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Microsoft Program Manager Intern Interview Questions & Reviews

Updated Apr 5, 2014
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Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Program Manager Intern Interview

Program Manager Intern
Redmond, WA

I applied online and the process took 5 weeks - interviewed at Microsoft in February 2014.

Interview Details – One phone screen, and then onsite interview in Redmond. Phone screen was fairly basic, we just went over resume and a brainteaser. Redmond interviews were four one-on-ones. A mix of design questions, resume review, behavioral questions, coding questions, and just general chatting. Heard back the day after the onsite interview.

Interview Question – Write a program to print out the first n primes.   View Answers (2)

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1 person found this helpful

Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Program Manager Intern Interview

Program Manager Intern
Redmond, WA

I applied through college or university and the process took 3 months - interviewed at Microsoft in January 2014.

Interview Details – I applied through my school's career website in October. In mid-December, I received an email from a recruiter for a phone interview. This interview lasted about 30 minutes and consisted of behavior questions and a few technical/critical thinking questions. Overall, the interviewer was very nice and helpful throughout the questions which made the interview go well. Since the holiday season was very close to my phone interview date, I had to wait a little longer to get results, at least that's what they said. During the second week in January, I received an email congratulating and saying that I will move onto the final round of interviews. I was then informed that I would be going out to Redmond in a week later for the on-site interviews.

With just a little bit of information from me, they were able to book the trip for me and I did not have much to do. Once in Redmond for the interviews, we met with our recruiters and they introduced themselves to us. We were then taken by a concierge to The Commons to eat lunch around 11:30. He also showed us a little bit of the campus. After eating lunch, we were guided to explore a little more before we went to the Company Store. We had to be back to the first building by 1 for the start of interviews. Once back, individual people came out to get us for a 1 on 1 interview. Each interview was about 45 minutes with 15 minute breaks in-between where you can play Xbox, use a Surface, snack, or relax on the couch. Half way through, we got a longer break to relax or do whatever.

After all of the interviews concluded, we were told that we would be notified within the next week if we were offered a position.

They pay for your meals and fun activities too! So have fun!

Interview Question – What are the 3 concepts of a Program Manager? (I didn't know the specific words he was looking for, but I had the concepts) Everything else was manageable.   Answer Question

Negotiation Details – Since it's an internship, no negotiations. But it's a GREAT offer anyways.

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Accepted Offer

Neutral Experience

Program Manager Intern Interview

Program Manager Intern

Interviewed at Microsoft

Interview Details – Phone screen, on campus interviews, then on-site. Pretty standard process. Asked many questions about designing things. I thought that it was important to ask questions back.

The technical questions were fairly easy. Standard recursion questions, and tree traversing.

Final round interviews were 45 min each. There were three of them.

Interview Question – Design an elevator system   Answer Question

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Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Program Manager Intern Interview

Program Manager Intern
Redmond, WA

I applied through college or university - interviewed at Microsoft in November 2013.

Interview Details – On-campus interview that lasted about 25 minutes. Was asked to talk about a few things on my resume, and then to write a code to remove duplicates from an array. Didn't feel very good about the coding session--my answer seemed inefficient.

Apparently they agreed that I was better at talking than I was at coding, as they asked me to fly out for the PM role. Once there, I was placed in an interview group of ~20 other candidates. One thing that was strange about our experience was that instead of the typical variable number of interviews, we were all given 4 (and told that we would be). They also guaranteed us results after lunch, which was both a relief and extra stressful.

Interview one: we chatted for a while and then talked through a problem regarding system updates and server communication (the keys to this one were asking questions that made clear what each party knew and also understanding the priorities of the different updates).

Interview two: My worst interview. Talked about solving Seattle's traffic problems (a "see how you think" kind of problem) and then had a shortest-path algorithm variant. I picked a poor approach for the latter but corrected myself with a simpler and cleaner answer before the interview was over.

Interview three: Write an algorithm to solve a NYT-style cryptogram (actually I have no idea if these are real or not--I have never heard of them). Then, design an app. Then, make money off of it (ads don't count). A really fun interview, as he and I kept building off each other's ideas.

Interview four: Design a parking lot system (with some additional specifications). The keys were A) to not overcomplicate things, as the users crave simplicity, not technology, and B) to recognize that ultimately the system isn't worth implementing from management's standpoint, since the improvements wouldn't affect productivity.

