Things I Love About Interning @ Microsoft

I’ve spent the last month drafting post after post about what I value most when figuring out what I want to do for my next internship. You haven’t seen any of those posts because I’m still largely undecided.

My opinions sway on the daily, and I still don’t know if I want a different product, a different location, a different company, or if I would like to come back to Microsoft.

I woke up yesterday thinking about what companies I’d like to apply to for my next internship, and then I had an amazing day at work and it just reaffirmed how much I love my job and the people here.

1. People First.

Our mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

Everyone here knows it, everyone lives it, and you can really see just how people-focused the company is as soon as you walk through the front doors.

Last summer during my first internship, I got to see Microsoft’s One Week Hackathon where employees and interns got to spend their week at work building cool projects.

First of all, it was super amazing that we got paid to build and learn whatever we wanted to. Secondly, we had access to so many resources, both physical and in knowledge. Employees from all areas of expertise and levels in hierarchy made themselves available to guide and help out wherever they could. All you had to do was send a quick email out with a question, and you’d get back an answer to your question, and five you hadn’t asked, within the hour. Thirdly, and the most related to my point, was that so many employees built products to do good for underrepresented populations. It wasn’t about having the next big money making idea, it was about building prototypes and products that would help solve real issues faced by real people.

2. It’s Lit

Microsoft has a bit of a reputation for being the company that your parents would work at. My generation seems to be leaning towards the appeal of shiny new start-ups and hip media companies. While I agree that “cool” isn’t the first word I’d use to describe Microsoft as a whole, they are doing a lot to foster innovation and appeal to the undergrads.

Hackathons are a thing that you see small companies and university/high school students doing over a weekend. I’ve been in love with hackathons since my first go at Hack the North in my first semester of university, and it has become a staple part to university life.

In 2016 alone, more than 3,800 projects were created by 16,000 employees from 139 cities across 74 countries.

For a company as large and as old (it’s most definitely not a start-up) as Microsoft, it’s incredible to see the participation of employees who wholeheartedly embraced the hackathon experience.

Something else near and dear to my heart that Microsoft does is the Windows Insider Program. You can be among the first to test out new features we’re working on, and get your input heard to get features you’ve always wanted built and shipped.

Not only do you get the tech early, you get to interact with us and hear about what goes on behind the scenes. The Windows Insider Program talks to real people and listens to their stories, they build a community that you get to be a part of, and they offer you opportunities to build and create.

I love that Microsoft shows that they’re involved with the community through this program, and I especially love how they share stories about real people alongside amazing new features.

Something amazing that goes on that people might not know about is that the Windows Insider team does podcasts (among other things). If you want to hear more about what it’s like interning at Microsoft, check out this podcast with two former interns!

Let’s also not forget about how Microsoft surprises their interns with the “Signature Event” (The Chainsmokers and Daya were awesome, just saying) and tons of swag (and boat rides, and renting out a snow tubing lodge for us to chill at, and city wide scavengers hunts, and taking us skating, and many other things).

3. ALL THE DOORS ARE OPEN

You want to ask Satya Nadella a question? Go right ahead. Last summer someone asked him if GIF was pronounced “jif” or “gif” (with a hard G sound), and he answered.

You want to pick the brain of a VP? Awesome, there’s an open Q&A next week.

You want a meeting with someone four levels above you? Just send them a quick meeting invite on Outlook.

Every door is open to you. All the employees seem to love interns, because a lot of them were interns here before. They are happy to help, and it fosters such a great environment to learn and grow.

Nothing holds you back as an intern except yourself. It sounds super cheesy but it’s true. As long as you have the guts to ask for a meeting, to seek out knowledge, and to speak out, you have the potential to accomplish anything.

I usually balk at the idea of meeting new people, let alone voluntarily putting myself in a position where I have to interact with new people. However, here I feel completely at ease searching someone up in a completely different team and asking them to coffee. I know that people at Microsoft are eager to share their knowledge, and are excited to be a part of growth and education.

Last summer, I went out and interviewed countless employees to try and figure out what the tool I was building for them needed to be. I remember walking into a meeting room ready for a quick meeting to pick someones’ brain, and instead was surprised with a private hands-on demo of the Hololens.

Needless to say, people love interns here.

TL;DR

Microsoft is a really amazing place to do internships at. They value you as an intern, and you’re surrounded by so much experience and knowledge that you grow technically and as a person.

I think that Microsoft is a place that students should be flocking to because we have the opportunity right now to learn so much from a company that cares. Microsoft knows that interns are the future of the company, and that’s why they treat us so well and invest so much in our learning.

I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions, and your stories about your internships! I always love to chat about what you think about the internship you’re working at/have worked at, so please feel free to reach out!

Engineer-in-Training @ uWaterloo / Defender of the Summoner’s Rift / Navigating my Twenties

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