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Program Manager Intern

I'm applying for a Internship at microsoft this coming summer, and have the on-campus interview coming up in a few weeks for a Program Manager position.  I know there have recently been a number of topics on this position in general, but I was just wondering if you have any tips or things to think about to prepare for the interview that haven't been mentioned.  I was told what I need to work on most is thinking through design problems (how to build something for the blind etc . . . ).  Do you have any advice on this or just any general tips?  Thanks

Monday, March 8, 2004

#1 top tip: make sure when you're asked a design question, you spend some time delving into who the thing is going to be used for, and what the design constraints are, before you start talking about possible designs. And then keep in mind that all design is about tradeoffs and talk endlessly about tradeoffs... there's no One True Design, there are just better and worse tradeoffs.

Don't stress about it too much... studying never helped anyone get a job at Microsoft. I sure know that when I tried to coach my friends so they could get jobs at Microsoft it just didn't help :)

Joel Spolsky
Fog Creek Software
Monday, March 8, 2004

Make sure you get a good night's sleep the night before your interview. You are going to have to think a lot throughout your interview day. A rested and working mind is your best friend! 

Good luck!

Monday, March 8, 2004

I second the good night's sleep. I had an 8 hour interview there. And after all that, "Everyone really liked you, but we think you need more experience. We'll be in touch in about a year." Uh....yeah...I'll be waiting by the phone for that call!

Not a Microsoftie!
Tuesday, March 9, 2004

Everything above is good advice. The most important thing is that you go in relaxed, since it will likely be a very challenging day. Go look around the campus the day before if you have time, it might relax your nerves.  Think about dressing down a bit. The people wearing suits in building 19 didn't look terribly comfortable...

In terms of the content, definitely start by looking around on Google. There are lots of good resources out there. For a program manager loop the design questions will play a big part. Joel's advice is exactly right. In addition, think in advance about any prior (assumedly school) projects you may have worked on.  They usually provide good fodder for discussion about how you work, especially as part of a team.  Also, spend some time thinking like a software designer.  Look at some application X, doesn't even have to be MS.  What do you like about X, what would you change, etc?

Best of luck, make sure to explore Seattle and have some fun while you're there.

Tuesday, March 9, 2004

I was interviewed by Microsoft a while ago.

Tip #1: get a good night's sleep before going to the interview, so you are in your best shape

Tip #2: when you read software design books, pay attention to all the examples, including absurdly simple ones including elevators

The team that interviewed me seemed to have an obsession with elevators - how would you design an elevator for children - for example.

I didn't get into MS, because I didn't follow tip #1.

However, I wasn't too upset. In fact, I didn't want to go and work in the US, because I have several friends and parents in my country.

Romanian developer
Tuesday, March 9, 2004

Whatever you do, if you get put in the Marriott Courtyard Bellevue, don't eat the eggs. I had them for breakfast the day before my interview, got food poisoning and threw up in a litter bin outside Building 19. Probably not the way to go about making yourself known. Doh!

Dan Maharry
Friday, March 12, 2004

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