Microsoft is the largest Software company with Windows being the most popular desktop operating system and Office being the most popular productivity suite. Microsoft has always been a dream company for most of the students aiming to become Software Developer, due to its excellent work culture and high pay scale. 

Many students apply for internships in Microsoft India through various programs, but only a few land up getting that Internship.

Microsoft coding interviews are challenging. The questions are difficult, specific to Microsoft, and cover a wide range of topics. The good news is that the right preparation can make a big difference and can help you land a Software Engineer job at Microsoft. 

Let’s see the interview experience of Nikita Rungta from IIIT Hyderabad, Btech in Computer Science + MS by Research in Computer Science  (2016 – 2021) to Full-time Software Developer at Google. Nikita has been a previous Software Developer Intern at Microsoft, Adobe too.

Nikita, how did you prepare for the program?

I have been doing Competitive Programming since my first year. I used to give contests on Codeforces and practice past interview questions on Leetcode. I was regular in competitive programming which helped me to clear coding rounds and interviews.

I prepared OS and CN from GeeksforGeeks and my college notes. 

How long did it take you to prepare? 

I never had any timeline for the preparation, I enjoy DSA and so I have been doing it since my first year of college. And 2-3 months before the interviews, I used to practice from Leetcode. 

Tell us about the application and recruiting process.

This was my on-campus internship process. Microsoft visited our campus and the first stage was resume shortlisting, for which there weren’t any such eligibility criteria except CG requirement (>= 7). The first round was the coding round (algorithms and Data Structure questions). There were 3 questions with easy to moderate difficulty levels. After clearing this round, the next round was a group discussion, where we were divided into random groups and were allocated a mentor. Then we were given two DSA questions and A4 sheets. We were supposed to discuss the solution with a mentor and write a clean code on that sheet.

The next round was the interview round, there were 2 DSA interviews followed by one HR round.

Why do you think you were selected?

I think my rejections helped me in cracking the interviews. I have a decent knowledge of DSA but good communication skills, neat code, and logical thinking helped me in cracking them. I also overcame my nervousness and fear through past interview experiences.

Any failures or rejections? (optional)

My journey was full of failures. Have mentioned them below.

Describe your experience in this program. Could be your story. Feel free to write about anything fun, deep, emotional, or motivating!

My whole experience of getting this internship is pretty exciting.

I am a regular competitive programmer and competitive programming interests me. I have been doing Competitive Programming since my 1st year of college.

So, my interviews began in summer 2019 when I got a mail from Facebook London for interviews and scheduled it for the 2nd week of August 2019. I had 1-1.5 months for the preparation and I started giving Codeforces contests regularly and solving Leetcode problems (medium to difficult level).

So, the first company was Goldman Sachs. I gave its coding round and managed to perform decently. But the same night just after the coding round, I got a fever. And the next morning I woke up having a 101° fever. I went to the hospital and was diagnosed with dengue. I was admitted to the hospital. And I failed to appear for my interviews. And that was my first rejection. Alright, I was happy that I have FB London interviews after 2 days. I was unable to prepare as my condition wasn’t good. But I stayed positive and showed faith in my hard work. I cleared the first round 😀 The next day I had another round. And I screwed it up because of nervousness. I was not able to think of solutions during the interview and most of the time I was lacking focus. I got rejected again.

The next morning I woke up and was shocked to see an interview invite from Google India. I was happy and sad while happy because I got this opportunity and sad because my health was in very poor condition. But luckily interviews were on hangouts. I had back-to-back 2 interviews of 45 mins each. And according to me, I did well. But I still got rejected because in the interviews only reaching the problem’s solution and writing code doesn’t help. You should be able to communicate well and should be able to use precise data structures. Google and Facebook are my dream companies and got rejected from both of them in just 2 days. I was all shattered and lost hope. Then I got to know that Uber is coming after 6-7 days. I felt relaxed as finally, I can get some time to improve my health. I took care of my health and continued preparing. I appeared for the coding round and I cleared it yay! I was all happy and tried to learn from my past interview experiences. I gave the interview and guess what “REJECTED” again because I wasn’t able to solve my interview question this time and I got rejected. And my rejection count reached 4. Feeling sad about it is acceptable but not learning and just crying isn’t. I tried to analyze and realized that even if you don’t have the best solution, try to present your brute force in a good way, at least your interviewer should be able to understand your knowledge of algorithms and data structures.

But after so many rejections, I developed a phobia of interviews. But at the same time, I wanted a good internship, so I had to overcome this phobia.

After a month, De Shaw came to our campus for the internship. And again I cleared the coding round but was rejected in the interviews. But this time my fault was that I didn’t prepare for Operating Systems. This rejection didn’t affect me much, because I was trying to learn from every rejection, and just after that day, I started studying OS and DB too.

After this Microsoft came, And finally, I got the offer.

This offer meant a lot to me because I faced many rejections and health issues, but I still learned a lot in the whole process. I didn’t lose hope and tried to give my best.

After finishing this internship I got a PPO offer from Microsoft and I also got an offer from Google FTE 2021.

What are some of the tips that you would like to give?

1. Don’t learn DSA just before interviews. Try doing it from the beginning. Try all varieties of questions from easy to difficult with a timer.

2. Don’t lose hope after rejections, there is always something better planned for you.

3. Give mock interviews as much as possible to improve communication and nervousness.

Any advice for future applicants in the same program?

Opportunities to find our deeper powers come when life seems most challenging – Joseph Campbell”.

We can take interviews as a challenge and should always try to learn from our rejections. Getting an interview itself is a big challenge and so rejection doesn’t mean you are a loser. Always do what you are afraid to do and try to overcome your fears.

Nikita is interested in guiding and mentoring future applicants. You can connect with her on LinkedIn here.

To sum it up, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that “Practice makes a man perfect!”. To land that internship offer, you have to work harder each passing day, make sure that you are utilizing your time the correct way. Keep practicing DSA from your early semester, keep a hold on your core subjects as well. Believe in Yourself, Be Confident and you will end up getting that offer.

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