Intern Day in the Life - Maria Ilie

Hi, I’m Maria Alexandra Ilie and I work in the UK Services Centre in Premier Services. My department is quite unique to Microsoft, so I get to do a lot of things that I wouldn’t be able to do anywhere else. If you want to find out more about my role, click here

Every role in Microsoft involves managing a lot of different projects at the same time, and as an intern you also get to be involved in intern-specific projects as well. So as part of my role, I have to handle requests that come through to our team, find ways in which to improve our services portfolio and lead pilots to outsource services to other countries. This should add up to about 70% of my time. The other 30% is reserved for intern activities and personal development, so anything from the services intern project, to going to product launches, to shadowing in other departments, to randomly taking a selfie with the whole of Services:

I’m pretty sure you’ve heard this before, but no two days are the same at Microsoft. However, if I’d try to summarise my typical day at work, here’s what it would look like:

6:30 am- wake up

I come in to work from London so I wake up fairly early. I like to give myself an hour in the morning before I need to leave, as I like to have time for breakfast and organizing my day. I usually pick a book to have in the train to work, so that way I can save time for reading as well.

9 am- arrive at the office

We start the day at 9AM, but people are quite flexible with working hours: you can come in earlier and leave a bit early, or do the other way around, depending on how you plan your meetings. My team has a meeting each morning at 9:30 so before that I like to catch up on e-mails and see what I have to do for the day.

9:30 am- daily triage meeting

Each morning, we have a meeting to discuss what new requests have come into our team mailbox and see who will be doing what. The meeting itself lasts half an hour, but then we usually spend some more time individually to complete those requests.

11am- Services project team meeting

All the interns in Services have to complete a project each year. This year, we’re helping the Brookfields School use Office 365 to better plan their lessons and be more productive. We have a weekly meeting to decide where we’re going next with the project and what we need to do in the upcoming school meetings.

12pm- Lunch

What really surprised me the first time I came over to the Microsoft office was the fact that everyone has lunch together. Every day, I get to catch up over lunch with either my team, other interns, apprentices or pretty much everyone else I might know from the table.

1pm- FUNdraising team meeting

Every intern at Microsoft has chance to be part of a 101 team, which is basically a team that allows you to branch out and do projects that you want to get involved with outside your role. My 101 team is FUNdraising, and we are in charge of Microsoft’s fundraising brand in the UK. We plan various events in order to fundraise for various charities, so this year we did things like the giving tree, getting games and Xbox consoles to children in hospitals, a table football tournament and so on.

2pm- Shadowing my mentor

At Microsoft, you’re encouraged to find at least one mentor to help you with your career. I sometimes go and shadow one of my mentors in customer meetings, or we just have one to one meetings to talk about what I’m going to do in the future. Having a mentor is one of the most important things you can do at Microsoft, because it allows you to learn from their experience and think about the next steps you have to take in your career.

3pm- Pilot update

At the moment, I’m running my own pilot for a service. The service is currently piloting in the UK and is meant to improve customer experience for a certain type of Premier engagement. If the pilot is a success, the process will be fully documented and outsourced to another country. At the beginning of the project, I’ve had to liaise with people from different parts of the business and from different countries, as this service wasn’t currently offered in the UK. It’s exciting how much responsibility you get given at Microsoft from the very beginning, as it offers you a chance to prove that you can do the job.

4pm- One to one with my manager

Your relationship with your manager is very different at Microsoft compared to anywhere else. You have quarterly reviews about how you’re doing and what your impact in the business has been with them, but you’re also expected to have regular meetings in which you update them about your progress with various projects, and they offer coaching and advice. My manager has been extremely helpful throughout the year, she’s always backed up any project I wanted to pursue and gave me advice whenever I didn’t know what to do next. At Microsoft, you’re encouraged to take the long-term view and think about your career and your overall impact to the business, and not just what you need to do this day or this week.

5pm- tying up loose ends

Before the day finishes, I send out any outstanding e-mails, follow up with the people I have to, and plan what I need to do for the next day.

5:30pm-gym

When you sign up for the gym in the Microsoft TVP office, you get a personal trainer. Since I joined Microsoft, I got inspired by all these people around me who were running marathons, so I decided to start running myself. I just finished my first race with the help of a training programme put together by my personal trainer, and now I’m training for my next one.

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