CDC Internship Diary — KPIT Technologies Ltd.

Hi there! I, Keshav Bagri, am a third-year undergraduate student of the Mechanical Engineering Department, IIT Kharagpur. I have been selected for the summer internship at KPIT Technologies Ltd for a project on driverless vehicles. In this blog, I have highlighted my background and experience, certain facts associated with the CDC internship process, and advice from my side as well. Hope you enjoy this!
Do give your feedback. It’ll help me in correcting my mistakes :)

My background and experience

Right from the first year, I have been in TeamKART, the Formula SAE team of IIT KGP. I have always been passionate about automotive engineering and this is why I didn’t want to deviate from my field of interest as far as internship and placement are concerned.

I had significant exposure to the mechanical side of automotive engineering by virtue of my experience at TeamKART. Apart from this, I had started a project with Prof. Jeevanjyoti Chakraborty, from the Mechanical Engineering Department, on Li-ion batteries with Silicon anode.
I started exploring the field of autonomous (or driverless) vehicles from mid-March’20 and quite frankly, I found it to be extremely fascinating. By the end of April’20, I had almost covered the learning phase associated with various aspects of self-driving vehicles. During this phase, I familiarised myself with programming in Python, Reinforcement Learning, and Deep Learning (to some extent) as well.

I had 2 internships ongoing by the time the CDC CV generation portal was accessible to the students eligible for CDC internship. One of them was in Kanan Park, an Agri-Tech startup based in Pune, and the other was a research intern in the ARMS Lab, IIT Bombay. I had made a significant progress in both of these internships as far as resume-making is concerned.

Have a look at my CV submitted for the CDC internship procedure.

Internship process — Applications, tests, shortlists, and interviews

The application process is very trivial, so to speak. You are strongly advised to join the MFTP Google group as soon as possible to get emails about companies, test info, shortlists, etc. This is to save you from the hassle of logging in to ERP and checking the CDC notice board quite frequently and not miss any important updates.
As soon as the company’s application opens up on ERP, you just have to click on “Apply with resume 1", “Apply with resume 2” or “Apply with resume 3”. This is based on the profile you are applying for and the corresponding CV,
In my case, I had a single CV.

I had applied for three companies — ITC, Bajaj Auto Ltd and KPIT Technologies Ltd. I have described the individual process below.

  1. ITC
    Apart from applying on the CDC portal, I was supposed to fill a form which comprised of sections like my projects/internship experience, Positions of Responsibilities and Extra-curricular activities and questions like my career goals, how would this internship benefit me, etc. The next round was GD but unfortunately, I wasn’t shortlisted.
    To be honest, I didn’t want to go for ITC because it had nothing to do with the automotive sector.
    For those who are interested, be descriptive (within word limits) in your answers to the above-mentioned questions.
  2. Bajaj Auto Ltd.
    Round — 1 (test):-
    The test comprised of these sections — analytical reasoning, Quantitative, English, Technical.
    The aptitude section of the test was very trivial and someone with even a rudimentary idea of mathematics, logical reasoning, etc can easily score the maximum in this section. The section dedicated to English was similar in nature but a good grasp of vocabulary will help you ace in this section.
    As expected, the technical section was the most complicated one. IC engines, failure theories, fasteners, solid mechanics, and some materials fundamentals were the concepts that the section consisted of. They focus a lot on IC engines — not just basic thermodynamic cycles, but also the knowledge about the effects of variations in A/F ratio, performance characteristics, gasoline and diesel engines, etc.
    Finally, I was shortlisted for the interview round.

    Round — 2 (interview):-
    Technical round:
    My panelist was focusing a lot on my CV instead of conceptual questions directly. Surprisingly, these guys, being a core company, were curious about my understanding of ML. Since it’s been quite a long time, I have faded impressions of the questions asked during the interview, in my memory. However, I have tried my best to recollect as much as possible.

