How I landed an Internship with PayPal

How I landed an Internship with PayPal

It was almost the end of February when sitting in the CS lounge at Virginia Tech, my phone vibrated to announce an email from a recruiter from PayPal. In the email which contained the job description, she described that one of her hiring manager had reviewed my resume and would like to set up interviews with me for the Internship position. I had applied for a Software Engineering intern position some 10 days back.

I was apprehensive about getting through it but still went ahead in affirmative when asked to set up some time for the interview rounds. I spent whole week practicing data structures on LeetCode. I also went through the projects I did in CenturyLink, the company I worked for almost 3 years back at home. I had my first telephonic interview with an MTS who questioned me on a variety of topics: courses taken, my previous work experience, how did I solve issues(planned and unplanned) at work, some basic data structure questions. He seemed very satisfied with the answers which I could judge from his appreciative replies.

A couple of days later, my recruiter sent out an email saying that my first interview had a positive feedback and the team would like to have 2 back to back Skype interviews with me. Later, I was informed that one of the interviewers, my Manager, would be out on that day and hence, I would have two Skype interviews on two different days over two weeks. The second interview was with an MTS 2, who without much ado,shared a collabedit link asking me to code a solution for a Tree based problem. It took me roughly 30 minutes to code a solution while I discussed the optimal approach with him. I went too and fro multiple times, perfecting my approach.He asked me some more technical questions before hanging up. I was nervous and kept on ruminating if I could solve that problem in a better way.

Next week, the Manager called me. He started with a Graph-based problem. I fumbled to come up with an optimal solution. He proceeded to ask a Design pattern problem followed by lots of Networking based questions. I had taken a Network course last semester and to be honest, those were the questions that might have sealed the deal for me. (It is always a good idea to spruce up your networking concepts. Taking a course for the same never hurt anyone). Then my Manager explained to me what LiveOps Tokenization team does. I asked lots of questions and really enjoyed conversing with him. He assured me to discuss with my other interviewers and get back to me.

I was not satisfied with how I had performed and hence, I was not so hopeful to get an offer. On the 2nd day, my recruiter called me and after exchanging pleasantries for 2 minutes(just give me the bad news already, Whitney!!), she said,”Congratulations!….”. It hit me and I looked at my roommate who smiled back at me. I was dazed throughout the call. Suddenly, every struggle made sense. Those late night coding sessions, tears and sweat! I would silently cry sometimes at night after looking at all the rejections. I had applied to 200+ companies and was rejected by all of them. Someone told me that you can apply to 500 or even 1000 companies but in the end, only one of them will ever matter. For me, it was PayPal. I will be forever indebted to my team members who gave me the chance. And this is how, I became LiveOps team’s first ever Intern for their San Jose (California) location!

My mother back at home didn’t mind a bit, even when it was 3 a.m. for her and I called her at such an ungodly hour to share the news.

For the incoming students, I can only advice to hang on for as long as possible. If you’re someone like me who hasn’t coded much before, there is no shame in starting now.

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