Friday, 6 September 2013

Strand Life Sciences - Algorithm Test

Strand Life Sciences offered work profile of software engineering in their Bangalore office, during 2012 placements at IITB.

Duration: 1 hour
Type: Pen-and-paper based

1.  void star(int i) {
if (i > 1) {
cout << "hello" << endl;

  int main() {
How many times does "hello" gets printed?

2. Rank functions (3/2)^n, 2^n, n^3, n! in order of increasing Big-O

3. Find maximum number of partitions in which the 2D-plane is divided by n lines. Extend this argument to V-shaped figures instead of lines. Assume the V-shaped figures extend infinitely

4. Given 2 strings, check if they are anagrams

5. Find all permutations of a string

6. Find maximum sum contiguous sub-sequence in an array of +ve and -ve numbers

Saturday, 31 August 2013

Deutsche Bank - Analyst Interview

This interview was given for Analyst position for the Tradefinder desk at Deutsche Bank, Mumbai. Basically, this position involves developing trading models and working with data through coding in MATLAB. The following questions were asked across 2 interview rounds:-

1) Monty Hall problem

2) We toss 4 unbiased coins. We know that one of the 4 coins lands a head. What is the probability that all coins land a head ? (Ans: *1/15*)

3) When you die, you see 2 doors. 1 leads into heaven and one leads into hell. Both doors are guarded by 2 guards, there are no signs that say heaven or hell, you are allowed to ask 1 guard 1 question only. The guard guarding heaven always tells the truth the guard guarding hell always tells a lie. What question should you ask to figure out the door that leads to heaven?

4) Compare Nested Queries vs Joins for SQL queries. Which would perform better and in what cases?

5) About Dijkstra algorithm and it's complexity

6)  Minimum spanning tree algorithm

7) About breadth first traversal algorithm (BFS)

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Twitter Interview Questions

I came across some Twitter's personal interview questions asked for it's Software Engineering position during some discussion:

1) Find whether a string contains a contiguous palindromic substring in O(n) time. Can you solve the problem in O(1) time?

2) In an array, find the element which appears more than 50% of the time. Find element which appears more than 33% of the time in the array.

3) What is a distributed hashtable? How to make data persistent, prevent data loss, and still keep the access efficient?

4) What are the key differences between the data structures: Hashtable, Array, LinkedList, BST. For what kind of queries would a BST perform better than Hashtable?

5) How will you find the most frequently searched queries on Google in the last minute/last hour/last day from among a dynamic stream of queries?

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Must Watch Movies for Finance Enthusiasts

Yes, you read it right! This post is going to be about movies that will entertain you as well as enhance your knowledge about the finance industry in specific and about capitalism in general. I've watched a good number of finance movies/documentaries purely out of interest and I find following 10 movies to be the best picks for my finance movies portfolio:

Wallstreet (1987) 
This is one of the first hollywood drama to be made about Wallstreet. The main theme of this oscar-winning movie is of insider trading and illegal means to get an edge in the stock markets. Here is one of the epic dialogues by protagonist Gordon Gekko in the movie:

"Greed is right, greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms; greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge has marked the upward surge of mankind. And greed, you mark my words, will not only save Teldar Paper, but that other malfunctioning corporation called the USA"

Enron (2005)
This documentary depicts the collapse of the 7th largest US firm, Enron, to bankruptcy in less than a year. My favorite character in the documentary is Jeff Skilling, the CEO of Enron. He is shown as a person who takes risk, purely for the thrill of it. 

Too big to fail (2011)
Based on the events leading to the financial crisis of 2008. The movie has characters with actual names and real-life events. The movie gets it's name from the fact that US banks have grown so huge that their failure will lead to collapse of the global economic system i.e. they are Too big to fail.

Inside Job (2010)
It provides a comprehensive analysis of the global financial crisis of 2008. It presents exclusive research and interviews of key politicians, journalists, academics and finance people. The movie concludes that finance industry has gone rogue and has corrupted politics, financial regulation and academia.

