Friday, 1 March 2013

Microsoft Internship Interview

It was August, 2011 and start of my 3rd year at IITB. It was internship season at IITB and I was desperately looking for a summer internship. Microsoft visited the campus and I was shortlisted (based on CPI) for interviews.

There were no personal interviews. Instead, every batch of 10 students was taken in a classroom and we were given to solve a couple of questions. We were asked the following questions and we had to write working-code on a piece of paper.

1) Coin-change problem. Given unlimited denominations of 1$, 2$, 5$, 10$; find the total number of ways to make change for amount 100$.

2) Given strings a, b, c. Replace all occurrences of string b in a with string c. Note that there is no restriction on lengths of a, b, c.

Somehow, I managed to code up the problems but not very neatly. I asked the interviewer to check my solutions. He stared at the code I had written for a couple of minutes and then asked me some questions and tried to confuse me. He then asked me about the complexity of my code and I was able to estimate it correctly. He then said that I was done with the process and could leave.

I thought that my interview performance was not up to the mark and didn't expect that I could get selected by Microsoft. However, later on, in the night I got a call saying that I had been selected by Microsoft for it's Summer Internship Program. Phew! I was relieved and my worries about getting an summer internship vanished all-together. :)

Key Takeaways
  • You should be able to write neat code at one go. Practice writing actual code (C++/Java) on a piece of paper or white-board.
  • Do some dry runs of your code for some test-cases and check whether it's doing what it's supposed to do.
  • You need to cross-check your code twice and look out for small mistakes that you might commit due to interview pressure.


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