My Quicken interview seemed to be going well; I’d somehow remembered how the Quicksort algorithm worked, and most of the questions hadn’t thrown me for too much of a loop. Then Adi, the voice on the other end of the phone line, asked “So where are the good parties at Stanford?”
I had prepared for questions about Amazon Web Services, Development Operations, and my passion for computer science. I’d read up on algorithms and done a few practice problems. But nothing had prepared me for this kind of question, and the silence on the line stretched a little too far as I struggled to find a tactful way to answer. I stumbled through a rambling explanation of how virtually all of Stanford Greek life was on probation (true) and the whole campus was dry (slightly less true). My interviewer seemed to accept that answer.
When the interview was over, I started to question whether I’d heard the question correctly. I’d probably misheard. Maybe it was nerves, or maybe my years of sleep deprivation were finally catching up with me, but there was no way I’d answered the right question. By the end of the day, I’d found the humor in it all, had come to accept that I’d totally blown it, and began brainstorming alternate summer jobs. I was surprised - and, of course, very excited - when I got an offer the next morning to spend the summer working at Quicken.
When Adi was introduced to me as my mentor, I still felt awkward about having blundered so badly in my interview, and wondered when it would come up. However, soon enough I came to doubt that I’d misheard Adi in the first place. He has a wicked sense of humor, an expansive hip-hop playlist, a deep love of donuts and Philz Coffee, and equal talents for the downstairs putting green and Amazon Web Services. As the weeks went on, I was less concerned with whether or not he’d asked and more curious as to whether he’d asked out of a desire to mess with me or a genuine interest in attending.
Like Adi, Quicken doesn’t take itself too seriously. It believes producing excellent software and having fun are not mutually exclusive. I never expected to attend two Giants’ games, play Escape the Room, fail spectacularly at the putting green, make Philz coffee runs, throw paper airplanes from the balconies, and surf in Santa Cruz; yet after just a few weeks in the office, I’ve gotten to do all that and more.
Quicken has been an incredibly welcoming and warm community, totally willing to embrace a cluster of interns into the family. So many people have worked hard to make sure that we’ve had the ability to make as much of an impact as possible in the short time we are here, and had a great time while we’re doing it. I couldn’t have imagined learning more or doing more at a summer job, nor having this much fun.
A few hours ago, I told Adi I was writing about how he’d asked me about the best Stanford parties in my interview. He replied, “You never answered the question. I’m expecting a full report!”