The internship experience at Microsoft is as diverse and fascinating as the company itself. Beyond each intern’s work experience, they also lead dynamic lives outside of the company. And, even though our interns make a big impact on our technologies, it’s often what they do outside of work that leaves a lasting impression.
As our interns now leave Redmond campus, we’re taking a moment to reflect on some of the more unique stories we’ve heard this summer. From finding love across international borders to befriending soccer royalty to having a casual chat with titans of technology– our interns have done it all!
We hope you enjoy getting to know our interns as much as we did…
The intern experience: Apartments are more than just a place to sleep
The ‘Softie intern in question: Wes – Software Development Intern – Server & Tools
Wes, tell us about your housing situation as an intern.
When you intern at Microsoft, you are given the choice to stay in corporate housing or they’ll subsidize you to rent an apartment.
I decided that it’d be fun to get to know the Seattle-area a bit better, so I hunted for an apartment on Craigslist.
And you found something good?
I found a great place. It was an easy bike ride to campus and was way better than any place I’ve lived at college.
Tell us about your roommates.
I lived with two Italian/Venezuelans; both named Ricky. They were both minor league soccer players and had all sorts of friends who played soccer.
I suddenly had a big group of new friends. Everyone was very welcoming. Another soccer-player friend was over at the apartment so frequently that we decided to host his birthday party there.
So, you were living at the epicenter of the Seattle soccer community?
It definitely seemed that way. For example, at that birthday party, a girl asked me “Did you get to meet Fredy?”
I was like, “Fredy who?”
“That Fredy,” she pointed to a guy sitting on the couch.
Did you get to meet him?
Yeah. I’ve never hung out any sports celebrities before, but he was a really nice guy and a completely down-to-earth person. We played ping-pong and he came around the hang out at our apartment other times too.
Did you find that kind of accessible, casual culture elsewhere in your internship?
For sure. No matter if somebody is an intern or the head of a business group at Microsoft; they go by their first name at work.
I mean, at the intern keynote speech, Steve Ballmer said if we had any questions or concerns to go ahead and ping him and he’d do his best to get back to us.
There’s a sense that all interns are welcome and you immediately feel like part of something much bigger than yourself.
The intern experience: Sitting down with the big boss
The ‘Softie interns in question:
Sara – Software Development Intern – Office Communications – Lync
Ted – Program Manager Intern – Windows
Rumor has it that you met with Steve Ballmer not once, but twice. Tell us why you sought out a meeting with the CEO.
Sara: I’ve been a total Microsoft fangirl since middle school. But, all this time, people like Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer were just figureheads to me. I wanted the opportunity to get to know him as a real person.
Ted: Who wouldn’t want to meet him? This seemed like the best chance we’d get.
An intern doesn’t usually get more than one shot to request a meeting with Ballmer – so it’d better be a good one. How’d you do it?
Sara: It was more straightforward that you might think. People really overestimate the difficulty of sending an email.
It did involve a mousetrap, a high school yearbook page through which I’d made abundantly clear my passion for Microsoft and approximately an hour to build up the courage to hit “send.”
Ted: And, somehow, we ended up with a meeting with just the three of us.
What was it like to meet with him? What did you talk about?
Ted: I was a little nervous at first, but that disappeared once we actually met him. He’s a very likable person. We talked about technology but also normal things like where his kids were applying to college. It felt like I was talking to a family friend.
The second time we met him – for lunch with the other interns from our schools – it was like having a front-row seat to watch your favorite sports team. He has a powerful presence that you can only fully understand by meeting him in person.
How did meeting Ballmer affect your overall experience as an intern?
Sara: The meeting alleviated the one concern I had about Microsoft: that it’s such a huge company that I’d get lost in it all. But, as interns, we were so welcomed into the company that we managed to traverse every level of the organization and personally meet with the CEO. How cool is that?
Is it fair to say that you felt like a valued member of the Microsoft community?
Ted: Absolutely. We were given real work and real challenges, but we never had trouble getting support from people on our teams or anywhere else in the company.
And beyond Ballmer, we got to meet all sorts of other Microsoft executives to get a big-picture sense of what it means to be an employee at the company.
The intern experience: Finding love at Microsoft
The ‘Softie interns in question:
Jonathan – Program Manager Intern – Windows
Montserrat – Software Development Intern – Windows
Tell us about how you met each other.
Montse: We met on the Explorer internship. I‘m from Mexico and Jonathan is from Puerto Rico and it was both of our first times here at Microsoft. However, we were on separate intern teams so we didn’t get to know each other at first.
How’d you two actually meet then?
Jonathan: You’re very busy as an intern as you get real, challenging work, but it is all balanced out with a lot of fun social events too.
There’s everything from parties to the chance to do outdoor stuff like going to Mount Rainier or white water rafting and community service projects.
Montse: We actually got to know each other and a lot of our other intern friends through the social events. Believe it or not, we sat next to each other on the bus on the way to a community service project.
Unfortunately, this happened toward the end of our internship.
Did you think that you’d ever see each other again?
Montse: We never thought that we’d see each other again, but then kept in touch by Windows Live Messenger and Skype and we just kept talking.
Jonathan: I went to visit her in Mexico that Christmas and that’s when we started dating.
So, what was the next step?
Jonathan: We told the Microsoft recruiters that we wanted to intern again.
Montse: They were great in making it possible and comfortable for us to come back for another year.
Does that mean you only actually see each other during your internships?
Montse: As full-time students living in different countries, we only get to be together while on our internships in Redmond and at Christmas.
I’ve gotta ask, do you two talk about technology all the time when you’re together?
Jonathan: Montse is a dev intern and I am a PM intern, so we have very different specialties and don’t talk specifically about tech so much.
Montse: But we do talk about the industry and Microsoft a lot.
What’s next for the international lovebirds?
Montse: We‘re already working with our recruiters to find out if it’s possible to come back for a final internship at Microsoft next summer before we graduate.
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