Morgan Stanley, Mumbai – Aashimi Bhatia

It was a hot and lazy afternoon. My eyes were heavy and I was about to drowse off. And then my phone rang and changed my life.
Ok, it wasn’t as dramatic as that. But it was quite dramatic.
The phone call was to inform me that I had to appear for a test in the evening at 5 30 for the intern at Morgan Stanley. I was told that they were taking a test on such a short notice because they wanted to catch us off-guard. However, I was not very worried. Having given hundreds and thousands of tests all my life, a test did not really bother me. However, they decided to catch us off-guard again.
At 5, when I was getting ready to go for the test, I got another phone call – “They are not taking a test. Instead, you have to appear for an interview at 6. Come to the PT Cell office with 2 copies of your resume.” This time, they succeeded. For a minute, I didn’t know what had hit me. The next one hour was perhaps the most chaotic one in my life.
I reached there to find 10-11 people other than me. All of them were guys and almost everyone else was from CS. The intern was open for CS, EE and EP (I am from EP, btw) I spent the next half an hour googling away on my laptop (thankfully I had netconnect). I was working on the only thing I knew about the profile I had applied for, that it required mathematical and programming skills. I tried to brush up on as much of that as I could.
Each interview took, on an average, 30-50 minutes. And mine was quite near the end (the second last, to be precise). I was very nervous as I walked into the room and handed them my resume (there were two people). They looked at it and said that I had done all the courses that they required me to, and so they could ask me anything they wanted. I gave a feeble smile, not knowing what to say. Then they asked me a question and handed me a paper and a pen. I spent the next hour answering questions on probability, differential calculus, linear algebra and algorithms (around 8-10 questions). They helped me out here and there when I got stuck. A friend had told me to write down whatever came to my head, since that would help them know what track I was on even if I didn’t eventually reach the right answer. I believe that was a very useful piece of advice. At the end, they asked me to go to another room. Again, I met two people who asked me similar questions, at the end of which I was told to wait outside for a bit.
I learnt that I had to give another interview in some time. I presumed that this would be an HR interview, since the previous one was technical. To my surprise, however, it was again a technical interview. And I was asked questions on the same subjects again.
I got a call a little while later from the PT Cell office telling me that I had gotten the intern.
It slowly hit me that it was only October and I already had an intern, even before I had started properly applying. And thus ended the day which changed my life. There were celebrations, of course, but that doesn’t form a part of my post.
The important stuff:

Company Morgan Stanley
Profile Quantitative Analyst
Departments CS, EE, EP BTechs.
Location Mumbai
Stipend Rs 50,000 pm
CPI cutoff 8.5
Selection Procedure:
  • Resume based shortlisting.
  • Round 1 of interviews – technical
  • Round 2 of interviews – technical
The things they look for in the resume:
  • Maths
  • Stats
  • CS
The kind of questions asked:
  • Probability: Mostly puzzles requiring just the basic probability skills.
  • Linear Algebra: Tricky prove something = something else type questions. Again, not requiring as much knowledge as mental abilities.
  • Differential Calculus: Very basics of differential calculus. Mostly first principle based questions. But applied in tricky situations.
  • Algorithms: Give an efficient algorithm to do something. They usually expect the optimum solution with regards to time.
Some Tips:
  • Be prepared to be surprised 😛
  • Know your stuff. That’s all they expect. The rest doesn’t matter.
  • Keep writing the steps you think of. And think out loud. It tells them more than you may think.
10 years ago