As an intern on Xbox, Nic has one of the most sought-after internships at Microsoft. What made him a stand-out candidate? In his own words, Nic tells us about his experiences that led him to Xbox.
When I was a freshman in college, I talked to the recruiter for Penn State at a variety of events. Eventually I made a positive-enough impression to get myself flown out to Redmond to interview to be a program manager (PM) with Visual Studio.
I was really nervous the first time I interviewed. I was in a group with lots of people who were older and had more experience than me, and I was just an 18-year old who’d never taken a college final, trying to get an internship at Microsoft. It ended up working out, and I spent summer 2012 as a PM on Visual Studio. Over that time, I had some great conversations with my manager, mentor, recruiter, and other teams, and I came to the conclusion that I really wanted to be a part of IEB (Interactive Entertainment Business). I flew back out in fall 2012. All went well, and the interview was a lot less nerve-wracking the second time around!
Looking back, I can point to five experiences that gave me a passion for tech, which I shared during my interviews:
1) My parents: My parents met while working for a software company. My younger brother and I were exposed to technology at a young age, and I still have fond memories of Windows 3.1 and MS-DOS, loading 2.5” hard floppies to play games as a kid.
2) Teacher inspiration: When I got to high school, I started actively programming, and I never looked back. My high school programming teacher, Mrs. Stewart, was a huge inspiration. I would never have been a part of Microsoft if it weren’t for her.
3) I’m a gamer: Whether it’s in games or else, I really do want to contribute and influence people, so this interest has definitely been a motivator.
4) Get involved: The best thing you can do to create your own luck, especially as a freshman candidate, is to be active on campus and try to stand out in the crowd. That can mean joining or starting clubs, trying to be a leader, or just doing something different to stand out.
5) Real experience: I had an advantage because I interned with companies when I was in high school.
When I applied to join the team, I focused on highlighting the excitement I have about technology and the innovation I thought would help change the world. My experience in Visual Studio gave me a great foundation for how cross-team interaction works, and it played a direct role in placing me in a position where I could continue to build off the metrics and telemetry experience I started developing last summer.
Changing roles after my 2012 internship with Visual Studio was something both my recruiter and my manager were very happy to help with. Although my manager wanted me to come back, one of the coolest things about this company in my mind is you can entirely change the work you’re doing, change roles, or even change from a business to an engineering role, all without having to move geographically.
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Our interns do work that ships! Nic’s team invited him to stay this fall through to the release of Xbox One. In Nic’s next post, he’ll share his experience.