Co-op Feature: Maanav Garg

Maanav Garg:

3rd Year Computer Science Student

Software Engineer Intern at Microsoft

Length of Co-Op Term: May 18th to August 7th | 12-weeks


McMaster email:

What is the best part about your job?

I think the best part about working as a SWE intern was that everyday felt like a new challenge and Microsoft being such a huge organization with critical internal and external stakeholders, I knew any and all contributions I made to my team and project were significant and impactful, which honestly helped fuel my motivation throughout the term.

In addition to this, I had the opportunity to work alongside and more importantly learn from a set of incredibly intelligent and hardworking professionals. I was able to not only learn from their experiences but avail their mentorship to be a successful Microsoft intern and pave my own path at the firm. I believe their guidance is definitely something that helped me thrive in my role, and it's the type of support that’s definitely not common at every other company.

What's a cool fact you learned about the company that you worked for or the way it operates over the course of your coop term that most people wouldn't know? Personally speaking, one of the biggest things I tend to look for in a company is their work culture, where thus far Microsoft’s been able to shine the brightest through an amazing work-life balance and great detail to the social aspect of the role. Almost every other day, there was some sort of ‘social’ event happening, whether it be solely for interns, within the team, or general Microsoft events.

Additionally, even at full-capacity, I never felt overloaded or the need to work beyond the 7-8 hours I had in the day, nor was I expected to. My team was great at understanding that I had commitments outside of work, and after speaking to many other interns, that seemed to be a common theme across the organization. All in all, Microsoft’s work culture is one that values their employees and keeps them happy, which was definitely not something I knew coming into the role, and was happily surprised.

How did you make meaningful connections with your coworkers and superiors at your coop?

Any tips on networking?

I think one the most important things when it comes to building meaningful and strong connections with your coworkers is to be natural and transparent in any given exchange you may have. They don’t want to meet someone with an artificial personality whose only interest is to discuss professional matters and try to impress them. You’ll definitely find more success in connecting with someone when you’re being yourself, and not worrying about the bottom line. More often than not, one ‘coffee chat’ or ‘meeting’ won’t be enough, so make sure you follow-up and keep in touch throughout your term as well as after you leave the company.

Some more concrete advice would be that within your first week, make sure to set-up 1-on-1 chats with all your co-workers- trust me they’ll be super excited to meet you! Be sure to come in with a few loose ideas about what you want to talk about during these chats. Asking them questions about themselves and their role is always great since it gives you the opportunity to learn more about them and who they are outside of the firm. Beyond that, make sure to listen to see what you may have in common with your coworkers, and from there just let the conversation flow naturally as if you were talking to one of your friends. Once you get this ball rolling, feel free to ask these co-workers to recommend anyone else you could chat with or anyone they could connect you with. Eventually you’ll find yourself getting to know a large network across the organization.

What new skills were you able to add to your toolbox at the end of your coop? This could be soft skills like learning how to manage your time more effectively or becoming a better communicator, or technical skills like learning a new programming language or how to use a new piece of equipment.

In my experience so far, I feel that every internship comes with a unique set of learning opportunities, and they usually directly pertain to the role you’re pursuing. At Deloitte, where I worked as a Consulting Analyst, I had the chance to build upon my communication, program-delivery/management and delegation skills due to the sheer nature of the role being focused on client interactions. On the other hand as a Software Engineer Intern at Microsoft, I had the chance to grow my technical skills in more ways than one.

Initially, I tackled the main barrier by getting well-acquainted with my team’s technical stack, which for the most part entailed C#, ASP.NET and TypeScript. This led me to learn more about my team’s software product - Visual Studio, from a general perspective. After this, I was introduced to the concept of functional and technical specifications, which I was taught through an iterative approach for my personal deliverables. From there, I was exposed to learning how to leverage internal technologies from the Azure stack, such as ‘Repos’ for sharing and hosting private Git repos, Table Storage and CosmosDB for database purposes, KQL for extracting data and many more. These all became key components during my term and more specifically, for my deliverables and projects. However, this is not to say I didn’t have the opportunity to work upon my soft skills- it was just that the main takeaway from the role was heavily technical.

How did you get this position?

  1. Submitted the initial online application to the role.

  2. McMaster's dedicated university recruiter reached out with further steps for scheduling the phone interview. TIP: Schedule your phone interview as early as possible, they have limited spots, not just for the position itself but for each cut they make during the interview process.

  3. Had the phone interview - consisted of a mix of the following types of questions: -Behavioral -Resume and experience based -Theory and computational knowledge based -Coding

  4. Recruiter followed-up with further steps for scheduling the final on-site interview. This is where the process got a little different for me - I scheduled my on-site interview, however the Friday before I was supposed to fly out to Seattle, I was notified that my onsite will be conducted virtually instead due to severe weather conditions in Seattle.

  5. Had the final set of interviews –which consisted of rounds that covered the following: -White-Board Coding Questions -Behavioral Questions -System Design Questions

  6. Was fortunate enough to receive a follow-up from my recruiter within 48 hours with the good news!

Written by: Rija Asif