My experience and interview at IITK (Kanpur) – Part III – The final interview

This is the last post in this series, If you haven’t yet read the previous posts, head over to here ,

Well, as you might have already expected, I got shortlisted for interview, Out of 294 people who wrote the written test, 60 got shortlisted. The next round was personal interview, I was able to figure out my score, it was a mere 63, but I was on 36th position among those who were shortlisted, people who scored upto 55 marks were shortlisted. There were many, who had scored good GATE score, but were unable to secure good marks in the written test. If you are considering for a seat here in IIT Kanpur, then you need to either get a very high score in GATE exam (in my batch, direct admission was cut-off at 868 GATE score), or be exceptionally good in Algorithms,Theoretical Computer Science, Programming in C and ‘Probability and Statistics’ ( Not to mention, presence of mind 😉 ). The interview will be conducted by a panel consisting of very highly experienced professors, my panel consisted of Head of dept.(Dr. Manindra Agarwal), Dr. Rajat Moona, Dr. TV Prabhakar and Dr. Krithika Venkataramani. I was very nervous before the interview, this was going to be my first interview that is actually gonna matter. I badly wanted to perform very well in this one, I iterated to myself to keep my cool and be as much normal as I can. The interview started with my brief introduction, the following is transcript(as far as I am able to re-collect) of the interview:

[A- Adarsh(me 🙂 ), M- Dr. Manindra Agarwal, P – Dr. TV Prabhakar, R – Dr. Rajat Moona, K – Dr. Kritika Venkataramani ]

M: So what are your favorite subjects?
A: I like Algorithms and Programming.
M: What Programming languages do you know?
A: I know quite a few, but my favorite is C.
M: Which other programming languages do you know?
A: I know Java, PHP, Python ummm.. and.. Pascal [At that moment, suddenly P, who was kinda drowsy, woke up taken back by surprise]
P: What? You know Pascal?
A: Ummm,, yeah, kinda, but I had learnt it quite long back, so don’t really have that good touch.. I am comfortable with C though
P: But Pascal is very old, how did you learn it?
A: Yeah, I started quite early, sometime when I was in 6th, Pascal was one of the starting languages, which I had learnt then.
P: What? You have been coding for so long? We get bored of coding in just couple of years, don’t you get bored of it?
A: (Laughing hesistantly.. ) Ha.. ha.. Not really sir, I have been learning new things everytime I code something big, so till now I haven’t yet got bored…
(… Some conversations I don’t exactly recall…)
R: Why do you like C?
A: I feel I can do anything I want with C.
R: Really? (I nodded again in affirmation) So can you cook food with C?
A: (I was really laughing out loud) He.. he.. I can’t really cook with it, but may be I can program a bot to do the cooking for me 🙂
(… Everybody bursted out in laughter…)
M: (to R) So I think you have your candidate to ask questions.
R: (to me) How do you write a pointer to a function which takes integer pointer and returns nothing?
A: Can I use the board, I would like to write it down… (Later the conversation with R continued for quite long, with many questions asked on pointers, how they are stored, how compiler handles various pointers, How Printf function works, how compiler figures out the data type of pointers passed at runtime, etc… I could answer most of them correctly [Thanks to my participation in umpteen number of On the Spot Programming contests 😉 ] )
M: (to K) Would you like to ask him anything else?
K: Do you know Computer Graphics?
A: Yes, I have had OpenGL as my formal course and did a mini project using OpenGL too.
K: Can you explain the various algorithms that you used in your project?
A: We had done a small game, with first person perspective, mainly the algorithms used were collision detection and texture mapping, we also had functions to handle the user input.
K: What are the optimizations that you looked into in your project?
A: We didn’t really look at the project with a perspective of optimization, we were mainly learning to use OpenGL API’s so, we haven’t done any optimization as such in the project.
M: Anyone want to ask anything more?… I guess then that’s it, thank you, you can go now.

After I finished the interview and looked back, I felt it did go well, but the results were to be announced after 3 to 4 days, and I had to leave the same day to attend the IIT KGP interview in the next couple of days @ IISc, Bangalore, so I packed up my things and was ready to leave IITK by late evening[I missed my farewell! I was supposed to give a farewell speech too, but missed it 🙁 ], along with my new found friends, Piyush and Pankaj, who were leaving the same day too. That night, I had really very bad experience with Indian Railways, my train was late by more than 3 hours, I had to barge into another train without ticket, pay the fine and had to travel sitting next to toilet[ I couldnt really would have afforded to miss my flight early in the morning from Delhi to Bangalore]! I finally reached back bangalore, took the day off for rest and prepare a bit for the interview next day ( Which again went well and got positive result too 🙂 ).

PS: I did write a very long speech for farewell, as juni’s wanted to put me on mike through mobile, but couldn’t do it due to some time restrictions, that speech remains with me, forever untold and kept for myself 🙂 .

15 Replies to “My experience and interview at IITK (Kanpur) – Part III – The final interview”

  1. An inspirational story! It’s an honor to be associated with a model student like you 🙂 Little known secret: I got shortlisted for IITK MTech interview almost 25 years back, but missed it for some weird reason and cried like a baby 🙁 It’s a different matter I made to IISc instead, missing all the train rides you have recounted in the process thankfully as a result.

    This post is so uplifting not only about the caliber of UG students in non-IITs across India, but also depth of expertise in faculty members across IITs. Here’s wishing you grand success to scale greater heights in personal life and professional endeavors!

  2. Vow great!

    I have completed B.E(ECE) and i have project associate interview in IIT Madras, u have any idea for how to prepare for that?
    Plz, if u have, reply me…

    Thanks in advance…

  3. It’s my pleasure to have known you sir, only later did I find out from your linked-in profile that you are Ph. D. and a Research scientist before joining Yahoo!, for me that marks a great and humble human being, I’ll always look up to you :). Thanks for the wishes :).

  4. it was helping indeed.. Can you please help me with providing some interview questions that can be asked to an EC student?? that would be a great help

  5. well drove out with difficulties came to you…

    Me too having an interview for “Project associate” at IIT Kanpur in the 3rd week of feb for RFID, technology research (BOEING) project. please tell how to prepare for the same

  6. Great article. It would be great help if you name some book on C from where I can gather advance knowledge in C.

  7. I think Expert C Programming: Deep C Secrets is definitely a good book. Apart from that, I’ve gained immensely from reading the C FAQ and Yashwant Kanitkar’s “Let Us C” book (though now it seems to be just the tricky edge cases of C, but at the time I loved exploring the book). Large projects like Linux Kernel too has hidden gems which you will only know when actually delving deep into codebase.

  8. Thanks a lot for your quick and helpful reply. It will be a great pleasure to have a contact with you.
    tamal.biswas110 [at]

  9. Sir I m b tech in textile technology and I have been scored 79 rank in my gate paper but I m applied in iit kanpur for m tech in environmental engineering and management so please give me some advise that what will be the syllabus of written test and interview in this branch paper for me.

  10. Hi, Iam targeted to get into iit Kanpur for MTech in information technology.can u please shed some light on the procedures for admissions??

  11. Sir U are Great.
    That was Inspirational..
    I will be surely going to be an IITian in the upcoming year .
    Listening to a CS wizard before getting into the IIT CS is helpful.

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