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Posts Tagged ‘UK’

What the hell, its for a good cause!

Posted by Neeraj Kumar on September 7, 2008

Its always a challenge when we have to go out of our normal course of lives to do something. Most of the time we shrink our head back in to our comfort zones for sight outside is either too horrific or too revealing. But, sometimes we manage to muster enough courage to take the fight to these fears just to see what it feels like to do something “crazy”.

My experience while collecting funds for Bihar floods has been interesting. While people from very unexpected quarters have come forward, most people have decided to shrug their shoulders after making sure that we know how “sorry” they are.

The fact remains that as long as individual’s self interest is protected, in majority of cases people confine their life to “Me, my family, my religion/caste, my state, my country” in that order. While contributing to such disasters might not be as easy as forwarding emails to five friends in order to claim their share of prosperity, it has revealed time and again how superficial life most people live. But, most people will boil when such a suggestion is made. While people continue to moan about things they would like to do but can’t, the fact remains that either you do it or you don’t. Its not necessarily a bad thing because that forms the majority. But still, its important that they learn to live with it for thats who they are and not moan about it.

One needs a far cavalier and positive attitude to come forward to help just in the name of “what the hell, its for a good cause!”. Thanks to all those who have shown this side of theirs and prove what my dad says time and again that “there are enough good people in this world to stop it from going in to hell”.

While it is not intended to offend, it doesn’t hurt to put mirror in front of people’s faces from time to time.

Related post: Bihar Floods – What can you do?

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Bihar Floods – What can you do?

Posted by Neeraj Kumar on September 3, 2008

How bad is it?

It is bad enough to be declared a national calamity and 5 million (50 lakh) people are said to be directly affected. Worst hit are children who are estimated to be more than half the number. Some news coverage:

On how children are being affected
Google News

What can you do?

If you are religious you can consider this as act of god punishing people for their sins. If you don’t believe in god, you might feel vindicated. And if you are not comfortable taking sides, you can just sit back and watch the drama unfold.

What is being done?

There are a few people who are doing great job in co-ordinating some of the activities like managing funds and sending relief materials (medicines, cloths etc) to the affected region. It is a network of some NGOs and personal contacts based at relief camps.

How can I contribute/donate?

United Kingdom: If you are in UK, you can get in touch with me and I can arrange transfer of funds. Every amount is accounted for and every contribution will be posted publicly (unless instructed otherwise).

All funds in UK will go in to the account of BIHAR FOUNDATION UK. It is member of British Overseas of NGOs for development and thus is regulated. News coverage of the effort by Bihar Foundation.

India: You can again get in touch with me if you want and I can guide you. However, you can also look at following locations who as I said are also involved in such activities. I am in touch with some of them.

Ways to get in touch

1) Leave a comment

2) Use this form

3) +44 780 944 1527

Post script: Please note that if you have doubts about credibility of this effort then you will not be the only one. It won’t hurt though to get in touch.

Posted in Bihar, India | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Racists or Emotional?

Posted by Neeraj Kumar on February 8, 2007

Shilpa Shetty won the reality show Big Brother and received whopping 63% of votes. It would have been interesting to find whether those 63% of votes she received was due to people of Indian ethnic origin in UK (about 3 million people of Indian origin live in UK) flooding the show with calls or was it a gesture from the general British public to let Indians (and others) know that they don’t condone shocking remarks made by Jade Goody and her fellow housemates. In either case, it does make you wonder whether remarks made echoes the sentiment of large section of British society. Education teaches us to be tolerant but, emotions more often than not has the final say. So, was that just an isolated outburst or does it go far deeper than that.

I have been in UK for more than five years (four years as student) but apart from isolated heated exchange have had quite a pleasant stay. However, recently India has made its presence felt on the global map by being one of the fastest growing economy and has taken big strides in most sectors. But, with stories of Indian success ( Tata taking Corus, Shilpa Shetty winning Big Brother etc’) flashing across the television screens, sentiments are bound to take over. It is further compounded by the fact that major section of this demographic share the belief that Indian economic surge has been at the expense of US and European economy.

Well, I am not ignorant enough to call them racist but it will not be entirely misplaced to call them emotional.

Posted in Controversy, India | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Recruitment at Investment Banks

Posted by Neeraj Kumar on February 6, 2007

Investment Banks are notorious for their endless working hours and their strict recruitment process. Well, the former is mainly a myth if seen in context whereas the latter is there to ensure selection of candidates who have what it takes to excel – something that Investment Banks thrive on. I will in this post go through the stages a candidate has to go through for graduate positions in Investment Banks. Although I will outline the recruitment stages of Morgan Stanley in UK, it applies to all Investment Banks with some minor details changed which rarely changes the nature of preparation required.

