We will be featuring a new series of “diary” posts from our Kogod Graduate Student Ambassadors, bringing you a first-person view of life as a Kogod graduate student. Our first entry by Trinity Sheppard (Kogod/MBA ’20) is about her experience interning with Microsoft–from preparing for the interview to landing the virtual internship and even getting offered a full-time job post-graduation. Learn Trinity’s tips for getting an interview (and job) with your dream company!
Getting the Interview
I attended the National Black MBA Association Conference in early fall of 2020. For each company I was interested in, I made a cheat sheet with highlights, talking points, and why I was interested in the position. This helped calm my nerves when going up to recruiters while also ensuring that my questions and comments were unique to the company and position.
Acing the Interview
There were two series of interviews—one at the conference and another on-site in Seattle. The on-site process consisted of three rounds of interviews. Preparation for both the on-site and conference interviews was similar. I made sure to know exactly what was on my resume and to have talking points for everything. As my interview date quickly approached, I constantly practiced my interviewing skills with Kogod’s Office of Career Engagement and Big Interview. I scheduled informational meetings with current Microsoft employees and past interns to learn more about their experiences and how my skills could transfer to a position with the company. I also prepared questions to ask during the interview ahead of time so that I could demonstrate my genuine desire to land the internship! Lastly and (maybe most importantly), I meditated before each interview. It can be a stressful and nerve-wracking experience; meditating helps me think more clearly so that during interviews, I can focus on what I know and why I am there instead of overthinking or letting my nerves get the best of me. With adequate preparation ahead of any interview, you’ll be ready–and it will show through to the employer!
The Virtual Internship Experience
I got the internship! It would have been in Seattle but was made into a virtual experience due to the coronavirus pandemic. Microsoft did a great job of trying to create a fun and educational community. We were assigned to cohorts of other interns from different parts of the country and different departments within Microsoft. It was interesting and helpful to learn more about what others were working on; many of our experiences like presenting, problem-solving, and being a team player were universal skills to build on for success in the workplace! In our cohorts, we had weekly drop-in sessions to talk about or ask any questions. They also sponsored group activities like virtual escape rooms! This really added to the community experience and morale!
Working on a virtual team with company headquarters located on the other side of the country was definitely a challenge. There was a time difference, and making connections with others wasn’t as easy or natural as it would have been in person. However, my teammates and the other Microsoft employees that I reached out to were always open to scheduling time to talk and get to know each other beyond the virtual office. I made it a goal of mine to chat with at least one new team member every week. Regular conversations between managers and interns were required, and we set goals at the beginning of my internship that gave me a clear indication of what I needed to do to succeed.
Though we all would have preferred to be in person, I was still able to make connections and get an idea of what working at Microsoft will be like when I return as a full-time employee after graduation!