We went to lunch, and then came back to learn our fates!

Interview Question – Didn't expect the cryptogram question, since it had more technical aspects than I was expecting given the first couple of interviews.   Answer Question

Negotiation Details – They have a set salary for PM interns (which differs from that of the other intern positions), so no negotiation.

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Declined Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Program Manager Intern Interview

Program Manager Intern
Redmond, WA

I applied through an employee referral and the process took 4+ weeks - interviewed at Microsoft in November 2013.

Interview Details – 1 on-campus interview, then an onsite consisting of 4 interviews (3 with PMs, last one with a manager). If you don't make it to the 4th interview, you'll likely not get an offer. First on-campus round asked basic coding questions, and which position (PM, SDET, SDE) I was interested in. In the on-side, questions were mostly design/business/management related (how would you handle not being able to meet a deadline, design a website for X, you're the manager of X company and hear this feedback about your product, what would you do?) as well as basic algorithms. It was overall a great experience on-site, as they pay for sightseeing/etc, there are lots of other intern interviewees there. Everyone was very friendly, great company culture.

Interview Question – Nothing was particularly out of the blue, although I was taken aback when asked about my strenghts/weaknesses (as I usually interview for technical positions where they don't ask that type of question).   Answer Question

Reason for Declining – Took a SWE internship at Google instead

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Accepted Offer

Neutral Experience

Program Manager Intern Interview

Program Manager Intern

Interviewed at Microsoft

Interview Details – Microsoft came to the career fair at my university. I talked with one of the recruiters there, and was offered an on-campus interview for the next day.
The interview was supposed to be 30 minutes, but I was the last interview for the day, so we talked for about 45 minutes.
First my interviewer asked me about my projects and experiences. Then he asked me about some technology that I liked, and ways to improve it. Somehow we got into a discussion about UI design. He asked me to design a smartphone home screen.
I got one programming question in the end on array manipulation. It was pretty easy. I came up with a solution, and he asked me to put it into code.
Several weeks later, I got an email about a final round interview at Redmond.

Interview Question – You have an array of red balls and blue balls. Sort them in linear time and constant space so that all the red balls are in the front, and all the blue balls in the back.   View Answers (2)

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8 people found this helpful

Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Very Difficult Interview

Program Manager Intern Interview

Program Manager Intern
Redmond, WA

I applied through college or university and the process took 9 months - interviewed at Microsoft.

Interview Details – On campus University Recruiting:
Talked to the recruiter about my experience in web design and the projects I've worked on, he took my resume.

Invited to on campus interning information talk:
Gave me information about each of the positions and made me select which I wanted to apply for - I picked Program Manager.

On University campus round 1 interview:
The interview was heavy on Object Oriented Programming and Data Structures.

On Redmond Campus round 2 interview:
The interview was from 9am until 4pm and I was interview by 4 different people of increasingly higher rank(position) each time.
*Advice - during each break they will ask if you want coffee, always say yes. You need to stay excited and alert. Take this as an opportunity to have a good time and show them how excited you are to be there. Don't let yourself get tired or cranky. They will beat you down at the end, don't give up and don't ever get angry.

Interview Questions

  • He asked me if I were to design windows, as in like the file explorer windows and image windows, what data structure would I use.
    He asked me how would clicking windows work.
    He then asked me what if I had countless number of these windows, how would my implementation need to change.
    He then asked me how to measure the Big-O of my data structure and some other efficiency questions.
    *Advice - talk to them through the process, use sudo code (the less time you waste on syntax the better cause they don't care), ask them lots of questions to clarify what they want.
      Answer Question
  • Programming questions: I was asked to make a simple function. Then I was asked to make another function that is not so simple.
    *Advice, use the easier function to solver the larger general problem that also solves the harder function.
      Answer Question
  • Out of the box questions: I was asked to make a calendar out of 2 6 sided cubes.
    *Advice, Think as out of the box as possible, walk them through your ideas and solutions, draw pictures if possible. Ask questions!
      View Answer
  • Design question (more specific to pm): He talked to me for a bit when the topic of github came up, he then asked me "Come up with 5 ways that you would make github better." Everytime I came up with something he would try to conquer me and make me feel like my idea is ridiculous and that it probably won't work. They will look for holes and they will ry to make you cave in and give up on your ideas.
    *Advice, it is very hard to come up with design ideas but try thinking about Microsoft products and what goals they achieve to see if you can incorporate them in your ideas. DON'T GIVE IN, just cause they are questions you and trying to make you cave in doesn't mean your idea is bad, stand your ground but use reasons to defend your ideas. Draw pictures.
      Answer Question

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2 people found this helpful

Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Program Manager Intern Interview

Program Manager Intern
Seattle, WA

I applied through college or university and the process took 4+ weeks - interviewed at Microsoft in December 2012.

