Interview: Ajay Srikanth(Meta-2017)

Please state your current profile and explain your profile. If applicable, help us understand any previous profiles you’ve worked for.

I am currently working at a startup called ITHAKA and it is my first job. It is a travel planning app. It helps you to plan your travel. Currently, it’s offering services for travels to Thailand and Bali.

My designation is – Business Generalist. I don’t have a fixed profile as such. We have a tech team which does the coding for the app, a team for travel planning, one person to take care of our partners etc. I don’t really have a team so I end up doing any work that comes up which doesn’t fall under the portfolio of any one team. So, as of now, I have completed one project on analytics and will be starting one related to process optimization soon.


What skills should one develop to follow the career path you’ve chosen? Do include courses, software, coding, internships etc.

After joining, I learned Python and Excel. I don’t use Python to code apps instead I use it for data analytics. One thing which I have learned is that knowing to code really helps when working in a startup and Excel especially helps for a corporate – based job.          


What are the soft skills to be acquired in work culture?

The most important one is communication. Also, you need to learn to create and give presentations.


What is the extent one should go to find a balance between work satisfaction and monetary satisfaction?

I think it depends from person to person. Probably, the smart thing would be to prefer monetary satisfaction in the beginning thereby saving enough and later going for something which you really wanted to do.


Why do people get bored (occasionally, even if not always) with the jobs they wanted in the first place?

When we are in college, we don’t really know what the job entails. Before we actually do the job and get the experience, we won’t get a complete picture and probably this lack of a complete picture is a reason why people get bored with the jobs they wanted in the first place.


-What are some things about your career path you wish you knew in college, in retrospect?

I really hated coding when I was in college. But later I realized, it was more the kind of coding that I hated than coding itself because right now I do enjoy it for the work I do. So, I wish I had learned more of coding and tools like Excel, PowerPoint etc. That would have saved a month and a half when I had to learn it later.


Is there something the T and P cell can do which does not even come under its umbrella currently, but is important?

I feel, one thing which T and P should really do is get startups to the college for placements. That will really provide a great opportunity to start one’s career. Besides this, it should inform students of the various other career paths that they can take apart from the conventional corporate jobs. T and P needs to encourage students to go for non-conventional career options such as volunteering based ones, NGOs, TFI etc.


What to do after getting placed/ getting admitted into college, i.e., how to not waste time in the final year?

I suggest you do waste time.

Otherwise, you can pick up something which you would like to work on after graduating from college, something which you’re really passionate about. That might not really fetch you money but you can surely devote your free time to that.


Is minor in management useful from a recruiters’ perspective? Would minors in economics be useful in any way if one is planning to switch to management?

I can’t tell from experience but otherwise, a management minor will definitely be a plus point, though it might not boost your profile to a great extent.


How do campus placements fare with respect to off-campus ones? What route to take for placements out of campus?

Firstly I’ll tell you my idea of going for the off-campus job. I felt that working in a typical corporate setup wasn’t my cup of tea. I wanted to do something on my own where I have a measurable role to play. No doubt on-campus placements are way more secure than the off-campus ones. However, off-campus jobs provide you with a better opportunity to grow both personally as well as professionally.

If going for off-campus jobs, patience is much needed. You will have to send a lot of emails. Be prepared for a lot of rejections. Interviews would be much more rigorous when compared to the ones conducted by companies coming to the campus. Polish your resume well and personalize the cover letters in accordance with the company you are applying to. For resumes, T and P’s format is good enough.


Is one year ample time after which a major can be pursued?

Rather than putting a timeline, I suggest you figure it out in terms of the quality of work you’ve done. Personally, I feel that it’s better to first work for a couple of years so that you can find out where you are lacking at and then fix that though B – schools.


How permanent is any choice of career? Do you think one should stick to a particular field or keep changing and experimenting as they grow in the industry?

I feel at the beginning of your career you should experiment as much as possible. There’s nothing wrong with changing the field if you aren’t satisfied with your job.


How can one be sure that a certain career path is right for them? What is a good way to make that decision?

I don’t think one can be sure of that. You can change your job when the work stops gripping your attention which, in turn, totally depends on the person.


Kindly do add anything else you wish to share, which may be useful.

I suggest that students experiment more with the off-campus jobs. Also, don’t get perturbed if you couldn’t land up an offer in the first few days of the placement season.

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