Friday, August 25, 2006

A short note

Hi friends,
I've written the Cisco experiences as it was! Atleast it would be a fun thing to read some months hence. So, people who are interested to know how I prepared, go to the first post which might not be much but it'll give you a fair idea. For those who want to know how the actual interview was, read the second post and for those interested in knowing about the celebrations and scouring for tips and tricks( atleast those I followed), check out the third post. Do tell me your suggestions and comments on these posts.

My Cisco Experiences - I

Hi friends,

The good news first! I got an internship in Cisco along with 12 of my collegemates( including 3 of my department mates and 1 of my classmates who is a whiz in Linux( Balaaji, u got that??) ). I'm also happy that one of my friends has got an internship along with me. She has been with me from my 11th standard and I've never seen a person more patient( remember, I need loads of patience??), more objective in her views and more task oriented. I've also never seen a better handwriting ( can anyone write as if it has been printed as in a book? She can) and have fallen in love with her handwriting right in 11th standard(S, do u remember the first day I saw ur note and stood as if lightning had struck me and I kept on looking at ur note in awe?) and am still going strong even after nearly six years! I could go on and on about her!

Now comes the great news! I got my job confirmed in Cisco with 4 of my collegemates( one guy from csc and 3 guys from SW EEE, making me the only girl into Cisco!) Sadly, my friends in my dept couldn't make it. But knowing them and their skills and innate talents, I'm sure we would all end up as collegues. Or, who knows? Some other lucky company might seize them too! Ok! How did the recruitment process go? Here is an account! I was in the mood of getting a dual after I came back from the Tanjore trip. So, I was ready( mentally, whether I was ready with the knowledge needed for that? That is a different question. And a very difficult one to answer! I still think I don't know enough to be worthy of the money I would be getting. But that is an entirely different issue!) I decided I would sit for any company that would come next. The only criteria I had was that there should not be any bond or any such stuff. Luckily, Cisco came the next week itself! I came to know of it on sunday and I had two days for prep. I wasn't interested in sitting for Honeywell internships because I wanted to finish the entire dual in one shot and not split into internship first and then a job! The main reason was I didn't have time.

I enlisted my friend's help in preparation.She is a genius in helping me find out where I am at my best, where I should improve and where I should really sit with the book( or a whiz like her!) and start from the basics! R helped me to segregate stuff into what I can breeze through even at the eleventh hour( just one!), what I can put off till the last day(a very small pile) and what I had to do then and there! ( a very large pile compared to the other two. I had neglected my academics for quite some time now!) So sweet of her, she had come out of her celebrations (she is into Delphi, she had got in only last week) and helped me find my footing from Salem.

Then, I attacked the largest pile one by one. Though I was tempted by novels by Anuthama( a very famous Tamil novelist), I vowed that I won't touch a book until I'm done with Cisco's test, whatever be the result! That was a very huge motivator( scary motivator in fact! :) )and I started work seriously. And, R has an uncanny sense of finding out exactly what is it that I learnt and bluffed my way through even when she is miles away! Guess that is part of the friendship package! ;) She somehow helped me dissolve a part of the large pile. By then, it was tuesday evening! I only had time to do the small pile and the one subject. So, I conveniently forgot about the remaining part of the large pile and went on to the small pile. Here too, I studied as if I do for my semesters ( where I study sincerely for an hour, watch tv or laze around for an hour and eat and sleep for an hour! That has pulled me through my entire college life! I have no idea of changing that pattern!) and my mother thought that the test had been postponed to some day next week and that was why I was lazing around! ( I should tell something about my parents here. They are very hardworking and have given me loads of freedom and allow me to innovate and experiment all I want! So, she wouldn't even mind if I had got it into my mind that I had to watch a movie before every test! ( I even tried that in my third semester. Sadly, that didn't yield good results!)). Then, I finished the small pile and went to catch some beauty sleep.

to be continued.....