Interview Details – 1 on-campus interview. Received an email a few weeks later saying they want to fly me out. Arrived in Redmond. 4 one-on-one interviews in total. 2 with PMs, 1 with a senior PM, and 1 with a principal PM. Lunch interview was awkward because I was trying to eat while they were talking to me. Got an email a few days later about the offer.

Interview Questions

  • n story building. You have k eggs. Find out which floor the egg breaks on when dropped from that floor.   View Answer
  • Design a digital wallet.   View Answer
  • Tell me about your interests in <insert_your_field_of_expertise_here>. What do you want to do 5 years from now in that subject. What actions are you taking now to get there?   Answer Question

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2 people found this helpful

Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Program Manager Intern Interview

Program Manager Intern
Redmond, WA

I applied through college or university and the process took 5+ weeks - interviewed at Microsoft.

Interview Details – The first interview was at my college. I was brought in to a room. I was asked pretty standard questions:
Name a piece of software you used and didn't like. How would you change it?
Redesign a whiteboard.
Write me a program that tells me if a number if a power of two or not.

I then got a flyout to their Redmond campus. There, I had five interviews. The first focused on my experience on teams and as a leader:
Tell me about a time you were the leader of a team and succeeded.
Tell me about a time you were the leader of a team and failed.

My second interview was more technical:
Tell me about how C# helps you implement a singleton.
Describe the difference between a deadlock and a race condition.
Design a class structure for a birthday party.

My third interview was over lunch. My interviewer and I talked a lot about the new Twitter app on the iPhone. He asked me what I liked about it and what I didn't like. When we went back to his office, he asked me:
Redesign the checked bag experience at an airport.

I forget my fourth interview.

My fifth interviewer asked me about software I like, and drilled my hard about why I liked it. I talked about why I like the Windows Phone interface, and she had me thoroughly analyze why I like it.

Interview Question – Tell me about a time you were a leader and were unsuccessful.   View Answer

Negotiation Details – Offers are non-negotiable. The offer is awesome.

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4 people found this helpful

Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Program Manager Intern Interview

Program Manager Intern
Redmond, WA

I applied through college or university and the process took 4 months - interviewed at Microsoft in January 2011.

Interview Details – Submitted my resume/cover letter through campus recruiting in late fall, which led to a 30-45 min on-campus interview a few weeks later (definitely go to any info sessions beforehand--they're invaluable). This interview consisted mainly of a technical portion where the interviewer poses a typical programming exercise (string reversal, palindromes, etc) and you write the code and walk him through your process. You also discuss what roles/areas you may be suited for or interested in at MS.

A few weeks after the round 1 interview, was invited to do a second round in Redmond. They flew me out in January and put me up in a hotel for 2 nights. On the day of my interview, I met with a recruiter who briefed me on my schedule for the day.

I had 2 morning interviews with PMs, which consisted of open-ended design questions, like how would you design a sprinkler system or a catering website. They want to know your thought process and how you come to certain decisions. If you get yourself stuck, they'll help you out.

I had a lunch interview, which was behavioral, with questions on how to deal with a team that is divided on a security issue, what you would do if you made a wrong call on that issue, etc.

I met with the hiring manager briefly in the afternoon. We chatted mostly about my computer science curriculum. She was initially scheduled as my last interview, but decided to have me meet with one of her senior devs. This was another design interview, but more closely related to the work they were doing. Mostly questions regarding information that you could infer from someone's Facebook profile.

Finally, I met up with my recruiter again to wrap up. The entire day took me from 7am-6pm, as there were some delays between interviews. I received a call from my recruiter with the offer 2-3 weeks after the on-site.

Interview Question – Design an intelligent sprinkling system for a garden.   Answer Question

Negotiation Details – I didn't have any leverage to negotiate with, so I took what they gave me. They treat their interns very well though, so I'm not complaining.

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