Overdose (2010)
This documentary traces the origins of the financial crisis and explores the similarities in policy lapse of financially unstable states like Greece, Iceland and even the USA.

Rogue Trader (1999)
The real story of trader Nick Leeson, who singlehandedly led to the bankruptcy of Barings Bank, one of Britian's oldest and important bank.

Margin Call (2011)
A fiction movie depicting key employees at a bank 24 hours before the financial crash.

Zeitgeist: Addendum (2008)
This documentary is an excellent critique of our "fractional reserve" debt-money system and the "Federal Reserve System" that controls it.

Freakonomics (2010)
Freakonomics is a collection of documentaries that explores human behavior in various real-world scenarios using the science of economics. An example which is presented in the movie: Can you improve students academically by awarding them cash prizes? This movie analyses and provides conclusions to such out-of-the-box questions. This movie is inspired from the famous book that goes by the same name, you can read the book if it interests you.

Capitalism: A love story (2009)
This film examines the impact of corporate dominance on the everyday lives of Americans. It's a sarcastic and humorous movie that addresses a serious issue.

Any additional suggestions for movies/documentaries/tv-shows/books are most welcome! 

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

My Placement Story: Part I

The year was 2012 and it was placement season for me. It was an important event and I knew it was going to be hectic. This post will summarize my experience with IITB's placement process. Due to it's length I've divided it among several posts.

Resume uploading starts around mid-August and you have to prepare your resumes and submit them till mid-Sept. Remember that resumes are very important, because some firms simply shortlist candidates based on their resumes; so it's essential that you give a good impression. And anyways, even if the respective firm doesn't shortlist based on resumes, they'll definitely have a look at it. So it's better to prepare a decent resume. My advice:
  • Take a look at a few of your senior's resumes and use them as templates.
  • Make several drafts, and improve your resume incrementally; remember that every word on your resume is important.
  • Use simple English. Don't try to show-off your vocab skills, it might back-fire if the interviewer misinterprets!
  • After having a final draft ready, send it to a couple of your seniors asking them for advice. 
  • Make necessary changes as per suggestions and upload!

Placement season structure at IITB
Placement season consists of 3 phases: Phase-1, Phase-2 and Phase-3. Below I list the important timelines involved in Phase-1, which is the most important phase:
  1. Resume uploading (deadline in mid-Sept)
  2. Pre-Placement talks (Last week of Sept - Last week of Nov)
  3. Preliminary Tests conducted for shortlisting (First week of Oct - Last week of Nov)
  4. Final Interviews for shortlisted students (1st Dec - 15th Dec)

Which firms did I apply?
I gave the tests of companies that I was interested in, and that must have numbered to around 35. Here is the  comprehensive list of firms with whom I was involved for the shortlisting process:

Tests started in the 1st week of Oct and the frequency of tests per week was around 2-3. But this frequency increased gradually as we approached November end. I remember precisely that I gave 5 tests on Nov 30th, just a day before the D-Day! It gets very hectic in the last week of November, and you don't get any time for preparing for final interviews. All I did was gave tests day-in and day-out in the last week of November; you simply don't get time for anything else.

Where was I shortlisted?
After going through the tests and other shortlisting methods of the above firms, I was shortlisted in the following firms for final rounds of interviews to be given on Day-1 and Day-2.

Day-1 (Dec 1st)
  • Google 
  • Microsoft
  • Opera
Day-2 (Dec 2nd)
  • Epic Systems
  • GREE
  • Works Applications
  • Informatica
  • Adobe
  • Chronus
  • Oracle
  • Mylikes
  • Walmart Labs
  • Myntra
  • Lexity
  • Strand Life Sciences
  • Dolat Capital
  • Finmechanics

That's it for this post, I'll post about the intricacies and my horror story of Day-1 and Day-2's interview experience in upcoming posts. Keep checking!

PS: On after thought, this post seems to be very IIT-Bombay specific, but hopefully you may find some useful bits and pieces.