My Cisco Experiences - II


I then went the next day dressed up for the test and interview. I also had to meet a friend of mine. So, I thought "Atleast the dress won't go waste either way". We had a ppt in Assembly hall ( I should tell something here about the people from Cisco! In most of the ppts I've seen, the ppt would start atleast half an hour later than the scheduled time! And, it would be so unprofessional! But Cisco started it exactly at 9 and that was a good impression formed!) . The ppt was good and I was having fun with DS( from IT) and Pi( from EEE) (these girls are hardworking and brilliant. They came the whole journey with me to the interview but couldn't make it! Guess a better company awaits them!) right in the second row under the glaring eyes of the placement officer and all the prs(placement representatives of each class!). Then the ppt ended and we had a test for about an hour where we had questions from aptitude, OS, microprocessors, data structures(my weak point!!) and so much more. The test was ok but I felt that I couldv'e done better.I was even in the idea of going and meeting my friend as planned because I was very unsure of the written test.

Pi came and discussed some network topics with me. By then, my own classmates had gone to class and I was done with lunch too! So, I thought that I might not get it and why waste my attendance and why not atleast have my physical presence in class? So, I went to class and was sitting there thumbing through my brand new copy of Tanenbaum( a networking book every final year student worth his/her salt should know... And I hadn't known even a quarter of it. That is the case now too!) Then, I got the golden message from Andrew, my pr( A very accomodative and hardworking guy who can stand the whims and fancies of everyone, right from the placement officer to the last person in our class! We are lucky we got you and Ramanan, Andrew! Hats off to you!). He just said that my slot was at 9 in the night. Soon I was asking all details about others who got through and their respective slots. He said that Aravind, Balaji, Sharanyaa and Srikant were in along with me! My joy knew no bounds because all these people are really good at what they are(though some of them dont know or accept it!) and I was sure that our dual count was going to increase by 5.( I'm very particular that our dual count increases quickly! Would like to beat our seniors record and make them proud of us! That is how PSG Tech is! That is our strength!)

Andrew then came to class and rescued us from the normal life and then there was no looking back! Balaji's slot was at 5.30, Aravind and Srikant had it at 8.15 and Sharu had it at 9.30 the next day! And I was slated at 9 pm. Pi was to go in at 3.30 and DS at 4.30. The guys went to their room, Sharu to her home and me to the waiting hall. Pi came there, all ready for the interview and we discussed a bit more about networks. Then, finally,I went home with DV and she went in for the interview. I came home and had a good sleep! (Don't ask me how I managed that in the tension that I had! I have one saving grace. I can sleep in any situation if I make up my mind to! (But that is the difficult part! says my heart knowingly!))

I got up at 5.30 and called up Venkatesan and my friends who were out of the interview about the general questions and their experiences. I then thumbed through the electron devices book( it takes about a month, minimum, to learn it! And I was done in half an hour! You can imagine how fast I would've gone through the details. It was a waste of half an hour. But I did it anyway because ED was a larger chunk of my large pile and I would atleast have the false satisfaction of finishing it. Why deny this small happiness to my own self when I would have to bank on my innate skills to pull me through the next few hours? Then, I got ready and my dad dropped me in college. I went to the placement cell and saw a few of my classmates there. Not a girl was in sight! I sighed and sat down with my stuff. However, I didn't have lots of time to brood! Srikant and Aravind went in and then myself and Karthik from IT were called in for the HR interview which consisted of an essay(wow!!) and a few questions!( I could manage HR). The HR was good and I wrote a good essay( that was the fun part of the interview! One in which I was apt and could do a good work.) HR was at 8.30 and the lady (Aparna ) was sweet! She was very talented and diplomatic too!

