Thanks broken, that's really helpful and very good to know. Sorry you didn't get the position though. Even though you were ready for the possibility, it must have stung at least some.
I've applied three times (or is it four? I'm starting to lose count ) and have never made it to prep, yet hope springs eternal -- I keep checking the available topics. Maybe someday it'll work out to a right-topic-right-time match for me, and I'll still keep applying as long as I'm still interested in working for them...but I'm not holding my breath either.