Placement Survey 2020-21: Preparation

Design: Swati Sheenum, G Shreethiga, Shaurya Rawat, Abhiram Pavithran O, Rohit Gadarla and Hardhik Pinjala.

T5E’s Placement Survey 2020-21 was conducted in the month of February to study students perspective of placement season 2020-21. The respondents of the survey were final year students across different degrees and departments who appeared for the placement season of 2020-21. The survey witnessed a total of 171 responses from undergraduate students and 96 responses from postgraduate students. The survey explored various aspects like Opinion, Academics, Career, Extra-curricular and Preparation in the view of placements and the effect they might have on placements.

In this article, we explore the Preparation aspect. The article deals with the preparation of the students for various sectors – core and non-core. The article is divided into two parts: Undergraduate and Post-graduate.


A total of 170 students filled this section of the survey as we identified 5 major domains of preparation namely – Coding, Data Science, Finance, Consulting & Core.


This domain had the highest number of respondents – 115 i.e maximum number of students had prepared for this domain. 

55% of the students mentioned they could solve all kinds of straightforward problems while 42% could solve difficult questions as well once their prep was complete. This clearly highlights the importance of coding in insti placements. 

When asked to rate on a scale of 1-5 how active they were in competitive programming, there does not seem to be a great enthu, contrary to the hype, with 85% respondents marking themselves 3 or below. 

Moreover, 85 out of the 115 respondents mentioned that their performance wasn’t too good in these competitions with them being able to solve only medium level questions and sometimes difficult questions too but with lots of errors.

The major source of prep for these students were the various coding websites (Geeks for Geeks, Interview Bit etc..) followed by online courses from Udemy or Coursera. 

When asked about how long it took them to prepare, most of the students mentioned more than 15 months with the highest going to as high as 27 months. This clearly shows that people start taking this aspect seriously right from their pre-final year with some of them starting even before that. 


This domain had 55 respondents.

Almost 50% began their prep starting from August oR September 2020 with only a few delaying it to as late as November. 

Since the consulting prep is identified by extensive case prep sessions among students, our next question was regarding their case group size. More than 85% had a group of size 3 or 4 with only 2 students preparing alone. Group size of 3 was preferred by the majority of the students. 

Next was the question most junior UGs would be curious about. The respondents were asked to rate on a scale of 1-5 how helpful were their PORs in getting them a consult shortlist and in the entire process too. Almost 75% marked 3 or greater highlighting PORs are indeed important for this domain. There were respondents who gave a rating of 1 or 2 too indicating that one can get into the domain without a PoR as well but the no. of respondents for lower rating were less. 

Data Science / Data Analytics

This seemed to be the second most popular domain with 80 respondents. 

82.5% of people rated themselves 3 or above in machine learning skills. 

3 major sources of prep were identified – namely online courses, online data science websites and insti courses. 

50% of them started prep in their pre-final year only with 11 of them starting in the 2nd year itself. This conveys the increasing popularity of this domain among the junior UGs. 


Finance turned out to be a niche domain with only 38 respondents.

Only 25% of these students had any sort of certification from CFA, FRM & NCFM with maximum inclination towards NCFM. The possible reason could be the cost factor as CFA or FRM could cost well above 70k while NCFM costs around 2k.

A vast majority began their prep right in their second or pre-final year with a few starting in August 2020. A very small number of students had begun their prep in the first year itself. 

But all these students marked 4 or 5 (on a scale of 5) in how helpful these certifications were in their prep. In fact, the major source of prep were these certifications followed by institute courses and then MOOCs. 


We had only 8 respondents here. This might be because of the reason that non-core is more popular among students due to multiple reasons. 

Even among these 7 began their prep only a month or 2 before placements. The major source of prep were the insti courses with 6 of them rating it 4 or above on a scale of 5 on how helpful they were in interviews. 


A total of 95 students filled this aspect of the survey.


55 of 95 students prepared for this domain. 

Around 60% of them mentioned they could only solve straightforward problems while around 30% could solve difficult questions as well. Almost 90% of them rated themselves 3 or below in how active they were in competitive programming with only 35% rating their performance 3+ in competitive competitions. 

The major sources of prep were still the coding websites followed by MOOCs.

Around 70% of them prepared for 4 months or less with the maximum being 12 months. 

Data Science / Data Analytics

There were 35 respondents in this domain making it the second-most popular even among PGs.

20 of these students rated themselves 4 on how good they were with machine learning. 

The major sources of preparation were once again online courses followed by data science websites.

Around 30% started preparing in their first year itself with another 30% who started only in August/September 2020. 


Only 7 students responded saying they prepared for finance, a considerable drop from UGs.

The major source of preparation were online courses and none of them have any certifications.

6 of these 7 started the prep just before placements. 


As expected, with 48 responses core sector was most popular among PG students. 

The major sources of prep were found to be books here followed by online and insti courses.

62.5% of students rated insti courses 3 or above in how helpful they were in their prep and interviews.

Almost 90% of students began their prep either in the summer before placements or in the placement sem itself. 


The responses of the survey do indicate quite a difference in the sectors for which UGs and PGs prepare for. The non-core sectors seem to be popular among UGs considerably than PGs. Some of the reasons for the same that could be speculated are that UGs have more non-core opportunities as compared to PGs in placements, the flexibility of the UG curriculum, the difference in interests of PGs and UGs and peer group

A majority of UGs reported that they prepared for coding. This could be because of the high number of opportunities this opens up for a student. Data Science / Data Analytics was also one of the popular topics to prepare for among UGs.

Preparation of PGs was mostly focused on the core sector which was expected. Most of the PG students found insti courses to be very helpful in preparing for their respective core sectors.

Finance was one of the sectors which very few people preparing for it among both UGs and PGs. This may be because of several reasons like less interest of people in finance, fewer opportunities in the sector during placements etc.

Overall, we hope this article gave you an idea about the preparation trends among UGs and PGs for placements. For more articles like this one, stay tuned!


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