It was my 5th semester at IIT Bombay. During the 5th semester, companies visit the campus to recruit interns. I was from the Computer Science Department and several top-notch companies had come to hire interns.
Due to problems in getting the visa, many US companies had stopped visiting the campus for hiring interns. The only “well-known” foreign company to visit the campus was Samsung Korea and obviously, we were all crazy for it.
The hiring process at IIT Bombay is very much like other institutes - Companies visit 1-by-1 and you apply for those for which you are eligible (Department, CPI, etc.). They shortlist you for a coding test, then interviews and finally an offer. The twist is that if you get selected for a particular company, you have to go with it. You cannot appear for any other company and if you have an ongoing process with any other company, you need to stop that too.
Fine. Institute policy. We have to agree.
I had done well in the Samsung Korea coding test and I was shortlisted for the interviews to be held on Tuesday. Tower Research had shortlisted top 8 students from the CS Department and was supposed to hire 3 of them for the internship. They had to conduct the interviews on Monday (1 day before Samsung interviews) and announce the results on the same day.
I desperately wanted to go to Samsung. But Tower is known to pay quite well (Rs. 75,000 per month stipend in India, isn’t that cool? I heard it is now Rs. 1.0 lakhs per month) and also is quite reputed. Therefore, I had applied to them as well and I had a decent enough CPI (GPA) to get shortlisted for their interviews.
I had prepared quite well for all sorts of interviews and so, I was confident that be it Tower or Samsung, I would be able to crack them both. But as I had mentioned above, due to the institute internship rules, I was supposed to stop my Samsung interview process in case Tower hired me.
Confused as I was, I messaged a senior who is my mentor in college. He advised that I should appear for Tower interviews and do well as well and later, tell them politely that I have ongoing interview procedure with Samsung and that I would prefer Samsung.
Fine. Such an accomplished senior says so. Must be right.
I agreed to what he said and did the same. Except that things went wrong. The interviews went exceedingly well and the hiring manager was after my life to hire me. He called me after the interviews and told me that the Software Engineer who interviewed me gave excellent feedback. He assured me of a great project. I was fighting him and telling him that by no means I would join Tower Research, but he was hell-bent.
Finally, I asked him to kindly provide me 15 minutes of his time before sending the final confirmation to the institute about me getting hired. He was polite enough to agree. During these 15 minutes, I was trying to take help from parents and seniors on what could I do. As I was on a call with my mother, a friend came and congratulated me for my selection in Tower. All of this happened within 15 minutes.
Later I ended up getting a great off-campus internship at Rubrik and turned down Tower. It was, however, a bitter-sweet experience.