Did I dream of working at a top Financial Services company? Are you kidding me? And moreover a person with visual impairments like me? Take heart readers. Read on.
It is every kid’s dream to be employed at a global institution that delivers a broad range of services to a large and diversified client base that includes corporations, financial institutions, governments and individuals. And a top Financial Services company was not certainly part of that list from a guy in rural India.
But, I’m here to tell you my story of how I made through a tough selection process to receive a job offer at a top Financial Services company – so that each of you are encouraged to achieve the impossible!
I completed my studies this year (2021) at the Institute of Technology Guru Ghasidas University, and majored in Computer Science. My struggles with visual impairment was not deterrent to outperform regular sighted students. It took a lot of determination and hard work to achieve the success I have over the years.
Road Map into a top Financial Services company
Practice, practice, practice. Never give up!
My Advice – be prepared, be equipped!
Are you also on the same path to reach to top MNC ? Well, this is what I have learned: you have to be professional in following skills:
- Coding: Practice a lot of frequently-asked coding problems
- Soft-Skills: You have to be very good in your presentation skills
- Proactive: You need to be proactive throughout the interview process
Further to a Computer Science degree, I also enrolled myself into additional skill development courses with Vision-Aid.
I would like to share a few things about Vision-Aid because the organization has impacted my career and growth in many ways.
Vision-Aid is a non-profit organization, working dedicatedly to Enable, Educate and Empower students with vision disabilities so they live a life with independence and dignity. I have been a student of Vision-Aid since the year 2019, and I vouch for Vision-Aid in all respects, and encourage all students like me to enroll themselves into the courses available.
At Vision-Aid, I enrolled into various mentor-based courses which played a major role in my success. Let me share a few courses that gave me the skills I now possess.
- Python Training Program
This is the signature program of Vision-Aid where students with visual impairments get introduced to the programming language Python. Mr. Himanshu Garg (Freelancer) was my mentor. I had no prior experience with Python hence this basic Python Training gave me the spark of Python programming. Later on I made Python as my primary programming language.
- Interview Preparations to Crack Technical Rounds Of MNC
This is one of the most effective programs I enrolled myself in at Vision-Aid. It helped me greatly to in my attempt to get a job at a top Financial Services company. Mr. Santosh Vattam (Software Engineer at Google) was my mentor. Santosh taught me the various concepts of data structure and algorithm and he made me practice a lot of programming problems from Leetcode
This program is one-year in duration, and hence he gave us ample time to prepare well. At the end of the program, Santosh also organized a number of mock interviews to walk me through real interview experiences.
Although Vision-Aid had no such program in past but they organized it based on my request and requirement.
But as I mentioned before, this was the most effective program that led to my current success.
- Mentor-Based Project
This is the program where Vision-Aid wanted to make their students industry-ready by giving them real-world projects. A team of 2-3 students is formed to work on software projects. Every team got a mentor who played a role of project manager. Through this program, we learned Agile Software Development Principles, tools like Jira, Git and Github. My full appreciations to Mr. Santosh Vattam as the mentor for my team.
- Inclusive Stem Confluence
Inclusive Stem Confluence is an event where persons with and without disabilities come together to hack on real-world problems. Vision-Aid along with its four other partners organize this event every year (since 2017). I began participating in this event since 2020 during which instance I formed a team of four people and we secured the third position in that event. Mr. Kartik Arora (Founder of his own Start Up), a volunteer at Vision-Aid played the role of a mentor / team member.
In 2021, I participated in the same event for the second time. This time I formed a diversified team of three people and we became the champion of Inclusive Stem Confluence 2021. Mr. Sudhir Verma (Hardware Engineer at Oracle) and Mrs. Shobha Narasimha (Data Scientist), both volunteers at Vision-Aid were our mentors.
- Corporate Skills Development Program (CSD)
CSD is a pilot program at Vision-Aid, where mentor is assigned and guides about 5-6 students. The primary objective of this course is to improve soft-skills of those with visual impairments. As I already explicitly pointed out earlier, that soft-skills is a very important skill needed to get into the corporate sector. This program provided me the necessary skills in the areas of listening, speaking, communicating and presentation skills. Mostly this program assisted us to prepare best for any HR round interview. Ms. Aditi Shah (Data and Applied Scientist at Microsoft, and who lost her vision at a very early age) was our mentor in this program.
Process of Selection
A top Financial Services company held an Engineering Campus Hiring Program (ECHP) at my college, and I made it through the initial screening process. On a yearly basis, a top Financial Services company provides career opportunities to those freshers (Technical) who don’t get a top Financial Services company during their campus drives. Since I didn’t get through during the campus hiring drive, I applied for a Full-Time Analyst role.
The regular hiring process includes these four stages:
- Sorting Resumes
- Aptitude Test
- Coding Test
- Technical Interviews
If you want to get through into MNC’s , you will have to crack all those to make it.
Hassles I had being a Visually Challenged Individual
Inaccessible web content
Being a screen reader user, all the hassles that I faced were related to in-accessibility of web content.
If a Resume gets listed, the next step is to take an aptitude test. Through my prior experiences, I was aware that the aptitude test is not going to be accessible for screen reader users like me. This is because, the test includes graphical inputs in most questions. Further, the time duration is very less if you choose to avail a scriber to help.
I was able to convey these road blocks to the Human Resources Team. I stressed on the need that I should get an equal opportunity to show my true potential. And many thanks to a top Financial Services company hiring team, they understood my situation and agreed for a work around.
I proposed an alternative method which was to increase the number of technical round interviews as against taking the aptitude and coding test. They agreed, and organized three rounds of technical interviews.
Then came the next hassle. At the technical rounds stage, that they wanted me to write the Code on Codepair (Collaborative Environment), in which I encountered accessibility issues again. I let the interviewers know about this situation prior to the coding sessions, and proposed sharing my screen while coding while they get to monitor my work. They agreed!
The Job Offer
Well, that explains it all. My persistence worked out good and the interviews went off well. Then came the news I had been so eagerly waiting for. I received a Full-Time Employee offer at a top Financial Services company as an Analyst
Today, looking back I can say that my journey has been one eventful one, and I’m looking forward to accomplish greater things at a top Financial Services company
Reach Me Out
Should you have any additional queries, feel free to connect with me via LinkedIn.