I finally came out at 9.00 PM and was sent immediately to technical interview where I had Ekanth and Ram interviewing me. It was ok. They concentrated onto projects I had done, C, networking basics and data structures( my Waterloo!! I made scary mistakes here! Hadn't I done others in a fair manner, they wouldv'e thrown me out! Because data structures is one field where you prove your analytical ability and it requires a certain type of mind( to think in terms of data structures) and loads of practice/exposure. About the first, I don't know if I have it and about the second, I never really had the time to do it. So, I was in a fix about this! People reading this post and planning for their interviews, please please spend loads of time getting your data structures right, right from the algorithms to the actual way of writing the code in any language of your choice! ( C is good, C++ is very good, Java is cool!!!)) Then, technical interview was over in about 50 minutes and I was out of the room by 9.50. Thankfully, Srikant and AK2 were there and they escorted me safely to the gate and waited along with me until my dad came along.

I reached home at about 10.10, gave a report of what happened to my family, R, Sharu and others and fell into bed thanking my lucky stars that I hadn't atleast messed up the interview( as I have a habit of doing!!) It was a dreamless sleep ( I usually have loads of interesting dreams!) and I woke up the next day and felt that I had given it my best shot and the rest rested with the Supreme Power! I then got ready for the routine life. Suddenly, I had a call from Andrew asking me to come for ANOTHER interview at 9.45. He didn't know what the interview was for. But he said that only I was called back. I started having my own doubts if the interview scene I had felt was only my dream and if I was going to face the actual interview only now. So, I checked the golden message Andrew had sent me and got it confirmed from my family that it was not a dream( because, had it been a dream, they wouldn't have known the details, right?). Then, I got confused as to why I was being called back. Then, I got scared thinking it might be another technical session( I was lucky the first time, but would I be the same way every time???). I then got heartened thinking that may be the HR personnel wanted to hear my golden voice (this is too much! even I know it) and that was why she called. Finally, I was puzzled and it was an enigma I had to break.

I went back to the placement office, saw Sharu finish her rounds and was chatting with her! By now, it was so enigmatic that I would've just walked in and asked them why they had wanted me in again. There were so many possibilities and my brain was working overtime producing ever so many! I also confused DS by telling all about it and scared the poor girl out of her wits. Then, finally, they called me. It was another technical round and I floundered because of my brain being tired from the overwork it had done earlier( remember finding the possibilities??) and answered incoherently. Had it been my first, then I would have kissed the entire show a good bye! Thankfully, it was my second and the panel understood that I wasn't in my element and gave me a glove hand approach. I came out and lost hope! I also was consoling Sharu because she was also not satisfied with her performance. Once out of the room, my brain started working! ( I wonder if it was the room or if my brain needed some startup time!) I made so many statistics and probability calculations and tried to convince Sharu that she would get through. So, I didn't have loads of time to think about myself.

to be continued....

My Cisco Experiences - III


Now came the results. All of us were happy. I called up my family, told them and messaged my friends. Then, we went in for lunch along with the company to Alankar Grande. There, there were four of us (ladies??) and Aparna ate salads and rotis. J( csc) had had her lunch in hostel already because she never imagined her being selected. That left Sharu and me. Both of us were very hungry. But Sharu ate a bit of noodles and finished her lunch. I didn't want to disappoint myself. So I tried out a bit of everything. I didn't have too much of nonveg because I didn't have proper company and because most of the dishes were in mutton( I don't eat mutton!) Also, I stopped with one round on grounds of good manners. ( Come on! When none in your table eat, you too lose appetite!) But I compensated for it with the desserts. I tasted everything (except Kesari, that was too ordinary for some occasion so romantic!) and enticed Sharu too to try them out. We had a good fill and I suggested coffee in the end. If looks could kill, then Sharu's look then would have done me in :) So, I skipped coffee. Not that I was too particular because I liked the Strawberry icecream flavor lingering in my mouth and didn't want to lose it too soon. Then, I filled in a form and we said a good bye to them and came back to college.

We then went to class and then the department and shared our joy with our teachers. Then, I came home and rang up my near and dear and told them the good news. Then, I came on the net and scrapped all my friends on orkut. And, that is the end of a long and lovely story!

