We asked student Alexander Bennett, an Industrial Design senior, to sit down with us to tell us a little bit about his recent summer internship. Here’s what he had to say:
Student: Where did you intern this summer?
Alex: I interned at Microsoft this summer in Seattle, Washington. My focus was envisioning work for Microsoft’s suite of productivity products, like Office.
Student: How many interns did Microsoft have?
Alex: They had about 1,200 interns this summer, only twelve of which were design interns. It was a great experience with a tight group- we instantly bonded.
Student: Are there any days that stand out to you when you look back on your experience?
Alex: Each year, Microsoft has a signature event that takes place. They took all 1,200 of us interns on a bus to go and do something fun for the day. This year we went to a carnival full of games, rides, and all the other amazing things you’d expect to be there. However, the prizes at this carnival were all Microsoft products. David Blaine then performed for us. It was absolutely incredible! There was a Q&A with him the next day and that was just as entertaining, he talked about his work ethic and how he trains and perfects tricks.
Student: What was the actual work atmosphere like?
Alex: It was similar to what you might stereotypically think west coast technology companies are like. A good mix between casual and relaxed but also at times intense and challenging. They understand the value of a good work life balance over there and in turn are more productive from it.
Another big takeaway in terms of the what it was like to work there, was having the chance to collaborate with all types of people, including software engineers, design researcher, and business marketing.
Student: Did you get the chance to show what you have learned from RIT’s industrial design program?
Alex: For sure! I was assigned my own intern project that I led the whole summer. My experience at RIT understanding the design process, and the systematic thinking of taking on a large ambiguous problem allowed me to hit the ground running at Microsoft and be fearless during my design proposals and product iterations.
Student: Was it an experience you’ll never forget?
Alex: It definitely was. I made great connections with students from other schools such as Carnegie Mellon, SCAD, Art Center, and even from other countries including Canada and Germany. All of us design interns bonded quickly and traveled around the city. We meshed so well that we even worked together for Microsoft’s first ever Hack-a-Thon, where we created an app in just three days. All of us created long-lasting connections and have still been keeping in touch.
Student: Any advice for undergraduate students looking to work for Microsoft?
Alex: I was able to get my foot in the door through another Industrial Design alum Derek Burkhardsmeier, so Derek or I would be a great contact to talk to. We now know the Microsoft design recruiter which is always the first step when trying to land a corporate job like Microsoft.
At the end of his internship Alex was offered a full time position and in a few months, he will be joining the Industrial Design team at Microsoft.
Microsoft Building 36