For me, this summer was a roller coaster of learning, hard work, professional growth, but most importantly personal growth. I had the privilege of working for Intel and it made for an exciting couple of months! I got to work in their Corporate Services division at their global headquarters in Santa Clara. Their Santa Clara site employs over 12,000 people with hundreds of different teams all serving different functions, so I had the pleasure of meeting employees and interns from many different backgrounds and experiences.
The diversity of the campus helped me to learn about how big Intel is and how wide of an operation they run. For example, on my floor alone, my group was surrounded by the IOT group and the AI products group. Two floors above me was the drone group, and the Capital group which serves as a venture capital firm for the company. The buildings across the street from where I sat housed hundreds of labs and development groups that oversaw the research for the chips that Intel is known for designing. Intel also produces its own chips, which is an incredibly challenging and meticulous undertaking that employs tens of thousands of people all around the world. I even got to fly out and visit Intel’s largest manufacturing site up in Oregon.
Our previous CEO said that data is the new oil, and Intel is trying to capitalize on that. For the past couple years, Intel has been trying to pivot their corporate strategy from a PC centric business to a Data centric business. What this means is that they are trying to be less dependent on selling PC chips as their main business, and grow to dominate products and services that are very data reliant. They have been pouring money for R&D in fields like IOT, AI, data center products, drones, quantum computing, and even futuristic technologies such as autonomous driving. All this change in growth requires the means to accommodate for that growth, and that was the group I was assigned to work in. Within Corporate services, I was assigned to the facilities management group, which maintains and improves Intel’s facilities and equipment. As a Mechanical engineer, I learned a lot about the massive systems that provide HVAC service to the people who need it. I got to learn about heating and cooling systems, and how they are applied and improved to adapt to growing business needs for buildings, data centers, and manufacturing sites. My main assignment for the summer was to troubleshoot the different issues that the SC12 building had so that we could improve the reliability of that system, and increase energy efficiency. I got to try on a lot of different shoes as the summer went by, so I was able to learn a lot outside of my scope.
One thing I learned from my internship was how to manage my work and time. In my office, none of my peers cared what time I got to work, when I left, if I’m on my phone at my desk, or if I loiter around with other interns. It’s a very hands off and relaxed environment because the culture there is that employees are capable and responsible of being on top of their work and delivering their tasks on time. I was assigned a huge project my first week on the job, and my mentors only checked up on me twice throughout the two and a half months that I was there. I went out of my way to ask for more work and experience, but it was completely up to me to do that. I managed my own schedule, which allowed me to be flexible and learn things outside of my scope. I lucked out by working at Intel this summer, because I got to experience the 50th anniversary of the company’s inception. The whole summer, there were lots of events, free food, raffles, free gear, and it all lead up to a massive company party on the day of the 50th. I was even lucky enough to get my picture in an article because there was a lot of coverage from the press! I also got to work at the global headquarters while the previous CEO Brian Krzanich forcefully resigned over having a relationship with an employee in the past, so I got to witness all of that drama firsthand. It was truly a period of up and down for the company this summer.
Working in Santa Clara was a truly great because I got to experience what it was like to work in Silicon Valley, all while still being able to live with my parents and see my friends from home (Dublin, CA). The only downside was that the commute was brutal. I had to leave my house at 6:20 in order to be able to get to work at 7:45. I was lucky enough to be able to take a train to work instead of driving, so during my commute I could nap, listen to music, read, or reply to emails.
It truly was a great experience for me this summer, but now it’s time to pack and gear up for the next adventure: Sophomore year!