My penultimate week at Microsoft has been bittersweet. I’ve grappled with two conflicting emotions: rushing around to explore everything left to see or relaxing and reflecting on my time here. Though I tried to find a good balance, I focused on the latter. It was important to end my summer stress free, emphasizing quality over quantity of experiences. To me, deeper and more meaningful relationships easily trumped plenty superficial ones.

On Monday morning, I asked my buddy if I could participate in the company wide hackathon ‘OneWeek.’ Vinh said it was encouraged. Being true to my goal of exploring everything Microsoft had to offer, I took a break from work to get a first-hand view of the event. I joined a team of a few other random interns aspiring to ameliorate Microsoft’s on-boarding protocol — on both a company wide and team specific level. We didn’t end up coding much but were able to create a complete wire frame, several mock-ups, and a PowerPoint deck. Out of nowhere, on Tuesday, the GM of Garage (the Microsoft sub-organization responsible for hosting hackathons at company campuses all across the world), Jeff Ramos, approached our group. He asked us about our project and got to know us.

Participating in OneWeek — Microsoft’s company wide hackathon.
When we showed Jeff a rundown of our idea on Google Docs, he immediately remarked: “You should use Microsoft Word. I can’t show Satya this.” We thought he was just joking, especially about showing the CEO of Microsoft our project. We were wrong.

We started practicing a coherent presentation to show the CEO. Unfortunately, Satya spent too long at another demo and ran out of time. This will forever be the time I almost presented our idea to the leader of Microsoft. On the bright side, I got one-on-one time with the top executive in charge of the Garage. Jeff told me about the Garage internship — think a 14 week long hackathon, where teams of interns go from idea to prototype — and I was very interested. In fact, I told my recruiter and am actively recruiting for a potential opportunity for next summer.

Later that evening, Neha, Chase, and I decided to go support Nelson, a fellow intern and stand-up comedian. To my disappointment, the comedy club was 21+ and to make matters worse, I was the only underage one in the entire group. We looked around for dinner options because we were already in Pioneer Square.

The Pioneer Square area in Seattle.

Every restaurant we tried had the same age restriction because of some law about open areas and alcohol. By this time, it was night and everyone was tired. We headed back to U-District and settled on Just Burgers for a quick dinner. Again, the night wasn’t a waste. I had a conversation with Chase on the bus ride back and he told me a condensed version of his life story, so we bonded!

We continued working on our on-boarding platform, OneBoarding, on Wednesday. In the afternoon, I attended an E + D networking social in front of the tree houses. We heard from the leadership team, including EVP Rajesh Jha.

Fun Fact: I had cold emailed Rajesh at the beginning of the internship and he responded in 20 minutes, saying we can catch up at the E + D networking social in late July.
The E + D networking social in front of the tree houses.

In the evening, Neha and I biked around the Washington Park Arboretum. We finished up the night with boba. I ordered my favorite drink: mango slushie with lychee jelly! We had a super deep conversation, which resulted in me having a mini existential crisis.

Trees at the Washington Park Arboretum.

Thursday was the day of our final presentations at a science fair type setup. We decked out our booth with a welcome message and short description but we couldn’t stick around to present because we had Satya’s highly anticipated Q&A in the afternoon. Interns began lining up an hour before the start time of the event because everyone wanted to get good seats. By the time doors had closed, the auditorium tent was at capacity with an intern in every seat. I was able to secure a spot in the second row, right behind the Head of University Recruiting, Diego.

A full house of interns for Satya’s Q&A.

As the program began, we were pleasantly surprised. Kathleen Hogan, the Chief People Officer, walked out and began introducing a mysterious person. Out of nowhere, Melinda Gates walked onto the stage. For the next half hour, Kathleen asked Melinda about her life and time at Microsoft as well as current role leading the Gates Foundation. The dialogue was inspiring and heartwarming.

Melinda Gates surprised us with a fireside chat.

Next on the agenda was the famous, adored Diego. He had performed his original song at NEO back in May and had been teasing a new single. Along with a choir of interns and recruiters, Diego finally sang his new creative endeavor: “Come As You Are, Do As You Love.”

Diego sang his second original song: “Come As You Are, Do As You Love.”

Soon, it was time for the main event. After a presentation from another intern part of the ACE program, working on Mixer’s new HypeZone feature, out came Satya. He briefly talked about Microsoft as a whole, while addressing key points of growth. Further, he touched upon where he believes the company should focus on in the next ten, fifty, and hundred years to come. Then, to close out the session, Satya opened the floor to questions — of which there were many and of all types and flavors.

The person of honor: Satya Nadella — CEO of Microsoft.

To end the week, all the Explorer interns headed to the Woodland Park Zoo. I got to catch up with Regina, who I’d met at NEO. We toured around together and met a few animals up close. The intern program had given us a gift-card with $30 and the entrance ticket cost $9 so we had the rest to spend before leaving. I ate some ice-cream and bought the most expensive socks I’ll ever own (with a sloth print).

Such a friendly bird at the Woodland Park Zoo.

I ended the work week with a breath of fresh air. Neha and I walked on the boardwalk across from Pike Place and bordering the Puget Sound waterfront.

Posing at the boardwalk on the Puget Sound — the famous Ferris wheel is visible behind (PC: Neha).

We walked and talked for a while and ended up at the Olympic Sculpture Park just in time for sunset.

An art structure at the Olympic Sculpture Park.

Compared to most weekends this summer, this one was more laid back and chill. I finally checked out the farmer’s market at U-Disctrict and tried Ellenos yogurt. In the afternoon, Edward, Neha, and I went shopping. We hit all the classic stores and I actually bought a few items. I am now a proud owner of a few closet staples: comfort color tees, a pair of solid jeans, and a hip sunglasses printed blue shirt. On Sunday, I caught up on chores like laundry and groceries. In the evening, I baked a pizookie for the first time and joined Edward to finish watching ‘Coco’ — which almost brought us both to tears.

Edward had trouble remembering the word pizookie, so he called the dessert many names, including cookizza.
A BJ’s pizzookie — the model for my attempt.

This past week, I interacted with a lot of executives at Microsoft. It was neat to pick their brains on important issues and take away life advice. This summer has been filled with learning and lessons. As I begin my last week in this beautiful city working at this amazing company, I remain eager to absorb as much knowledge as I can.