The Smart Cube Freshers Recruitment Process – Strategy and Procurement Research Analyst – Vinshu Jain
Vinshu Jain, Strategy and Procurement Research Analyst at The Smart Cube Shares her experience in this brief interview
College: NSIT, Batch of 2017
Stream: Electronics and Communication Engineering
Please tell us about your Interview procedure at The Smart Cube (Short listing procedure, GDs, Interviews, Questions).
The first stage consisted of an online aptitude test with sections on verbal, quant, reasoning and data interpretation. Around 60 students were shortlisted after the test- 40 in SPR and 20 in DA.
The next three rounds took place in TSC office situated in Noida. The first round was an extempore which was conducted in groups of 10 in which we were required to speak about ourselves for 15-20 seconds and then for a minute or two on any topic of our choice. The purpose of this exercise was to gauge fluency in English as one need to speak effortlessly and without fumbling/ stuttering in front of clients.
Around 32 students in SPR cleared this round and were called for the first round of interviews. In my first interview, I was asked basic concepts pertaining to economics such as exchange rate, inflation and GDP. Then I was asked to carry out a SWOT analysis of any FMCG enterprise. Further, I was asked to solve a guesstimate to estimate the no of schools in Delhi through three different approaches and then two short case studies relating to exploration of different revenue streams and breaking down of costs of manufacturing industries.
Around 16 students were called for the second and final round of interviews. My second interview was a mix of HR and technical. It started with basic questions about my strengths and weaknesses and why TSC. Next, I was told to give an overview of my resume wherein I explained my internships and PORs. Then I was asked to relate the business model of a ride hailing app like Uber to the 4 Ps of marketing and asked to solve a classic question on business expansion. Lastly, I was asked a revenue maximisation problem and a few things related to general awareness and common sense.
Seven people were finally selected for the SPR profile after the second round.
What and how many internships and projects you did at college? How did you get them?
I did four internships in college. Two of them were technical which I got through contacts at C-DoT and Airports Authority of India. One was at Greymeter- a skill development and employment platform wherein I worked as a Content Developer. The last and latest one was an internship in Marketing Management under Professor Sameer Mathur of IIM Lucknow, for which I had applied online. I completed two projects in college, both of which were part of ECE curriculum.
What makes this company different from other firms?
The Smart Cube has a less hierarchical structure and offers a flexible rewarding environment coupled with a great work culture. It is one of the best KPOs to work with and offers a mix of exposure of both the KPO and consulting work. The work is not back-end unlike most other firms but includes a range of projects, from simple desk-research based to quasi-consulting analysis.
How did you prepare for the placement season? What advice would you give to your juniors regarding the placement season?
I began serious preparation for the placement season around mid June. I downloaded applications like ET, TIE and The Economist to keep myself updated with market trends and major changes in the economy. I regularly read the Business section of Hindu and HT to gain insight into the operations, strategies and profitability of prominent firms. I read a few books on case interviews such as Case in Point, Ace the Case series and Vault Guide. I made a list of guesstimates by exploring various websites online and practised them with friends occasionally. I prepared a few HR questions as well, such as- about myself, strengths and weaknesses, five years down the line among others. Lastly, I brushed up my aptitude by regularly practising basic conceptual questions.
I would like to advise my juniors to adopt the habit of regularly reading the newspaper as early as possible. Apart from that, aptitude tests are the first stage in recruitment for almost every company and so it’ll be extremely foolhardy to neglect them by just focusing on interviews. I suggest practising from CAT modules and sites like Indiabix. Knowing your CV in and out is crucial and do spend time in perfecting it. Lastly, it’s imperative to possess a positive attitude, a confident demeanour and a strong belief in oneself. Placement season can be a very hard time and maintaining level headedness and sanity will ensure you sail through it with flying colours.
What’s the role of academics in getting a good placement?
A percentage above 70 will ensure your eligibility for all non technical companies. Academics do play a role, albeit discreetly as it is the first thing the interviewer/ recruiter notices on your resume. So, it’s better to maintain a good percentage above 70 and have a safety net. Otherwise, above 65 will also work.
Elaborate on the type of work in this kind of role?
The role involves understanding business dynamics of an industry and factors affecting a company both externally and internally and conducting primary and secondary researches by sizing markets, identifying and analysing trends, culling out market dynamics and key success factors as well as understanding the value chain and the competitive landscape. The role also entails conducting company studies in various levels of granularity, covering details regarding financials, marketing, operations and strategy.
What growth opportunities does this company provide? Is there any global exposure?
The Smart Cube offers a great learning platform and corresponding growth opportunities. If you meet the desired objectives and prove your competence, you stand to get promoted faster than your colleagues in other firms and fast track your career growth. The firm is headquartered in the United Kingdom with additional offices in the United States, China, Germany, India, Romania and Switzerland, thus offering a great opportunity to work from global locations.
Would you like to give any general advice to your juniors?
Utilise the three years of your college life prior to the placement season in as efficient and fruitful manner as possible. Due to a heavy and intensive engineering course, it becomes quite difficult and challenging to pursue your interest and passion and develop employable skills. Hence, the key here is to prioritise and multi task and to put in your best effort without worrying about the results. In college, the world is your oyster. A plenty of opportunities would keep coming knocking at your door. You don’t have to shy away from exploring, as each will provide you with a different learning experience. Build your personality, identify where your interest lies, interact with your batch-mates, juniors and seniors alike and procrastinate less. You will definitely taste success.