Jimmy Schementi

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Microsoft Interview

21 Mar 2005

In the air to Seattle

So, we've been in the air now for a little less than 40 minutes and all I have to say is "First class is crazy". That being said, this has been my day sofar.

I woke up at 8am, only getting 3 hours of sleep, and finished packing and headed to my 9am class. We talked about State Searching; just skimming the surface of AI. After my class I immediately called for a cab and went to the trainstation. The trainride wasn't too bad, nothing out of the ordinary, except I remembered I left my camera at school! After getting into South Station I bought 2 disposable cameras and then navigating the T to the Airport. At Logan I got my ticket and treated myself to a burger at one of the bar & grills in the airport. After that I actually went through Airport security without being randomly checked or beeping a gagillion times. This was approximately 2PM, so I needed something to do for like 2 hours until my 4:10PM flight. Yes, you guessed it, I worked ... found an outlet at the gate for my sad uncharged laptop.

We borded pretty much on time and I found my seat on the plane ... 4D! Woohoo first class. When I walked in a hostess took my coat from me and hung it up =). They also got us drinks before we lifted off! ... and when the host asked me if I wanted a drink, he said "Mr. Schementi, would you like something to drink?" Ah, they memorized my name! We just got served another "round" of drinks and mixed nuts and prezles. I heart Seattle!

At the hotel

After landing in Detroit there was a slight layover before getting back on the plane ... same plane, same gate ... to go to Seattle. Oh! The detroit airport has the train/railcar actually going through the terminal where you can see it ... it looked cool (got a picture of that too). Anyway, so on the flight to Seattle the served us dinner ... OMG. Chicken with mushrooms and pasta, chicken salad, a buttered roll, grapes and a strawberry, and a piece of chocolate cake! And no, I did not take a picture of that ... only I will know how amazing that meal was =).

So we got into Seattle 9:30pm their time (12:30pm my time). I got a Chrystler Sebring ... nice car! So, by the time I got my rent-a-car and stuff ... and ontop of getting lost in Seattle, I got to the hotel around 11:45! And yes, I'm crazy enough to still write! It's an inn, so not quite a motel but not quite a hotel ... but they have a pool and I don't have a bathing suit! Gonna have to buy one ... haha. But, they gave me a smoking room! AH! Oh well, I'm gonna get it changed tomorrow, so no biggie. There's wireless internet in the room ... yeah.

OK, I think it's time for bed, gonna wake up at 7 or 8 for the continental breakfast =)

Interview

So I woke up the next morning around 7:30 and just got dressed quick and grabbed a bagel and a couple other things for breakfast. After breakfast I sat down in the lobby until 10:30am copying every project I've ever done over to my jump drive to bring with me to the interview. Then I showered, got dressed, and prepared everything I needed for the interview, and around 11:30ish I left for the Microsoft Campus.

I didn't get lost! Pulled into the parking lot to building 19 around 11:50ish and checked in at the front desk. They gave me a nametag and I waited while drinking coffee and watching basketball.

At 12:30 I met Raquel, my technical recruiting coordinator. She led me to her office where the my first interview happened. Nothing crazy, just basic questions and such. After that interview I got on the recruit shuttle (someone just driving around recruits) to my first interview with a project manager (PM) at building 110.

My first interview was with Graham, a PM on Customer Relationship Management (CRM). He met me in the lobby and brought me to his office. He started by asking me about my SMPL Technologies work, and eventually had me redesign the software I wrote for that job to be able to detect problems and try to thing what "applications" this design could also be used for. Then he had me design an algorithm for identifying the number of working days between two dates ... and interestingly complicated problem. After that he pulled out this critical thinking question:

"There's an island that is only populated by blue eyed and brown eyed people. It is taboo to talk about your eye color on this island, and to know your own eye color is the biggest shame and you must run away from the island during the night. Lets assume all the people on the island can not tell their own eye color by looking in a mirror or water, and also lets assume all the people on the island are rational people. One day a foreigner lands on the island and says "At least one of you has blue eyes" and then leaves. The questions is after how many nights do all the people on the island run away."

Yeah, answer it and ... umm ... I'll be proud of you =)

My 2nd interview was with Jan, and we talked about games for a while. He had me talk about how I would go about making shadows look better in a game if we had 2 weeks to do it. Then he asked me a linked list question: if all your given is a pointer to a node in a linked list can you safely remove that node?

My 3rd interview was with Max in building 30, and we talked about IE vs Firefox as just a side discussion. Then he asked me to design a coffee machine that operated in outer space ... without air or gravity. That was an interesting exercise. Then he asked me to write an algorithm to detect loops in a linked list. After I did then he asked me to make it better.

My 4th interview was with Barry in building 110 again, and we started off with a design exercise which was to identify the use cases for designing software to operate an elevator. After that we talked about Queue theory and its applications to software engineering, and then we talked about future technology outlooks.

So yeah, it was a crazy day.

Flight back

That evening I drove to Seattle and around Redmond, and interesting place. I got taco bell for dinner and hung out. The next morning I woke up at 5 thinking it was 8 ... and i thought I was late ... then i realized it's 8am eastern time =P. Eventually I woke up, packed, had breakfast, and drove over the the airport ... and didn't get lost! Then I dropped off the car and hung out at a coffee shop working on my laptop until my noon flight. During the flight to Denver they served lunch, which was pulled roast beef and corn bread, salad, and chocolate cake. During the layover between Denver and Boston I hung out at a bar and watched a basketball game.

After I got into Boston I took the T to Felicia's around 8. We hung out with her friends for a bit, but everyone called it an early night since they had been drunk for 2 nights in a row (St Patrick's Day), so we turned in too ... which was good cause all that flying exausted me. The next day we went to the dining hall for breakfast/lunch, then walked around Boston doing Felicia's chores and such. I took the 6pm train from South station the next day and now I'm here! I've got a big project to do for AI and alot of work for my IQP, so yeah. That's my weekend!

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