Learning a New Culture at Microsoft
My Internship Experience
I’m lucky to have interned at Microsoft. The internship, with the Global Business Process Outsource (BPO) team, was a huge transition for me, since it was my first time working in the U.S., in English and for such a large company.
When I recently finished the internship, I felt I had definitely changed, improved and grown more confident. Like Microsoft’s mission to “empower every organization on the planet to achieve more,” I was definitely empowered by this company, by my team and by my intern buddies.
CEO Satya Nadella Reboots Microsoft Culture
Before I joined, I had heard that Microsoft’s corporate culture was outdated, not agile and closed off. But after interning here for three months, I think it’s actually changed, and in a good way.
In my first week, I had to complete two online classes: Unconscious bias and Standards of Business Conduct. And I could tell that the Microsoft culture—of a growth mindset, customer-focused, diverse and inclusive, difference makers—was guiding employee behavior. My teammates valued their differences, respected diverse perspectives and didn’t mind my accent. And I felt included in meetings, at company events and with social activities. I didn’t feel like an intern, but like a regular team member.
I also found that every employee was still learning new things all the time, no matter how long they had been there. Several told me that Microsoft was so big and complex that even after many years there, they still feel they didn’t understand everything and were always learning more. I was inspired and energized from this work environment.
Microsoft is also very dynamic. It offered a wide range of live and virtual events to provide employees with opportunities to learn, grow and network. I attended more than three sessions of the Executive Talk Series and I participated in events like Digi Girl, the balloon race and a softball competition.
International collaboration and great opportunities to learn and contribute
Even having a meeting at Microsoft was fun and fancy. My Global BPO teammates were spread across three continents. In our early morning or late evening meetings, I felt that we were talking to the world. And I was so impressed by Skype Business and the Surface Hub. These tools made all the online meetings easy and feel like we were all in the same room. The 84-inch screen allowed three people to interact with the screen simultaneously and the digital notes could be shared right away.
My project was about process automation for tasks like data entry. My manager and I put together in my second week our core priorities for my internship. When working on my project, I communicated with stakeholders from different teams, managing part of the process and running some of the meetings. When our project manager went on vacation, my manager gave me the chance to try out the position.
I could see improvement every week, as I was getting more and more comfortable with my project. However, the challenge of cross-functional communication and the complexity of the project were more than what I had expected.
High-tech in Seattle
With all the Microsoft interns from all over the world, I flew to Seattle to spend one amazing week at the Redmond headquarters. We set up one-on-one meetings with staff from other business groups and attended a women in leadership panel discussion, which was the best learning experience of the week. Several top female leaders from across Microsoft shared their stories and advice about being fearless, standing out as leaders and making a difference
The interns also went to a concert, got an Xbox for each of us and visited the Boeing factory, getting an up-close view of the enormous new Dreamlifter aircraft.
It’s challenging to sum up a 12-week internship like this into a few paragraphs. With so much happening in that time, I can now see how much I’ve personally grown. I do now believe that Microsoft is a place where employees can be who they are.
As the famous writer Paul Coelho once said: “Be brave. Take risks. Nothing can substitute experience.”