    After a brief introduction from my side, I was asked the following questions.
    Q1. What do you know about Deep Learning and explain in detail about the working of CNN and the different layers associated with it?
    Q2. (I mentioned the project, “Traffic Sign Classification using CNN” in my CV.) What exactly did you do in this project? why did you use a “Dropout”? What issues would you face if the Dropout is removed?
    Q3. About the li-ion batteries project, what is the key idea behind this? Why did you go for Silicon?
    Q4. You have mentioned that you are working on a reactive muffler’s design. How did you go ahead with the design and calculation for this? Mention in brief the workflow that you have followed.
    Q5. Since you are associated with the powertrain team, you must have incorporated the design of the gearbox in general. So, how do you proceed with the design, material selection, and after performing a steady-state analysis, what is the next task to be done?
    Q6. You have designed the intake manifold for your car. What were the key steps that you followed during this? Which material did you select for fabricating it?
    Q7. You said that you have got your intake manifold manufactured by 3D printing. Which technique (SLS or FDM) did you choose and why? Can you explain these processes?
    Q8. You have worked on the self-driving cars project in your internship at IITB. What were your technical responsibilities in this project?

    Until this stage, I answered all the questions correctly and the interviewer seemed happy, as per his facial expression.
    Q9. Can powertrain components fail due to creep?
    I wasn’t completely sure about this question. I gave the answer and mentioned my uncertainty.

    The technical round lasted for about 20–25 minutes and then I was asked to wait for the HR round.
    Based on this round, I was almost sure that I was going to be selected. But, let’s hold on for some time ;)

    HR Round:
    The HR guy seemed to be more excited than I was after I joined the Teams meeting. After the introduction, came the questionnaire.
    Q1. Choose one of your projects and explain your contributions, the future prospects associated with it, and how would it benefit the technical society.
    After I was done with my answer, he came up with the set of questions on the project — technical and generalized.
    Q2. Why do you think Bajaj Auto would be beneficial for you?
    Q3. What do you know about our patent — DTSi technology?
    Q4. Do you have some questions for me?
    I had read about Bajaj’s most recent project, “Chetak”. So, I asked him about this. Also, I asked about Bajaj’s future plan to keep up with the industry.
    Q5. What are career goals and how do you plan to achieve them?

I screwed up my chances of being selected by saying that I was inclined towards getting a master’s degree!
I tried to deviate from this by saying that I would prefer a job opportunity in a company like Bajaj to enhance my skills and profile. But it was too late. I remember vividly how his facial expression changed — from a smiling face to a serious one.

After a very long waiting duration, the result came out around 11 PM. And needless to say, I wasn’t selected!!
I was frustrated with this but I knew that it was because of my mistake and that too in the last 10s of the interview.

Preparation tips for Bajaj Auto (test and interview):
As far as the test is concerned, be prepared with the core subjects like fluid mechanics, dynamics, mechanics of solids, heat transfer, thermodynamics. Apart from this, IC engines and failure theories are the areas that they focus on a lot, for some reason.
For the interview, brush up on your core technicalities and manufacturing methods to some extent. Needless to say, you should be well-versed with literally everything that you have mentioned in your CV. In the other panel, my friends were asked a lot about casting, forming, welding, CNC, etc. and materials to some extent as well.
If you have some time, you can develop some understanding of ML techniques and concepts. However, you can still dodge these questions by saying that you haven’t really worked in this area and hence you don’t possess much knowledge.

3. KPIT Technologies Ltd.
I was supposed to fill a form comprising questions about known programming languages and software frameworks. Initially, a ppt was shared by MFTP containing all the projects that they were offering in domains like Embedded systems, Driverless vehicles, Electric vehicles, battery and thermal management, data science, etc.
In this form, I had to give preferences to any 3 projects based on my interests and what innovative ideas I have in response to each of them.
After a couple of days, the shortlist was released comprising of 16 students from various departments and year of study.
Interview round:-
After I joined the Teams meeting, I had to wait and chat with the campus recruiter for about 5–8 mins, following which the interviewers joined.
Q1. Start by introducing yourself and then briefly describe your projects one-by-one. I’ll interrupt in between and ask questions based on the project.
Q2. Since you have worked with CNN, explain its working and the different layers.
Q3. What are the different activation functions and mention one application each wherein the function should be used?
Q4. What do you understand by regularization and why is it used?
Q5. In your “Traffic Sign Classification” project, you have mentioned that you have used a Dropout of 40%. What do you mean by a dropout and how did you come up with the “40%” value?
Q6. Why do we use padding in general while dealing with CNN?
Q7. What is Batch Normalization and is it always necessary to incorporate in the network?
Q8. What are the neural network architectures apart from CNN and some areas where they can be used?
Q9. Do you know anything about GANs?
I didn’t know much about these at that instant and I gave an honest response.

