Microsoft Intern's journey to FTE— The Internship
Summarising my summer internship experience at a big tech company
I was fortunate enough to intern as a software engineer at Microsoft IDC in the summer of 2022. As a member of the Azure SQL Bangalore Team, I contributed to simplifying the debugging of SQL Server Query Optimizer. The best part of the internship — I received a full-time offer from Microsoft!
These strategies worked for me, and I'd be delighted to help you by dispelling any notions you might have about what it's like to intern at a big tech firm.
You can skip to the bottom of the article, where I've outlined my strategies for a fruitful internship, and in the rest of the article, I explain my experience.
It was altogether a new experience for me. It was not all sunshine and rainbows — the journey was challenging, and I had to push myself in every possible way.
After I had accepted the offer, I received a few comms from the University Recruiting team about virtual meetings where leaders at Microsoft and past interns share their journeys, and I got a sneak peek at the culture at Microsoft.
I would recommend attending all these meetings as critical communications are passed down —
- Teams at Microsoft.
- The Growth Mindset Culture (more on this later).
- Internship duration, stipend, timeline.
- Intern expectations, commitments.
- Best practices on working remotely and making the best out of the internship.
My background check was conducted near my expected joining date, and my preferred joining date (per the academic calendar) was asked for and assigned to me. Finally, I received the final updated offer letter.
One day before my internship started, I received a mail that I would intern at the Azure SQL Org.
After I learned who my manager was, I mailed him and introduced myself.
One thing I realised is not to expect anyone to reach out to you or assist you. Take the initiative and take the lead.
I had a lot of anxiety the first week. While my other friends had introductory meetings and their projects given to them on the VERY FIRST DAY of their internships, I only engaged with the team or my manager on Thursday of my first week. I felt demotivated by this and thought, "Great first week, Vibali".
In hindsight, I've realised —
Everyone has obligations, and I am obviously not a priority. I am still a valuable employee regardless of this. We often receive a curriculum or help throughout our lives, which is essentially a support system, and we feel helpless without it. You have to adjust to this significant change.
I was overjoyed and finally felt welcomed when I could have a 1:1 chat with my manager. I was delighted by his friendliness and adored his demeanour. My worries were all at bay.
I got introduced to my project the next day and met my mentors. All interns were assigned a solo project, so I was the only one working on it.
The first two weeks are about adjusting to this new phase, getting a background about your project, and reading up a LOT of study materials about it.
Spend more time learning about Microsoft during this period (or the company you will be interning at). Join communities, engage in conversation, and learn about the benefits you receive and the resources Microsoft provides you with, such as free courses and audiobooks.
Don't skip meetings — you have a few months to enjoy the corporate culture amidst the university chaos.
After the 2nd week — that is when the actual project started. I won't bore you with the details of my project.
“Will I get a PPO?” would always remain on your mind. But if you focus on learning (which you should) the voice gets quitter
After the 4th week, I was confident about my project. I could own the project, see the future steps needed to complete it, and determine the pace. I would advise continuing and working hard to build the confidence that you own the project.
>> Fun activities —
There are two significant events for interns:
- Intern Learning Week — sessions + fun activities
- Global Intern Day — Pre-recorded event featuring famous personalities.
(Also, there is a dedicated website for interns, where all the events hosted for interns globally would be listed — I won't disclose the link here, though; find it yourself )
>> Swags —
Microsoft is very generous when it comes to swags. We received a LOT of swags.
The best part — we got to order a whole basket of snacks for Global Intern Day. Words can't express how unique all the hampers were!
>> Last Leg of the Internship —
The weeks went by so fast, and soon I was at my last week.
I had my presentation — an essential part of my internship. Make sure you give it your best shot, get them reviewed, and record how your demo is working. It had happened with many people that their demo did not work when they were showing it live.
Be prepared for the interviews — read my previous article to learn about exit interviews.
I received the result 15 days after my internship ended. I was so happy that my efforts did not go in vain, and it was worth it all in the end.
My Tips for a Successful Internship
Because I took ownership of my project rather than having someone tell me what I should be doing, my internship went smoothly.
Here are my tips on how to make sure that you are giving your all in your internship:
 Impactful Introduction:
Your first week will be filled with introductions to your team, your manager, and your mentors, so you should prepare your introduction; that is your first impression, so you want it to be good, right? So make sure that you make it funny, short, and engaging at the same time.
>> Writing Emails:
I completely freaked out when writing emails to my managers and mentors in my initial week. I needed to learn to be polite, ask for something, and not make them feel I was too assertive sometimes. After you get settled, you will get informal, and everything will be less tense, so don't worry about that.
I am a huge believer that first impression matters.
Resources I would recommend:
>> Constant Contact With Mentors
You should start praying that you get a mentor who has some free time on their hands. Being under a busy mentor is less fun when you have to wait days to resolve a simple bug.
- I was lucky that my mentors gave me time daily and helped me out whenever I was stuck.
- I was continuously pestering my mentors for advice.
- I daily updated my mentors and talked to them whenever possible.
- I worked hard on the bugs I was facing, and only when I was sure I had done everything in my power (google search, reading the docs, StackOverflow) I would contact my mentor for help.
>> 1:1 with Manager
Apart from the fact that they are fascinating people you would undoubtedly love speaking with, managers are a key factor in determining if you will remain with the company the following year.
- Schedule at least a 1:1 meeting once every two weeks.
- This includes an internal evaluation system that encourages managers and interns to meet and discuss the project's status. Don't take that lightly, please.
The rule is — Don’t be afraid to ask
There are so many exceptional engineers with whom you can talk easily, as you can contact them directly through Teams. Don't be afraid at all to ask for a time. Talk to at least two people per week.
Play the intern card. Never forget that you are an intern. Everyone would be polite and friendly to you.
 Technical skills
- Know how to use Git and the terminal.
- Be prepared for the conversion interviews: Prepare Operating Systems, DBMS, Computer Networks, Data Structures and algorithms, and System Design, OOPs so you are prepared for every interview. Remember that you will need more time to prepare for this during the internship; at best, you can revise your notes.
- Tip: I recommend attending hackathons or fellowships to be in touch with development. You never know if you can win them; it looks great on your CV. It was a motivation for me to work hard.
- Resource — Code With Engineering Playbook
If you are interning at a company this summer or winter, I hope you get the outcome you desire!
Connect with me on Twitter — I tweet helpful stuff that may come in handy to you.
Bonus — You will be getting one year of free X-box subscription!
This is the second post in the series where I am documenting my journey from getting an internship offer at Microsoft to interning there and then getting a Full-Time offer.
If you missed the earlier part of this series, you could read it here —
A Microsoft Intern's journey to PPO — Part -1
I got shortlisted through Microsoft Engage 2021 for a summer internship at Microsoft in the year 2022 (more about that…
How I got a direct Internship at Microsoft | Microsoft Engage
Microsoft Engage is a mentorship program by Microsoft where students get mentored by Software Engineers working at…
Here is a little glimpse of how it felt to be an intern at Microsoft: