Salary: $5100 per month
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and background?
I am from the Bay area and grew up around tech my whole life. Both my parents are engineers, so naturally I was drawn to the industry. I was interested in applying critical thinking skills, so I took stem classes my freshman year. I later transitioned into finance, which is similar in the way of thinking but I liked that finance is more applied. I got really interested in investing and that sparked my interest to look at the rest of finance. I could see the logic flow and why business make decisions based on financial metrics. In my engineering classes I was learning background foundation knowledge which I felt wasn’t as applicable as business. I currently attend the University of Washington, my reason for coming to Seattle is because it’s an amazing city. I also wanted to get away from California, but still stay on the west coast.
How did you come across this internship?
I found a job listing for the position on my schools career website. I had friends that worked there previously and they seemed to like it, and I also had an informational interview with them to learn more about the program. I applied in November and they got back to me in January and it took about a couple weeks from there to go through the whole process. The first round of interviews was on campus at University of Washington. Then I talked with the Chief of Staff for the CFO, we had a 30-minute conversation. It wasn’t really an interview, but more about the program and how it feeds into the full time program. She didn’t really look over my resume as whole but rather for specific things, like my student leadership experience, and she asked me to elaborate on that. There were only 6-7 students on the committee so it helped me stand out.
I assume Microsoft looks for specific things on your resume based on the questions they ask like; why you participated in certain clubs, your team based experience, what motivates you, what team environments have you been in and the end result. The Chief of Staff stressed that it’s not about the finance skills you obtain, it’s if you’re passionate about the company.
Can you tell us about your role?
The position was Finance Rotational Program Intern. A little background on the program itself, an analyst will rotate between different teams every 6 months for 2 years, with exposure to 4 teams. Interns get a 3-month taste of that, my specific team was the Xbox team, and my role was to look at long range planning. What that means is that I forecasted a segment of the Xbox business all the way out to the year 2020. I was able to do this by helping to build onto a financial model, the model had assumptions like how many controllers, headsets, and other Xbox accessories were put into it. Every intern was on a different team so we all had different responsibilities. My team itself was executive ad-hoc support and so if the CFO of Xbox had a question, he would go to my manager and my team would take on that task. My team had to do the monthly P&L and budget reporting but I was not a part of that.
What was the company culture like?
The culture was excellent. Overall it was a work hard play hard environment. The program managers, my managers, and analysts were extremely supportive; they gave me the resources I needed to succeed. My manager was open to answer my questions and give me advice. They expected high quality results, but there wasn’t too much stress, and there was never a sense of critical urgency. The Microsoft culture is very open, I had one on ones with directors, and a lot of the interns had coffee with the CFO. It’s a very cool and warm culture. There was also another time where the CEO spoke only to interns. We got to meet people from all over the country with different disciplines, and Microsoft holds specific events just for interns.
What was the highlight of your internship experience?
I would say there was two big highlights, one was the fun part, meeting people on the personal level and the signature event was really amazing. The second thing is that I was trusted with a financial model, and the fact that they trusted an intern to do even just a portion of the model was cool because we presented it to a corporate VP.
Is there anything you wish your internship program could have improved on?
Great experience nothing I can think of.
How does this internship help you in your future?
It gave me expose to professionals that have a lot more experience than I have, and gave me responsibility to present to high-level managers. I gained great soft skills and technical financial modeling skills. Overall everything in the internship helped me as a person.
If you could give advice to a student seeking a similar prestigious internship, what would you tell them?
Make sure that when you are applying for a program and company, you go for the work you are doing, don’t necessarily go for the name. There are a lot of complex problems and if you aren’t passionate it’s going to be very hard to go to work everyday. Also for your interviews you have to know everything about the company, why you want to work there, and how the company is performing plus all sorts of details.