). But as I laid my eyes on the Shell building in Rijswijk, I went "WOW"!!!!

It is a beautiful office and yes everyone was dressed to impress and were not wearing jumpsuits :D

We were quickly introduced to the staff and a brief presentation followed which included lunch (Yeay!! Free food) :P. Following this there was a informal interview which none of us were informed of. And after almost 3-4 weeks of waiting, 6 of us were informed that we had been selected to do our internship with Shell and were given choice of assignments and joining dates.

Since then, I have had a great time. This has been an amazing journey and I have been given so many opportunities to learn and develop both in technical and personal front. I can tell you so much about this company and yet it will be too little. So I will let you experience it for yourself in case you happen to want to work for it.

I finished my internship in February this year and was offered a chance to continue my thesis with Shell. Moreover, the person who could help me with my thesis happened to be in Bangalore and I have been here since March. Of course I happened to have couple of exams to write in April for which they also flew me back and forth (PS: Business Class) ;)

I am currently still working on my thesis and hoping to finish off soon (By January maximum). My future posts will be focused on the Job Search front. I will make sure to add in essential tips in there to help you understand and apply more successfully. So do keep a look out for my future posts and trust me I have loads of things I wish to share.

If you do have specific questions (other than if you will get scholarships or jobs) do feel free to e-mail me at and I will try to respond to you as soon as I can.

Till then, Adios!!