My name is Olga Matoula and until recently I was a Microsoft intern at the Athens office. My background is on Electrical and Computer Engineering and I am currently finishing my Master’s on 3D Graphics. Last fall, though still being a student, I decided to acquire some industry experience and therefore, I applied for a Microsoft internship. For the next 7 months I worked as a Technical Solutions Professional specializing on Azure – Microsoft’s cloud platform.
My time at Microsoft was definitely enlightening. Despite some initial doubts about postponing my studies, it soon became clear that it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Why do I believe that? It is neither the perks nor the big company name in my CV! So let me cut to the chase and spill the secrets of what I’ve learnt from my Microsoft internship:
1. It opened a window to a world I had no idea about, a world that sadly enough is completely cut off from the Greek university; the business world. I gained valuable insights about how a business operates, collaborates, grows, celebrates success and learns from failure. This information is so adaptive, formative and can be perceived in different ways that can prove useful no matter the path you follow.
2. As expected for a colossal tech company, the culture is technologically forward. I had the opportunity to use modern tools, which facilitate procedures and automate tasks, rendering people more effective and focused on progress. The environment helped me develop my hard skills and learn about top-notch technologies and trends that will drive the future of technology.
3. Despite misperceptions about internships, I found that my role was demanding, thus impactful on the team’s results. The quick pace meant I had to become more independent and learn (or discover a way) to do things on my own. I had to come out of my comfort zone. My initial hesitance, gradually developed in belief in myself and my competence, as I offered to undertake more and more tasks. This experience helped me build my self-confidence, a virtue vital to success.
4. A Microsoft office is always a node, where each day an amazingly diverse group of people passes by: diverse in their identity (employees, partners, customers), ethnicity, gender, education, aspirations. When you have to seal agreements and collaborate with a person so culturally distant from you, you embody a true growth mindset and appreciate the value of listening.
5. But what really makes it in the end is the people you meet along the way. I am very thankful for my team and all the people I had the chance to work with. The way they welcomed me, their eagerness to help me whenever I asked for guidance or mentorship, the appreciation for my contributions and their constructive feedback is a great interpretation of the word teamwork.
My top tip?
Cliché though it may sound, being yourself is the way to go. Modern times have it that individuality is not merely accepted, it is encouraged. It is what drives innovation and forward thinking. Take advantage of that, seek out new experiences you feel are worth trying and embrace your unique characteristics and abilities in all their glory! Your future employer will do, too. 😉
Technical Solutions Professional
Solutions Team Unit – Enterprise Partner Group