As spring gets underway in full form, as the school season is getting over and as the kids start their summer break, as we see more glorious weather in Seattle, one very interesting thing that I personally look forward to is the start of the summer internship season at Microsoft.
The teams across Microsoft are gearing up to welcome a group of college interns (some returning and some new). To me, summer internship is a great 2-way “get to know each other” opportunity between the student and the community. From our side, this is an opportunity to ensure that the intern experience is rich and meaningful while providing the hiring teams the necessary information to identify passionate people who are interested in using software to solve problems and frankly the future leaders of our company. We also want to make sure that the intern assesses if he or she would find the team and the company a good fit in terms of skills, opportunities and career goals.
Here are a few things that I tell all the leads and managers in my division that we need to do so to enable the interns to have a rich experience when they are with us.
- Have the intern be involved, own and drive an interesting and real project including something that potentially is a part of what we ship to hundreds of millions of customers around the world.
- Assign 1:1 mentor relationship between the intern and a Microsoft employee that is somebody other than their manager. In addition to help navigate through the company the mentor can also help as a sounding board for any issues and role/career guidance.
- Ensure that the intern gets both the responsibility and the accountability for their tasks so that they know what success means and can strive for that.
- Plan events and forums that are both fun and informative to enable the intern to have a well-rounded experience and have an idea of all the professional and social activities available for full-time employees.
As a company, we want to make sure that we continue to invest in the people who will drive our growth and innovation. As I mentioned before, today’s interns are tomorrow’s potential leaders in the company. We also want to identify the individuals who possess personal and professional integrity, passion for the technology, and who can extend these core values into our customer and partner relationships. For the interns, the obvious benefits include the hands-on learning, a chance to meet other people with similar interests from around the country (in some cases around the world) and a chance to get to know Microsoft and the kinds of impact they can potential make by being a part of this company.
I am personally looking forward to meeting and getting to know some of the interns that are going to be a part of my team and Microsoft.