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interesting put down pitches | Reply
Being going through a lot of internship interviews lately. As you know, one of the jobs of an interviewer is to sell the position to you. He'll need to beat the likes of Google and Microsoft to get the top candidates. Here are some of the put-down pitches they've used aiming at taking a jab at MS and Google:

If you like going around on scooters, go work for MS.
Google won't make you rich, but [finance] will.
We won't ask you to write UIs for MS word all day.

Feel free to contribute. I find some of them pretty funny in general. Especially when I was pitched the first line above, I smiled a little but he kept a straight face, which was funny as hell.
Re: interesting put down pitches (response to post by bugzpodder) | Reply
Heh, some of those statements seem a little "sour grapes" to me.

I think it's entertaining to see people riding on scooters indoors at Microsoft. And while some people are nice enough to let you take a turn on theirs, I'm pretty sure it's not a requirement.

Google has already made some people rich.

I have never "written UIs for MS word", but I have written UIs for MS Access for a year, and I thought it was fun :-)

So I'm guessing they don't say things like, "If you don't want to pay medical bills, go work for MS"?
Re: interesting put down pitches (response to post by bugzpodder) | Reply
I am a big fan of riding the scooters in the Google New York office as well.

I am very happy with my compensation at Google, but really, if you want to work for money, I would recommend you go to a finance company. If you want to work somewhere you'd enjoy and still be sure to have a very comfortable salary, I think tech companies are the place to be.

At Google, engineers are the life blood. At finance companies, they are expenses.
Re: interesting put down pitches (response to post by rrenaud) | Reply
Do you know any finance company that pay $1.000.000+ over 3-4 years in stocks bonus ?

Google was like this several years ago. Not now.
Re: interesting put down pitches (response to post by TAG) | Reply
TAG...actually, we do work with finance companies where you can make that kind of money. Drop me an email at kkittle@topcoder.com if you'd like to discuss it further.
Re: interesting put down pitches (response to post by rrenaud) | Reply
Just to chime in here... Some finance companies are very different in their view of technical talent, and see them much more of revenue generators than an "expense." Speaking from personal experience, Topcoder has placed several people in the financial arena in the past, with salaries and guaranteed bonuses well over what you might expect from many tech companies. Amounts well over $200,000 are routinely offered in the financials industry to hard technical and mathematics people, and after all bonuses many in the industry make over $500,000 a year. And these numbers aren't for the CIO or the CEO, they are for the heavy algorithm based CS and Mathematics people who are the "engine" that makes the company money.

And in case you're wondering, Topcoder has several openings right now in this particular industry, all with extremely attractive salaries and really, really challenging algorithmic based programming problems.

The financials world is very tight lipped about their compensation packages, but if you do a internet search on "quantitative analysis" you'll probably come up with some ball park numbers.

Another way to find out more is to contact your friendly Topcoder Placement agent and ask them directly about our clients in the Financials industry, Just in case you don't know... your friendly Topcoder Placement agents are:

Katie Kittle at kkittle@topcoder.com
Kevin Clune at kclune@topcoder.com
and Brian Flood at bflood@topcoder.com
Re: interesting put down pitches (response to post by harvey6ft) | Reply
Well... After this posting it will be hard job for you to find people working for less then $500K ;-)

I wish I was PhD in quantitative analysis (just imagine paycheck for PhD, then BS/MS earn that much). But I'm not :-(

Edit: minor clarification
Re: interesting put down pitches (response to post by TAG) | Reply
Just to clarify.... when these companies come to Topcoder to find talent, they don't look for Ph.D's in quantitative analysis. They look for TC member with scores over 1600 - 1700. We've placed one several people with just a Bachelor's degree, and one person who hasn't yet graduated from college!
Re: interesting put down pitches (response to post by harvey6ft) | Reply
We've placed [...] one person who hasn't yet graduated from college!
Let me guess who that was: ZorbaTHut, the person who figured out DP during an SRM in 16 minutes and 42 seconds?
Re: interesting put down pitches (response to post by kyky) | Reply
I don't think Zorba worked for a financial company, but that's my guess.
Re: interesting put down pitches (response to post by Larry) | Reply
Of course not - he worked for a gaming company and for Google. I remember him being placed through TC before he graduated, but I am not sure if he's the only one who was placed before getting his degree.
Re: interesting put down pitches (response to post by kyky) | Reply
They might be referring to me, actually. A few months ago Brian from TopCoder contacted me to tell me about a small but stable firm specifically looking for someone with a pure mathematics background. I can get in at a very exciting time, but they need me right away, so I will finish off my last semester while working.

This is a company that is small not because it needs to be, but rather it has been very successful for decades, and sees no need to grow. With the clout that the major tech companies have, I have no idea how I could have found them without TopCoder.

The interviews were unique too. I still do not know what specifically they were looking for, as the discussion centered mostly on my ideas of what I could do for them, which they seem happy to let me do (this is certainly to my liking). Another part of the interview was the founder discussing how there is more to life than money, and how at some point more of the satisfaction comes from doing good things with it.

Oh and the compensation is as good as they say, even with just the guaranteed salary and bonus ;-)

So in short, it is good to keep an open mind about finance, recognize that this area in particular really values strong ability over all else ("the rewards go disproportionately to the best" as one manager said), and that Topcoder does know a thing or two about us and them :-)
Re: interesting put down pitches (response to post by TAG) | Reply
Just to clarify.... when these companies come to Topcoder to find talent, they don't look for Ph.D's in quantitative analysis. They look for TC member with scores over 1600 - 1700. We've placed one several people with just a Bachelor's degree, and one person who hasn't yet graduated from college!
Re: interesting put down pitches (response to post by harvey6ft) | Reply
Just curious, are you talking about first year compensation, or after some time in the company?

