I joined IIM Indore after working for about 3 years as a software engineer at Symantec. My decision to pursue a course in management was not because I didn’t like coding nor because my passion for computers had died, but because I felt that over the years I developed not only a passion for writing software, but also for communication, planning and management. And when it came to selecting a profile for my summer internships, there is no role that fit this criteria better than a PM role. Hence, I was elated when Microsoft provided me with an opportunity to intern with them as a Program Manager at their Hyderabad campus.
I was a part of the Go-To-Market team for Mobile Only apps in the Office division. My project was to develop a Go-To-Market strategy for two Small and Medium Business mobile apps. The project looked a challenging one as my prior work experience was in Enterprise Software products and not in mobile apps. This is where my experience at IIM Indore contributed the most. The rigor of the courses taught during the first year instills in you the confidence for tackling any business problem with a structured thought process.
One of my key learnings from my internship is that effective communication matters a lot in a PM role. As a PM you constantly have to present your ideas to the rest of the team. I loved doing it, but that is not enough – you need to not only know what to present, but also how. My mentor’s advice was “Be clear, concise and to the point”.
Also, as a PM you cannot work in a silo. You take a lot of decisions that impact other teams as well. Getting a buy-in from various stakeholders before you go ahead with its implementation is extremely crucial for the success of your project.
At Microsoft a lot of emphasis is given on generating original ideas that can be put into practice. There are special forums where you can pitch your ideas to a wider audience and get feedback. I presented a marketing idea that I had for the apps in that forum. The work done by interns is taken very seriously at Microsoft and they do not differentiate between a full time employee and an intern.
I got to be a part of an amazing team that did remarkable work and celebrated it remarkably as well. The two months went by like a flash, and I was right in the epicenter of all the action.
At the end of the day, the internship is what you make of it. There is no guide book that will give you the recipe for success. Will you make mistakes? Definitely. But what you learn from those mistakes is what will make you a valuable employee at the end. Be active, be eager to learn and realize that your impact matters.
– Ajay Krishnan
About the author – Ajay is currently studying in the first year of his PGDM course at Indian Institute of Management Indore. Prior to joining IIM Indore he has worked as a software engineer for 3 years at Symantec and interned at Nvidia. He has completed his bachelor’s in engineering in Information Technology from Pune University.