Now, what is it that I feel? More than being happy, I feel sated. I'm satisfied that I've done my bit in increasing the dual count of our department and that I'm done with the dual placements. I can now concentrate onto the hundred and one things calling for me. I can now atleast share my experiences with others so that I could do my best for their success too. I have learnt a few important things from this episode and hope to cherish it close to my heart! TCS was a different experience because that was my first job interview and any first job interview would always be special! This was unique in the sense that I was mentally prepared for it!( I was not for DeShaw or Goldman Sachs and that has made all the difference)

Here are a few tips for those who are going to attend their interviews:

1) The interview is a mind game altogether. So, be prepared mentally and you would have won half the game already.

2) Find out the areas which you are passionate about and learn the best you can in each of them.

3) Also, for people trying their dual placements, be selective about the companies you are sitting for because you should be strong in their required area. Only if their needs and your skills match, the companies would seriously consider you.

4) Do some good projects in your areas of interest: it might be wireless, networks, electronics, vlsi or anything. But be sure that you know what you are doing! Never keep any projects done by your seniors or your other classmates because of two reasons: First, only if YOU do the project would you understand the intricacies of it and can talk about it in the interview. This is a sure way to impress your interviewers as they know the problems that might crop up as you proceed in the project. They can smell a fake project miles away! Second and the more important reason: Only if YOU do the project can you learn the subject well. And, that gives you immense confidence in your talents and abilities. And, mind you, confidence is the key when it comes to interviews. The idea of saying that a project could be learnt and presented is total crap as only the creator would know the whys and why nots. You might escape in some situations, but it is better not to take a risk!

5) Be cool on the day of the test. Don't cram anything!

6) Knowing about the company profile is very important. If you cannot find out the info, rope in some good friends who would be patient and unrelenting in their search for this task. Enlist their help in this.

7) Be friendly to the interviewers. After all, they have not come to eat us up alive. They have come to recruit people and they have to select the best out of the lot! Make sure that you prove that you are the best of what they need!

8) You might be great in Electronics or Wireless. But, that wouldn’t help while attending companies searching for your programming skills. So, accentuate your strengths accordingly!

9) Be good to yourself and allow for small failures on the way!

10) Remember one thing! This is not the only company on earth and this is not the end of life. So, take things as they come and enjoy as much as possible!

Here are a few people who have helped me scale this peak! DV and AB who have reposed faith in me even when I have lost all hopes about myself! They have lent me a patient ear whenever I’ve asked for it and have helped me keep my cool even in trying times ; Ishu, my sister, who had knocked some sense into me every now and then; my family for standing by all the decisions that I’ve taken regarding placements; my friends for helping me in more ways than one could imagine and finally, God for giving the finishing touch to this entire episode.

Do tell me your experiences about the interview process and if this post has been useful for you. Also, send in your general comments. All are welcome ;) (no pun intended!)

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Tagged again!

I've been tagged again albeit by a different person now. This too is interesting. Read on...

10 Favorites:

Favorite Season:Autumn
Favorite Sport:Shuttle
Favorite Time:Evening(especially sunset)
Favorite Month:October( I was born then!:))
Favorite Actor:Surya, Sharukh and Vishal
Favorite Actress:Kajol and Aishwarya Rai
Favorite Ice Cream:Butterscotch
Favorite Food: Anything my gran prepares!
Favorite Drink:Strawberry milkshake
Favorite Place:Any place with my family and friends

9 Currents:

Current Feeling:good
Current O/S:Win XP(Pro)
Current Windows Open:Yahoo! mailbox,orkut,gmail and this.
Current Drink:Milk
Current Time:7:17 AM
Current Mobile Used:Nokia 6125( my first and best flip model! Envy of others! Pride of the owner! ;-) )
Current Show on TV:Morning asanas
Current Thought:Oh! I have to go to college.
Current Cloth:salwar

8 Firsts:

First Kiss: My mom
First Crush: Not to be revealed!
First Computer:Compaq
First Vehicle I Drove:My tricycle( I still remember the red one with two seats, one for me and the other for my baby sister!)
First Job:Not yet
First Movie I Watched in Pulse Global's print:Wats that? I've never heard such a thing
First Pet:none. I kinda prefer animals to be in their own places. It is too much responsibility to take care of them.

