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A Summer in Seattle at Microsoft

internship

microsoft

seattle

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Today marks the last day of my internship as a Program Manager Intern at Microsoft on the Cloud Operations and Innovation Team. I've had a great time working here, and while I can't share details about what I worked on, I can share some of my experiences.

There's a lot of people in the above pictures. On the left one, I'm standing to the far left; on the right one, I'm in the middle of the bottom row. I'm wearing the Gold Out shirt in both pictures (Go Bears!).

Table of Contents

What is Microsoft and what is a Program Manager Intern?

Microsoft is a technology company that develops, manufactures, licenses, supports, and sells computer software, consumer electronics, personal computers, and related services. It's best known for its Windows operating system, Microsoft Office suite, and Xbox video game console.

A Program Manager Intern is a role that focuses on the planning, execution, and delivery of projects. This includes working with cross-functional teams to define project scope, deliverables, and timelines. It also includes working with stakeholders to ensure that the project is meeting their needs.

The Internship

Initial Thoughts

At first, I wasn't sure what to expect. I had not worked at a tech company the size of Microsoft before, and this was my first tech PM role. Microsoft was providing corporate housing for me, so I was mainly trying to figure out what to do with my time and how to get around since I didn't have a car.

Luckily, I had a few friends who already worked at Microsoft, and I was able to meet a lot of other interns that lived in the same place as me and interns that worked in the same building. I also had a few friends who worked at other companies in the area (one pretty major one known for having the same name as a rainforest headquartered in Seattle), so I was able to meet them as well.

Redwest E

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This is Redwest E, located on the Microsoft Redmond campus. It's a pretty cool building with some interesting architecture. It's a part of the Redwest portion of campus (there are a few other buildings in the complex, like Redwest A, B, C, and D).

There's a peculiar naming system - most buildings in Redmond are numbered (i.e. Building 43, 44, 22, etc.) with a handful having "names" like One Esterra. Redwest is its own section - something special.

Fun

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One of the best parts of the internship was the travel. I went to Seattle, Bellevue, Redmond, and Everett within the Puget Sound area, but I also went beyond to Portland after my first week of work and to Mt. Rainier.

There was also an intern day at the Microsoft campus, where we got to play games, eat food, and learn about the company. I also got to explore the numerous buildings within the campus.

The highlight was the other interns I got to meet. On the right is a picture of the "Redwest E Squad", a group of us that worked together (different managers and projects, but at adjacent desks) and explored together. There were a lot of memorable moments - from getting three burritos with fries and guac to store in the fridge to eat after working out to driving in the middle of the night up and down I-5 to see the Seattle skyline while singing Taylor Swift. There's so much to do in Seattle, including visiting places and activities like kayaking/paddleboarding, but most importantly, I'm glad I got to experience it with some great people.

Other interns were from all over the country, with all kinds of backgrounds. It was also kind of crazy what a small world we live in - for example, one intern in the same hotel as me for the first part of the internship went to high school with one of my college roommates.

Work

I am not able to say too much about the work I did due to NDA, but I can say that I worked on a project that involved a lot of cross-functional collaboration. I worked with a lot of different teams, and I learned a lot about how to work with them. I got to work on a few different projects, each covering a different part of what it meant to be a program manager (note that there were elements of product and technical program management in my role).

Regarding Microsoft as a whole, what really fascinated me was the sheer number of products and industries. There's software, hardware, gaming, cloud, and more. As a brief list, there's:

  • Azure
  • Windows
  • Office
  • Xbox
  • Surface
  • HoloLens
  • Teams
  • Bing
  • Visual Studio (Code)
  • SQL Server
  • Power BI/Platform
  • .NET

I got to meet interns working on a lot of these products, and I got to learn about what they were working on - often things I wouldn't expect or guess, but would be very intriguing. I also got to meet people who worked on products that I didn't even know existed.

Takeaways

I had a fantastic time at Microsoft. There was a lot I learned, but the biggest takeaway for me would be making friendships with the other interns. It also leaves me excited for what's to come in the future. I made a LinkedIn post as well about this, which you can find here.

Here's a final picture of me standing in front of the Microsoft campus.

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