Interview Question: Popular Transformation

Sample Question #182 (applied math)

I see you have an engineering degree. Let me ask you: what’s the fast Fourier transform? How does it work? What are some of its applications?

(Comment: It shocked me that a lot of engineering graduates, including Ph.D.’s, are unfamiliar with the FFT – I thought it was something most engineering subjects would teach their students. I first came into contact with it in some undergrad engineering class at Harvard.)

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4 Responses to Interview Question: Popular Transformation

  1. Brett says:

    ANSWER
     
    Plenty of descriptions here.
     
    This sample question demonstrates the key point raised in my book about meeting an interviewer’s expectations. If you tell someone you have an advanced degree in a certain discipline, you should be able to answer most reasonably phrased questions related to that discipline. Even if you don’t rmember the details of some topic, you should at least know what it is about. This is especially true if you claim to be an expert in a subject area — many candidates do make the claim.
     

  2. Unique says:

    Got the point. Just curious, do you guys really use FT in your work except for verifying the claims of interviewee?

  3. Brett says:

    Hua, FFT is used at some quant shops as part of their quantitative modeling toolsets.  If you have an engineering or applied math degree an interviewer might be interested in asking about it even if his or her group never uses it.  The point is, candidates should always have the ability to back up their educational claims with real evidence.  All too often, we interviewers meet candidates who claim they know something well but don’t even know some very basic concepts in that discpline.
     
    -brett
     

  4. Unique says:

    I see,  surprised to know FT is actually part of the toolsets.thanks

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