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My Cisco Ideation 2022 Journey

Cisco Ideathon is a flagship hiring program by Cisco Systems to hire final year students from NetAcad colleges across India. This year’s (2022) Ideathon consisted of 3 rounds.

Preliminary and Competency Quiz
PPT Submission Round
Interview ( Technical + managerial + HR)
Preliminary and Competency Quiz (Knock out round): For this round we had given two choices.

Advanced Networking
Advance Software Development
I chose Advanced Networking for this round. The quiz consisted of the following sections:

Aptitude: Consisted of Logical Reasoning, Mathematical Ability and Verbal Ability questions all were MCQ type. The section consisted of 10 questions that we had to do within 20 minutes.
Basic Networking:  The questions consisted of basic computer networking concepts like OSI, basics of protocols, TCP/IP etc. The questions were easy, but you should be thorough with the networking concepts.
Coding Section: In Advance Networking they gave only one coding question, the question was of medium level and could easily be solved using greedy algorithm. Make sure to pass all of the test cases to clear this section.
Advanced Networking: This section tests your knowledge of CCNA topics, along with that Cyber Ops and Basics of Cisco Packet Tracer were asked. Again the questions were MCQ type and the difficulty was medium to high.
The time provided for the three sections, excluding the aptitude section was 1 hour 10 minutes. I would like to provide some useful study resources which can be helpful for you to clear this round:

Complete at least 2 Modules of CCNA V7 from Cisco NetAcad.  Although it’s not mandatory but will help you a lot. Link:
You can also learn from YouTube playlists, such as this one:
For the coding section, you can practice questions from LeetCode (most recommended), Hackerearth,  Codechef etc.
Aptitude is more or less the same for every company, so you can refer to Career Ride and IndiaBix for it.
PPT Submission Round (Knock Out Round): After clearing the first round, we got a congratulatory mail from Cisco along with two problem statements attached to it. We had to choose any one of them and make a PPT Presenting Possible Solutions to that problem statement.
We were given two days to make the PPT and submit it.

Note: This was not a major elimination round as almost everyone got shortlisted for the interviews who submitted their PPTs. only a few were rejected.

Interviews: There were 3 rounds of interviews; all took place on the same day.

Technical Interview (Knock Out Round): This round was a combination of a presentation as well a technical interview. I was first asked to present my idea. after that, the interviewer started cross-questioning.

The question were like:

How did you get the approach to find the solution?
Is it possible to implement it in the real world scenarios?
Is there any other tool or technology that can be used?
Be ready to face a lot of questions related to the tech stack used.
After the PPT, the interviewer asked to start with the technical round, in my case the majority of questions were from networking and CCNA as I had selected Advanced Networking.

Tell me about yourself
Questions related to Projects, I have mentioned Three Projects in my resume from which one project is related to Cryptography and Network Security. The questions were heavily asked on that particular project (It means your project should be unique and interesting as well).
Difference between TCP and UDP.
How DNS works.
Difference between Collision Domain and Broadcast domain.
What is VLAN?
What is the Difference between EIRGP and OSPF?
Explain any Routing algorithm in detail (I explained Link State Routing)
Lastly, there was a troubleshooting question, The interviewer showed me a diagram consisting of two networks connected through routers and switches, I was asked that a particular computer in one was not able to communicate with a computer in other network, How will you troubleshoot the network?
In the end, Interviewer asked me if I have some questions for her.

After a few minute the call for Managerial round came.

Note: Presentation and Projects are decisive and the majority of students were rejected in this round. Be confident and it is okay if you are not able to answer some questions, the interviewers are very friendly and will guide you through if you get stuck somewhere.

Managerial Round (Knock Out Round): This round was a kind of Techno-Managerial round, they basically ask few HR questions, Give some Real world Scenario type questions and ask technical questions too.

It started with self introduction. The questions were as follows,

How much do you know about the role you have applied for?
A real-world problem, how would you motivate your team when you are nearing the deadline?
Do you find yourself fit for the job? How?
How VPN work?
What is difference between MQTT and AQMP (This question is related to IoT as I mentioned that in my Resume).
Questions related to AWS Lambda (again as mentioned in resume).
Few questions related to projects.
What are your strengths and weaknesses? (a typical HR question)
Finally, any questions for me (Interviewer).
Note: In this round they basically check your confidence, technical competency and  your interest towards the company and the role you are being interviewed for.

After 3 hours I was shortlisted for HR round. At Cisco, they call it the ETR (Emerging Talent Recruitment) connect round.

ETR/HR Interview (Also a knock out round): It’s a hearsay that HR Round is just for formality, no one gets rejected from this round. But in this recruitment it was not the case. Cisco is very specific and selective when it comes to communication skills, especially the role I was selected for, i.e. Consulting Engineer.

This round, like the others, began with a self-introduction.
Tell me about your projects.
He asked me about the Problem Statement I selected to present the PPT for and also asked me to explain the approach briefly.
Asked me about my strength and weaknesses.
Asked me about my Internships and experiences.
Are you available for relocation? If so, Bangalore or Pune?
Explained to me about my role and responsibilities as consulting engineer
At last any questions for me (interviewer).
Note: Asking questions to the interviewer always demonstrates your interest in the company. therefore, do not remain silent if given the opportunity.
Result: Selected
by Expert (30,360 points)