A highly pampered 10 weeks of work and learning.
I’ll probably start with the on-site internship interviews that took place much earlier on. They flew me from Philly for a 2 day trip to Redmond, of course, all paid for. I got off the plane and checked myself into a lavish Hilton room with all the facilities you could ask for.
Next morning, I showed up at the office and was quite surprised at how the reception committee had set it up. Instead of that normal nervous wait in a secluded office room, they asked internees to check in with the reception and then go party in a room with an Xbox and a couple of Microsoft Surface boards. All the candidates were having a blast and it was an interesting way to drown out the butterflies in your stomach.
Once I was done with my interviews, they asked me what I was interested in generally e.g. sports, outdoor activities, stand up comedy etc. and the coordinator created a customized envelope with coupons of various places she thought I’d like visiting in the extra day I had.
So, in other words, they sold themselves brilliantly at the time of the interviews itself.
Four days later, I got a call from my recruiter and joy overcame me when he uttered the words “How would you like to work with us this summer?” Of course, the package (perks and benefits) was amazing – they offered $5400 a month “non-negotiable” (why in the world would I negotiate, I wondered). But at that time, the proposition of working for such a massive organization was quite compelling anyways.
A few months later, I was assigned a relocation specialist who told me that my lodging was paid for and I could decide to take the cash amount ($2000) or allow them to set me up with a studio. I ended up staying at a friend’s place in Seattle (who too was working for MSFT) and bagging the cash (which later translated to savings!).
Fast forward another month and I was in Redmond getting introduced to my team. They were all such nice folks who welcomed me and put me at ease with regards to the actual work I needed to do. I was enrolled in the Microsoft Office division and had to design a cool integration feature for Outlook which is probably due to roll out in Office 15. They also gave the interns a slick Dell XPS laptop to work on.
The work was fun and challenging, as I had to run around and conduct meetings with top-shots here and there and also chase my feature crew (I was slotted with a SDE and SDET who together had 16 years of experience between them). Even though there was such a big experience divide, they never let me feel as if I was a ‘nobody’. Due respect was always given, even when I asked them some really dumb questions.Inside Microsoft Office | 10 coolest things you get as a Microsoft employee!
My coach, Kevin, was a swell guy and asked me to chill and enjoy my time there. Also, I was lucky enough to have a great supervisor who was quite encouraging of whatever I brought to the table.
And of course, the fun parts:
1. Throughout the summer, there were many outings that the office had organized:
- Company Off-Site Fair
- Lunch/Fun at the Group Program Manager’s place
- Free tickets to baseball games
- Interns day out to a video game arcade
- On-campus sports
- The Intern Puzzle Day
- A “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” event (on-site).
- After my final presentation, I showed a video compilation of funny questions being asked to various members of the team.
- We designed a merchandise shirt for the team (slogan is an inside joke)
- Taboo Thursdays (we used to play the board game ‘Taboo’ after work hours).
3. And then there were some social activities I was able to do with my friends (luckily the weather was decent during that summer):
- Visit San Juan Islands: go for kayaking, canoeing.
- Go for White Water Rafting.
- Visit Oregon and go for bungee jumping.
- Trekking on Mount Rainier.
- Regular Gym: we got free memberships from MSFT for 2 months!
- Eat-outs all around town
When the internship ended, the team took me out for lunch. As a sign of honor, the GPM asked me to jump aboard his Porsche Boxter and we took a long drive to the lunch site. In the car, he congratulated me on my work and told me that he’d be happy to see me back next year. The lunch was amazing and the team gifted me a Zune in the end. (I got one from the company too).
Needless to say, I went away with tons of memories and lots of smiles.