About placement service: I tried contacting you guys using service@topcoder (there was no information on the website how to do that directly) two months ago, with no luck. I guess there are some things you could still work on.
Re: interesting put down pitches (response to post by Krzysan) | Reply
I'm not sure what happened with your email, but you can email me directly and I'll be sure that someone responds to you quickly.
Re: interesting put down pitches (response to post by mbnd96) | Reply
It's too late to get H1B visa in time if one starts interviewing that late, but thanks.
Re: interesting put down pitches (response to post by harvey6ft) | Reply
Careful though, the compensation packages for financial companies are often composed of very low bases (like $50-75k) with very high bonuses (like $150-250k), which are not guaranteed.
Re: interesting put down pitches (response to post by dplass) | Reply
This is definitely not the case with the companies that we are currently working with. Base salaries are substantial and, most times, bonuses are both substantial and guaranteed.
Re: interesting put down pitches (response to post by harvey6ft) | Reply
Like most commercial developers I keep an eye on the job market from what I can see (in the City of London at least) most organizations recruiting 'quants' are looking for a Ph.D. in Mathematics, Physics or similar as a minimum requirement.
Re: interesting put down pitches (response to post by Stroker_Ace) | Reply
When I graduated (from Durham) a lot of recruiters wanted me to interview with investment banking firms. I didn't want to go to London but I'm now doing that kind of stuff in Newcastle. I reckon I could have had a good chance of a very lucrative career in London, with "only" my honours degree in maths+physics.
Re: interesting put down pitches (response to post by rrenaud) | Reply
I work on an FX transactions platform and the quantity of trades executed by algorithmic trading engines is rising at an incredible rate.

Large financial organizations realize that investment in technology and technologists is of critical importance to their business, not an expense.
Re: interesting put down pitches (response to post by bugzpodder) | Reply
A [finance] internship will make you rich?
Re: interesting put down pitches (response to post by dskloet) | Reply
Rich in caffeine, probably. From all those coffee runs..
Re: interesting put down pitches (response to post by dskloet) | Reply
I thought I might open a can of worms here =) No he implied full-time. He was a very smooth talker and he definitely sold me. I think I will go for a finance option for this intern (but not with that company) , meaning that I will reject my Google offer :P
Re: interesting put down pitches (response to post by bugzpodder) | Reply
I've never heard a put-down pitch, but then I was never pitting one interviewer against another - I'd consider that "not cricket" so to speak. Maybe that's been detrimental to my pocket book... but still.

If I heard one, I'd be put off, for sure.

I think a company has to sell themselves, just as the prospect does. If they can't deliver, no amount of put downs will help. If they CAN deliver, why would they need to put others down?

I personally feel that it has to be a good match. My current position seems like a near perfect one (thanks TC) - and none of my interviewers would have considered put downs as ethical or moral, I'm sure.

These days, I'd seriously consider asking why they feel the need to bad-mouth the most excellent opportunities on the market. Of course, it might merely be the personality of the interviewer.

On a slight diversion: Google would look really good on the resume or CV. Some companies have a serious weight on the resume - and the best companies look for that kind of thing... finance is not impossible to break into. Thankfully.
Re: interesting put down pitches (response to post by tolkienfan) | Reply
Google competes for the exact same candidates as MS and Amazon. The fact that other companies sees ex-Googlers to be better candidates for a position just shows how it is over-rated. Personally I have little desire to use Google as a stepping stone if the rest of my Resume fail to impress the company.
Re: interesting put down pitches (response to post by bugzpodder) | Reply
I had not heard that Google had more weight on a resume than MS or Amazon.

My point was that some companies have a very hard interview process, and that merely by getting through it you have demonstrated something companies definitely look for.

I don't think I implied that you shouldn't consider MS or Amazon...

Also, why do you think the rest of your resume will fail to impress?
Re: interesting put down pitches (response to post by tolkienfan) | Reply
I'd never have thought of Amazon as a big-league programming employer. What do they do to require top-notch coders?
Re: interesting put down pitches (response to post by d000hg) | Reply
They keep sending resume books ads to me for years after I already had bought one ;-) Stupid related book matching algorithms.
Re: interesting put down pitches (response to post by d000hg) | Reply
Heh, I think my boss also interviewed with Amazon coming out of college. The impression I get is that he didn't really know what Amazon.com was, and so got the impression that they were "a little uptight for a website" :-)
Re: interesting put down pitches (response to post by Kawigi) | Reply
Judging by the [-] I'm getting I don't know what they do either. I don't see how Amazon.com is any different than loads of other websites. They must do some things unrelated to their main site?
Re: interesting put down pitches (response to post by d000hg) | Reply
Not really, but at a time (I think this was right around 2000) when there were lots of startup online businesses that had little hope of becoming successful, Amazon put together a viably successful and profitable online business based on more sound, traditional retail ideas. Basically like a massive brick-and-mortar department store that just happens to have its checkstand online :-)
Re: interesting put down pitches (response to post by Kawigi) | Reply
So why is it big in terms of programming career, like MS & Google?
Re: interesting put down pitches (response to post by d000hg) | Reply
Perhaps because they employ a good number of people and it will still exist in 5 years?

I don't think they have the resume weight that MS or Google would (my impression is that people in the industry consider people who have worked for MS or Google as relatively smart), but it's also better than anything that no one has heard of or no one will remember in a few years.
Re: interesting put down pitches (response to post by Kawigi) | Reply
So you're saying it's on a par with, for instance, Wal-mart?
Re: interesting put down pitches (response to post by d000hg) | Reply
It's on par with walmart.com :-)
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