Name: Alka Singh
Father: Vijay Pratap Singh (Retired Deputy General Manager – BSNL)
Education: B.Tech (Electrical) from UIET, Chandigarh.
MBA (IB) from UBS, Chandigarh.
Previous Selections: Infosys, IBPS PO, Canara Bank PO, Bank of Baroda PO.
MockBank: Why you decided to leave Infosys?
Alka: I was selected in UBS, Chandigarh in International Business stream. I always wanted to pursue a career in finance or export-import. Hence, I latched onto this opportunity, even though I was doing excellent in the software technology field and was a 5 pointer in Mysore Training Center.
MockBank: Why did you left Canara Bank for Bank of Baroda?
Alka: As I have already mentioned, I always wanted to pursue a career in finance or export-import, as I like Maths, playing with numbers and travelling to exotic foreign locations. So, ECGC and Bank of Baroda were my top two priorities in the IBPS exam. Bank of Baroda being India’s International bank provides one a lot of opportunities to get foreign postings. Promotions are also faster.
MockBank: So essentially you being good in Maths primed you to pursue a career in banking? Did somebody suggest it to you?
Alka: You may say so. When I secured 24th rank in UP Board exams and was the second topper in the district, the principal of my college advised me to pursue a career in finance. Though I was not mature enough then to understand the full implications of that advice, but when I look back now, I feel it was an appropriate one.
MockBank : When did you start your preparation for the IBPS Examination? When should one ideally begin thinking about preparing for this exam?
Alka : Candidates must ideally begin preparation during last year of graduation studies.
MockBank : What was your strategy for the written examination?
Alka : Time management is the key. Also, never spend too much time on any one question, if question is not getting solved easily and within short time, skip that question and move on. First, I try to attempt all the questions of English and General Awareness sections as these sections take comparatively very less time than other two sections. Then I attempted the Reasoning section and try to pick those questions with which I am comfortable and try to attempt 25-30 questions, according to the time left. Then I attempt Quant section and try to attempt 20-25 questions so that sectional cut-offs can be crossed easily.
MockBank : What should be the best strategy to tackle negative marking?
Alka : Best way to tackle negative marking is well updated knowledge and practice of attempting the paper and completing it within the given time frame. You may mark the answer even if you are left with two probable correct options.
MockBank : Tell us something about the preparation of descriptive paper.
Alka : Descriptive paper is checked and scored on the basis of minimum required facts. Candidates should first take a quick review of the given topic in their minds and try to recollect and sort down few relevant and very crucial facts for a given topic. The entire descriptive content should have well planned incorporation of these relevant facts at specific places. Appearance of these facts in your paper helps in scoring good marks.
MockBank : Describe the proceedings on the day of the interview. How many experts were on the panel?
Alka : There were four people on the panel. The interview started with the basic question of “tell us about yourself”. They generally asked about questions related to my MBA. Then there were few questions like why you want to join a bank, about my hometown etc.
MockBank : Which types of questions were asked in the interview? Did you answer all?
Alka : I answered almost all the questions, only few were not answered well.
MockBank : Does it matter if you choose to speak in vernacular during the interview?
Alka : Medium is a matter of your choice. The panel seeks your language comfort level by asking in what language would you like the interview to be conducted. Be specific for a language choice in which you can present yourself better because speaking in vernacular does not matter at all. It has no adverse effect on your final marks.
MockBank : Tell us something about the preparation for interview.
Alka : Reading of editorials, articles in newspapers and good financial magazines can be of good help.
MOCKBANK : What were the main areas that helped you crack this exam?
Alka : English, reasoning and general knowledge are usually the scoring areas for me.
MOCKBANK : How helpful are the coaching institutes? What is your overall opinion about the coaching institutes?
Alka : If the candidate is not from the math background, then he/she may opt for a preparation through coaching institutions for the sake of initial guidance in the area of math, as math is a tricky yet scoring section. However, self study counts the most in competitive exams.
MOCKBANK : How helpful is one’s background in his/her success?
Alka : Educational background helps to some extent. Candidates from Math and English background usually have a upper hand in scoring in these two sections. Candidates who are not with these educational backgrounds can go through the last year papers and prepare themselves accordingly in an appropriate way.