Day In the Life of a Microsoft Intern

Shana Douglass Aerospace and Mechanical, Internship, Shana, Viterbi Summer Leave a Comment

If I could capture the essence of this summer, it would be something like this:

That ladies and gentlemen, is Microsoft’s ex CEO Steve Ballmer (the new CEO Satya Nadella is just as cool BTW). And that energy and enthusiasm, has left a lasting impression at Microsoft. Needless to say, interning for Microsoft is HYPE. I can’t even begin to describe all of the events, activities, speaker series, swag, and free food Microsoft has indulged their intern class with, but here’s a little taste of what it’s like to spend a summer in Seattle, working for one of the largest tech companies in the world.

Technically a mechanical engineering intern, I’m actually interning for Manufacturing Supply Chain (MSC) in the Strategic Sourcing group. Basically what sourcing does is work with suppliers to get the parts needed to make a Microsoft hardware product such as X-box, Surface products, and even the HoloLens. Although, I’m not doing engineering design work, I get to spend my days learning what it takes to manufacture a product, get it to the shelf, and leave the customer satisfied. I even got to take a trip to the Surface Hub Factory in Oregon, to see manufacturing and everything I’ve been learning in action! The experience has definitely challenged me to think in a business mindset, and combine two skill sets in order to achieve the best possible results.

Typically I get in the office around 8:30 ish and begin my workday. My manager is supeerrr flexible so as long as  I get my work done I can really come and go as I please. Most days I have a bunch of meetings set up with people from my team. For my project it’s really important to talk to as many people as possible in order to learn how things currently operate, and then see what areas I can make some improvements in. While meetings seem like a drag, I’ve heard some really interesting Microsoft stories, gotten amazing advice, and learned about the most unique career paths (you don’t always need to plan everything out!).  I even have the opportunity to have lunches (we have fantastic food courts throughout campus and free shuttles that’ll take you to any of them) and coffee dates with people outside my team. On Fridays, I meet up with fellow Blacks at Microsoft (BAM) interns and employees to have lunch and network. It’s really important as an intern to use that “intern status” to build your network, learn what other job opportunities are at a company, and get exposure to all sorts of interesting people. And because of this status everyone will make time for you. You might even get a free lunch or two!

 

Networking Dinner with BAM

Networking Dinner with BAM

You may be thinking “now that doesn’t seem too hype”. Wait for it…

The Microsoft recruitment team, and full time teams know how to throw events! And some of these even take up entire workdays (and yes we still get paid). While there are literally events every day of the week depending on org and team, here’s the rundown on some of Microsoft biggest intern events of the summer

Windows Devices Group Private Island Day

As a MSC intern I’m under the larger Windows Devices Group (WDG). All the WDG interns got the day off of work to go on a party boat which took us to a private island for the day. There was a full barbeque (lots of food), fun games, and lots of prizes.  Our WDG mascot is the ninja cat so we all got these funny t-shirts with the ninja cat. Obviously my ninja cat has a cup of coffee in hand, cause you won’t catch me without my cup o’ joe in the morning. Did I mention Microsoft has free drinks in all their buildings? Pepsi products, Coke products, almond milk, coconut water you name it, they’ve got it! It’s sound silly but it’s a cool perk.

WDG interns in our Ninja Cat shirts

WDG interns in our Ninja Cat shirts

Intern Day of Caring

A unique intern event that all the interns get to do each year is the Intern Day of Caring. All the interns get a day off of work to participate in volunteer activities across the Puget Sound Area. This year I went to a blueberry farm to pick fresh, organic berries to be donated to food banks in the Seattle area. It was a gorgeous day outside, and the blueberries tasted great. I even ran into a deer getting some blueberries of his own while I was out in the field. My group ended up picking about 500 lbs of fresh blueberries to donate.  After the day of volunteering we all came back to campus for a celebration (more free food) and hear from the head of X-box Phil Spencer, who is super passionate about volunteerism.

 

One Week

By far the best time of the summer internship is One Week at Microsoft. It’s a week long event where people from all the Microsoft campuses come together for a  giant hackathon to work on projects for their team, projects they are personally interested in, or even projects for the community. Interns can hack alongside full- time employees, and at the end there is a huge project fair people can check out. In the commons area, on the other side of campus, is a giant tent with demos of all the cool Microsoft products and innovations that have been going on. Even better there is a ton of free food (did I mention there is a lot of food?). To top off One Week, the interns got a private Q&A with the CEO of Microsoft Satya Nadella.

Intern Signature Event

The coolest thing about One Week is that every year, the recruitment team throws the interns a gigantic event known as the Intern Signature Event. This is the event you absolutely don’t want to miss out on. In previous years they’ve had private performances by Macklemore, Maroon 5, and even David Blaine. All the interns are bused to a secret location in Seattle to experience a city landmark.  This year we were taken to the Seattle Center (Space needle, Chihuly glass park). Awaiting us was a dj, free food, and free drinks to get us hype for the surprise guest. They even opened up the needle and museum for interns to enjoy while we waited for the main event. And it was a pretty great surprise. Ellie Goulding came performed! Some people had spotted her at the Space Needle, but I was completely surprised. After the concert we were given our intern gifts of Surface Books! Everyone was super excited to end the night with free Surface Books.

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And while the signature event was soo much fun, I almost forgot to mention my personal favorite. A 3-Day Lake Union Boat Party the USC Microsoft Recruiter put on! Best recruiter for the best school just sayin.

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Between chatting it up with full times and attending all these crazy fun events, I somehow find some time to get my project done, and play a game or two of ping pong during the day. While I still have two more weeks and many more exciting events to go, I’ve had a fantastic time working for Microsoft, and can’t wait to come back next year for round 2 (fingers crossed)!

Check out the podcast I did, and here more about my awesome summer adventures!

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Shana Douglass

Shana Douglass

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