7 Lasts:

Last Chai:Last week, made by my aunt.
Last Movie:Imsai arasan 23am pulikesi( a humorous one!)
Last time I drove:some months back
Last Beauty Parlor Visit:Three weeks Back.. to pick my sister ;)
Last website visited:Gmail
Last Software Installed:TMS320C5402 Code composer studio version 3.1
Last Pill I Had:Dont remember... It was a long time back.

6 Have You Evers:

Have You Ever Broken the Law:Would crossing the road when the vehicles are about to start count?
Have You Ever Been Drunk:NO
Have You Ever Climbed a Tree:Yes,a mango tree near my house. Happens every year usually!
Have You Ever Kissed someone whom u dont know:Nope
Have You Ever been in the middle/close to a Gunfire/Bomblast:Yes. When there was a bomb blast in GH near my school in February 1998
Have You Ever Broken Anyone's Heart:I dont know

5 Things:

Things You Can Hear Now:Keyboard Hitting,Fan, my cell.
Things on Your Computer Table:CDs, my wallet, some books
Things on Your Bed:My pillows.
Things You ate today:Nothing yet.
Things in Mind:DSD observation and some mails I am waiting replies for.

4 Places U've been today:
My bedroom, drawing room, kitchen and garden... ( Hey! I woke up just an hour back! I can't possibly go to the moon and back, rite? ;))

3 People U can tell anything To:
My parents, Ayshu, Vaishu and a few other friends

2 Choices:
Black or White:Black
Hot or Cold:Cold

1 Thing you want to do before u die:
Go round the world, have fun in all the exotic and not so exotic places, meet different people, have different adventures and come out unscathed with all my loved ones.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

The “I” post

Tagged by sunshine

I am thinking- of ways and plans of spending friendship day (today being a Sunday and all that) with my friends from school, college and colony.

I said- this to all my friends: “Better to enjoy life and do what you feel is right rather than let go of the chance and crib and wonder if you should have done it anyway.”

I want- to get into a top ranked university, finish my MS, get a job and start my own concern. And get married somewhere along the line! (Whew! What a wish list!)

I wish- I knew how to be more patient, more adept at solving problems (of the heart and otherwise!) and take people as they are and not expect anything from them. And cook sumptuous dishes!

I miss- Nila, my niece.

I hear- Kanda Naal Muthalaai ( from a film of the same title).

I wonder- How my final year and the next two years of my life are going to be(where
would I be, what would I be doing and so on and so forth)

I regret- nothing as yet. Given another chance, I would live my life just the same as this time.

I am- a person who can’t stand indolence and lackadaisical approach. And, I hate hypocrites.

I dance- bharathanatyam (when I feel like it - I feel that it is fun and prayer, a cleanser and exercise all rolled into one.) and just shake for songs like Karuppinazhagu!

I sing- any song which is on my mind at that time (and there is some always!). And, I sing well too.

I cry- only once, when my granny died. Rest, I don’t think anything is worth my tears.

I am not- very good at making and maintaining friends. Its kinda difficult to understand me and accept me as I am with all that I do and don’t do. That leaves me with very few very close friends.

I write- because it makes me happy.

I confuse- myself when I have too many choices and don’t know which one is better (Sometimes, even two is too much! And being a Libran doesn’t help either J)

I need-my personal space and time in all my relationships. I’ll run away if I was bound to anyone throughout the year, 24x7. I just can’t stand it.

I should- learn cooking and driving, especially on highways.

I finish- any book that I set my eyes on. I read any book irrespective of the topic. I once read the entire collection of law books I once found at my friend’s sister’s place.

I tag- anyone who wishes to tag himself/herself. Actually, it is fun. Try it out!