Ambac Interview Questions & Reviews
Getting an Interview
Vice President Interview (Neutral Experience)
I applied through a recruiter and the process took 3+ weeks - interviewed at Ambac.
Interview Details – one initial phone interview with recruiter, phone interview with HR, interview with HR, interview with hiring manager
Interview Question – Where do you see yourself in 5 years Answer Question
Negotiation Details – Vacation, salary, bonus are all negotiable
Tech Help Desk Intern Interview (Positive Experience; Average Interview)
I applied through other source and the process took a day - interviewed at Ambac in May 2009.
Interview Details – The interview process was pretty fair, I was astounded at how nice the main floor looked, wood grain, carpets, view of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, definitely a visually pleasing and relaxing view into the Harbor. My interview itself was pretty fair, I was interviewed by two higher-ups in the tech help desk sector of the Information Technology group. It was more of a two way process and I heard a description of the responsibilities and expectations of the position, from that description I basically took the opportunity to harp on my experience as a member of technology help desk and previous projects I had been a part of. I was given the opportunity to discuss my availability for the internship (as in would I be able to stay during the school year, unfortunately I could not), and the interviewers were very receptive and kind to my comments. My help desk phone skills were tested by having me answer a hypothetical tech request phone call and troubleshoot it, thankfully I had helped many people before with that particular issue so it went well for me.
Interview Question – (Hypothetical phone call) Hello my computer is locked. View Answer
Negotiation Details – I was really only able to negotiate the length of my availability beyond the summer into the school year, I let them know that I attended a college out of state so I would only be available for the summer. They were understanding of that and thankfully it didn't affect their decision to hire me. The nature of the position I was applying for did not allow me to negotiate pay rate, since it was set for interns.
Systems Administrator Interview (Neutral Experience; Average Interview)
I applied through an employee referral and the process took 1 week - interviewed at Ambac in January 2008.
Interview Details – The company does things differently I guess from typical employers because they have a lot of "hands-off" managers who do the interviewing. This part of the interview process is not focused on the responsbilities, but mostly probes into how hard-working you are, how committed to delivering on your committments, available to work from home, on the weekend, while on vacation yada yada yada..... You will meet these managers if you pass the interviews with several technical guys.
The technical people who are really really really really really really sharp, with a million years of experience! no kidding, will grill you and ask you questions that would make you feel like you are on Jeopardy and you don't even understand English. The reason, I found out, is that you won't only be doing what you are hired to do, but EVERYTHING that exists there. You will wear so many hats, you will be juggling hats all the time. You won't have time to specialize in anything, and your experience in all subjects becomes shallow, UNLESS, you are an insanely SMART person like those guys interviewing you. I am still in awe of some them like AS, and FB. In general, if you show that you are resourceful, organized, quick-learner, curious about IT, and have a nack to solve problems, and to understand the business, then you are a shoe-in. After interviewing with these guys, you'd feel like you are joining NASA or something.
Then comes the aftermath - the "hands-off" managers who begin to ask you about tasks they themselves are clueless about. They are always looking for new people who know a lot, because, as I learned, they surround themselves with them as IT human shields.
btw - You will succeed if you are a workaholic, and fail if you expect a 9-5 job.
Interview Question – The difficulty is not in any one question, but the range of subjects:
Do you know what derivatives are? SWAPS, bonds, market data?
How well do you know sqlserver, SYbase? How do you do compress database dump?
Can you script in Korn shell? How do you set variables? call a function?
What's the difference between L5-20P and L6-20P? R?
How do you what files are open? Have you managed multiple projects at the same time? What do you know about networking? Domains? Solaris. Answer Question
Negotiation Details – Ask for 10-20% more than you expect - you migh get it. They almost never turn down the candidate they want just because of the salary.