Q10. It seems that you have worked with the CARLA simulator significantly. Can you describe your familiarity with it?
Q11. You have also worked with Reinforcement Learning in your internship. Can you explain what is it exactly that you did?

Until this stage, I had answered almost all the questions correctly, but I wasn’t quite sure of my answers to 2–3 of ’em. Next came the programming round.

Q12. He entered a very trivial print statement with array indices in Python which was actually incorrect and would actually throw an error. I identified it correctly.
Q13. How will you implement a queue using stack?
Q14. How will you reverse a given number?
Q15. In order to detect a loop in a given Linked List, there’s a commonly used algorithm. What is its name and how does it work?
I wasn’t aware of the Floyd’s slow and fast pointers algorithm since I didn’t prepare for a software profile as such. I tried to present my own method but they were reluctant about this algorithm.

There were 2–3 questions more but I can’t seem to remember. After this, I was said to wait for further information. Frankly speaking, I wasn’t really sure about my selection. I contacted my friends who were shortlisted and I came to know that they had completed their HR rounds as well. This increased my uncertainty. At around 11:30 PM, we received a notification from the placecom that all the interviews were over and you’ll be notified with the results.
2 days later the result was released and it turns out that I was the only one selected! I was excited to know about this, more so that I’ll be working on a project in my field of interest — autonomous vehicles.

Preparation tips for KPIT Technologies:-
Since there isn’t any test involved as such, your CV and performance in the interview are the selection parameters. My CV depicted some experience in automotive engineering and driverless vehicles and I believe this is the reason I might have had an upper hand.
For the interview, just be thorough with your resume and concepts associated with the mentioned projects.

Advice from my side

  1. The entire duration from Day-1 to the moment you get selected is extremely frustrating and cumbersome. You’ll see your friends getting selected as time progresses, academics, preparation, etc. #summers_sorted, #machaya, #company_name, #andha_paisa start trending on your FB timeline and on the other hand, you have nothing on your plate.
    Just try to be calm and go ahead. If required, talk to someone about your frustration.
  2. If you are someone who wants to have an internship in the core sector, then patience is something that you require the most. Its a fact that some of your friends with little or no experience in their CVs will get selected in non-core profiles earlier than you do. But you’ll have to deal with it coz there’s no other option.
    Keep in mind that it is your interest that matters in the long run and not just an internship on Day-1 or Day-2.
    Also, it is recommended that you should be familiar with at least 2 out of these programming languages — Python, C/C++, MATLAB.
  3. Time management is vital during the CDC internship season. Your inability to do so might affect your preparation and/or academics, which will ultimately add to your frustration.
  4. (**)Never ever mention in the interviews/forms that you are interested in higher studies and/or research internships. You might not observe that change like I did, but I can assure you that you won’t be selected, no matter how qualified you are. This is true for placements as well.
    I understand that this is unethical but this is how it works. Companies won’t select you since they generally tend to offer PPOs based on your performance during the internship. Because you’re interested in higher studies, you are most likely to reject their offer. And this isn’t something that they want.
  5. Honestly, based on my experience of this season, if you have a CGPA > 7.5 or 8, you are good to go. I am not sure whether this is completely true or not, but higher CGPAs (≥9.4) tend to impart this idea to the companies that you might be interested in research interns and you might reject their offer. However, this is also a function of your resume. Hence I cannot generalize it and nor should you be concerned with this.
  6. Lastly, the entire procedure of the CDC internship is unpredictable, in my opinion. You may not know the reason why someone’s selected over you or why your interviewer is strict or tough to deal with and your friend’s interviewer is chill, why do companies prefer some departments over the others or CGPA as well. Just hold on, there’s some exciting opportunity waiting for you :)

You can visit my website for more info about my profile.
Feel free to contact me, if required!

Thank you for reading!
Hope this helps.
Good Luck!!

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IIT Kharagpur’22 | Mechanical Engineering | Hungry and foolish soul | Website: keshavbagri.live

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Keshav Bagri

Keshav Bagri

IIT Kharagpur’22 | Mechanical Engineering | Hungry and foolish soul | Website: keshavbagri.live

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