Before coming to business school, I worked in the largest bank in Brazil. During the nine years I spent there, I witnessed the growing impact of technology on the financial industry. Every year, I became more and more involved with tech-related projects. However, I knew tech was still viewed as a support area by some in business.
Choosing to enroll at the Fuqua School of Business, my goals were to achieve hands-on experience at a company where tech was the core business and also to have a professional experience outside my home country.
During the summer of 2020, I interned at Microsoft as a product marketing manager in the Azure Customer Success team, building the positioning and go-to-market strategy for a new Azure cloud computing resource available for developers. When I started recruiting for my summer internship, I already knew that I would face professional and personal challenges. But I had no idea how big the challenge of interning during a pandemic would be.
Due to COVID-19, my internship was entirely virtual. But my experience was much more than what I expected. The main impact of a remote internship experience was the challenge of making connections and getting to know the company’s atmosphere. However, networking was facilitated by several events promoted by HR, including one-on-one chats and other events. There were even employees volunteering to give Seattle and Microsoft campus virtual tours! Additionally, we could learn more about the company’s culture and strategy through exclusive town halls. Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s CEO, always says that the company is made up of friendly people that like to learn. And, after being there for the summer in such challenging times, I can confirm that Nadella is telling the truth.
Interning during such an intense summer taught me a lot about being proactive and resilient. Like many companies, Microsoft allows you to own your internship experience, and I took advantage of it to develop some leadership skills by leading Diversity and Inclusion group discussions and heading social activities for interns while also working on my project.
I learned that your experience and success depend mainly on your own dedication. But, undoubtedly, my main takeaway of this experience is that focusing on input outside of your control doesn’t help your future outcomes.