Applications for Graduate hiring for most Investment Banks open in first week of September. Hiring for almost all of them takes place on rolling basis so apply early. However, merely applying early is not going to do the trick as there is no compromise on the criterias!

Some of the major Investment Banks are Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, UBS, JP Morgan, DrKW, Deustche Bank, Citigroup, Lehman Brothers. (For overseas nationals, these firms do apply for your work-permit if you are successful.)

First Stage: Fill online applications. There is no other way to apply. Forms are to be filled at their respective career websites. Online application can take considerable time. At least don’t submit your application in haste. Pay particular attention to the essay type questions which will be your chance to stand out at application stage. Remember, you are as good as you express! Think about the long answers for 3-4 days and refine it everyday. If possible, ask somebody to check your answers. Its no use filling 100s of applications and getting no interviews. It is always advised to concentrate on the quality rather than quantity.

Second Stage: Second stage (apart from Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and Deustche Bank) is online tests. Tests will be numerical and verbal. There are numerous practice tests around. Use Google to good effect.

First round of interviews: Morgan Stanley has two set of interviews, personal and technical. Personal interview is about your past experiences, team working and other soft-skills. I will talk in the context of applications to “Technology Division” as far as Technical Interview is concerned. You need to be comfortable in atleast one programming language for Morgan Stanley. They try to gauge scope and depth of your knowledge. Tip: Prepare couple of topics very well and direct the interview in that direction. Increase the scope of your technical knowledge but make sure that you know atleast couple of topics very well.During the interview show eagerness to learn. If there is something that you fail to answer, make sure you ask them the solution. Don’t keep falling over after saying “Yes, I know it!”. Technical interview is something that you can prepare for. Make sure you do it. More often than not, it is also your chance to stand out.

Assessment Center: For Morgan Stanley, it is a one and a half day exercise. For others, generally, it is a day’s process. First afternoon, you are likely to sit for Diagrammatic Reasoning. Make sure you practice these type of questions. They will send you a practice booklet but there are not many questions. It is advised to google for some more practice questions. You might be in for an unpleasant surprise if you don’t prepare for this. Rest of the evening is trip across the magnificent buildings and nice dinner with recent graduates and a senior executive.
Second day starts early. There are four activities. Technical Interview (Yes, another one!), Problem Solving, Role play and team working exercise.

Technical interview: It is pretty much the same. However, you will get different set of interviewers. Again, it might help to show the scope of your knowledge. If there is something that you know, give some sort of hint to direct your interview in that direction.

Problem Solving: You might find this most challenging. You will be provided with a case study. Based on the problem provided in the case study, you will have to ask questions to somebody who will have set of specific information. This exercise will indicate your problem solving skill based on what you thought was important piece of information for you to be able to solve the problem. Your nature of questions also give assessors idea of the level of your understanding of the problem. You will also get some time to make some recommendations and justify it. It will end up with the assessors providing you with missing piece of information, stuff that you were not able to retrieve during your questions round. You will be asked if you will like to change your recommendation in the light of new piece of information. Think, answer and justify. (Note that time-keeping is very important for this exercise. If you use all your time asking questions, you will not have time to prepare your recommendations and even present it!)

Role play: You will be asked to act as a consultant and prepare a recommendation for some sort of project etc’ based on some fictitious case study. You will need to discuss this with somebody who poses as the Project Manager. The idea here is to see how you cope with pressure, your ability to think on your feet etc’. The project manager will dismiss quite a few of your ideas deliberately and ‘act’ harsh. You will need to act calmly and try and come up with rational explanation for your recommendations.

Team Exercise: It is pretty much what you would expect. Tip: Don’t impose yourself, participate, let everybody speak, listen to what everybody says and make sure your participation is constructive!

Note: Please do not ask for specific case studies. It won’t help. Also, preoccupied mind compromises flexibility and your ability to think on your feet which is very important for the process. However, if there are any questions regarding the process itself, feel free to drop a comment. Also, don’t let the rigorous process put you off. Rigour is the only way to ensure selection of candidates who are responsible, accountable and have the aptitude to work in an environment where huge sums and company’s reputation is at stake.

(Please note that Investment Banks are always looking to improve their recruitment process as you would expect. Thus, structure might not remain same every year but, any changes should be minor. But, then it shouldn’t really matter if you have what they are looking for! And finally, opinion expressed in this post is mine and only mine.)

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Posted in Career | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

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