Simran Singh is a recent graduate of the University of Minnesota with a Master’s in Business Analytics, and also holds a Bachelor’s in Computer Science from the Vellore Institute of Technology. She recently secured a position with JP Morgan Chase & Co. as an Analytics Solutions Associate in fraud prevention after having sent out 4,200 job applications.
Last year, Interview Query partnered with The University of Minnesota, offering Interview Query Premium to its students. She took the time to talk more about her background and job hunt experience with us, and how Interview Query helped her land her dream job!
Continue reading to learn more about Simran’s journey.
I graduated from the Vellore Institute of Technology with a degree in Computer Science in 2018, then joined Accenture as a software developer where I worked in operations and consulting. I soon moved on to my Master’s in Business Analytics at the University of Minnesota, and I graduated in May 2023.
It was a one-year program, but it was very rigorous, and it taught us a lot about data science in a very short time. It’s effectively a two-year program condensed into one, so around 45 credits in ten months, starting in the summer. We had assignments every 6 hours— it was pretty intense.
At university, we worked with different companies during our Master’s, which I really appreciated. During summer and fall, we had live cases, where we took what we learned in the course, and applied it to real projects with companies.
We also had something called “Experiential Learning” in the final spring semester, which went even deeper with companies, and I think all this hands-on learning explains why our program ranks so highly. It was in the spring that we also got access to both Interview Query and Case Coach from our career center, which was super useful when we started interviewing.
In total, I applied to 4,200 jobs.
For my final role at Chase, I applied to 68 jobs in total. I had a referral for every role I applied to at Chase. I had a referral from the Vice President, and then an Executive Director. Most of this was through networking on LinkedIn.
For Chase, the person who referred me sent me some job roles, and the position I have now was one of them. I interviewed for two more roles before this one, but they hired someone internally for both. But in this role, I applied a month before I got the interview.
I studied a lot of SQL from Interview Query, and that’s what helped me get this job. In most interviews, the SQL questions were exactly like what I solved on Interview Query, and that was really helpful.
I loved the Data Analytics course because it really showcased everything, from the basics through advanced work. There is a real lack of data science case studies out there, so IQ really filled a gap.
In the end, before interview day, I would always go to Interview Query because I knew that everything would be in one place, so I didn’t have to search around.
In a lot of interviews, they were asking about A/B testing and causal mechanisms because those things are important at companies like Starbucks, Uber, or Lyft. In one interview, I failed miserably because I didn’t have anything on A/B testing. With so many companies I was talking to, it felt like I couldn’t focus on my preparation.
The statistics course from Interview Query helped me because they asked me how to sample data. I started with sampling bias, and then I spoke about different sampling methods. I think Interview Query played a big role. In my United interview, I probably came across questions on causal and lift curves.
At Chase, during the first round, they asked me about samples, sampling bias, and then about performance metrics— which ones to use, as well as questions around precision and recall. They asked about the F1 score— how to calculate it, and about the formula, as well as how good I am in SAS and SQL.
They also asked about my previous credit card fraud detection project. I had done a home credit loan prediction from Kaggle for a predictive analytics class, and I had put it on my resume. They asked about it because it was relevant to fraud analytics.
I answered everything using the STAR format, and I was to the point, which the interviewer appreciated. We also had a chance to speak about his family, that his daughter studied at the same undergrad university as me. It was nice to just be able to talk freely and understand if I was a good culture fit. This is the only interview where I acted like I already had the job.
Within three hours the recruiter told me I would be moving on to a round with the Managing Director!
The MD was a Harvard MBA grad, and it made discussing the business case study a daunting prospect. However, he literally didn’t even ask me about the case study. He just straight up stated, “The hiring manager wants to hire you,” so I didn’t stop him. After that, it was just a conversation.
He was asking me about what I did in college, why business analytics, and other normal behavioral things. He started telling me what I’d be doing for the next two years, and as he talked through the pipeline I already knew I got the job.
There were supposed to be three rounds, but when everything was going so well, he just canceled the third round and hired me.
I couldn’t control my happiness, that I had finally gotten a little lucky with all my effort!
One thing I did differently was use a website called SkillSyncer. What it does is it matches the job description to your resume and suggests what keywords and changes you need to make to get shortlisted.
I used a lot of AI to write my resume and SkillSyncer to match it with job descriptions so that it can pass the ATS system because that’s the most important thing.
Other than that, whatever Jay from Interview Query told us was, I think, the best advice we got in the market. I told a lot of people to follow Jay because he actually helped me quite a bit.
I also followed a lot of career counselors on LinkedIn who were talking about how to land jobs for international students, and I followed some recruiters on Instagram. I followed a recruiter (from One Consulting) as well because he had worked for Google and Amazon for about twelve years. He gives ideas about how to network and what to do in the job search, like how to negotiate salary.
Career centers usually tell you to network and build a relationship with people for a long time to get a referral, but I think students should more so be doing that to uncover jobs that are not posted on websites.
Everyone is busy, right? Everyone wants someone to ask them directly. So, like, this guy who works at Google was from my senior cohort in 2022, and he told me, like, skip it, skip the small talk.
Just straight up ask, “I need a referral. Could you help me with it?” That’s it. I have my eye on a role at your company. Maybe Google, Amazon, Meta, or whatever, and then just write “could you give me a referral?” Do not be afraid to make the ask!
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