Internship Diaries of 2021: Product Management at Microsoft

Internship Diaries of 2021 is a series about the various categories of roles offered by companies for summer internships. We bring to you the experiences of interns from Consulting, Finance, Marketing, General Management, Product Management and E-commerce roles to understand a bit more about their work lives. The articles are meant to give the reader a glimpse into the life of an intern and help the reader understand their fit in that particular role.

Contributed by: Ajay Parthasarathy

Ajay Parthasarathy is an Electronics & Communications Engineer from Vellore Institute of Technology. Before joining IIM Bangalore, he has worked with Amadeus Software Labs as a Software Developer. He is passionate about singing & cricket.

Edited by: Aastha Bisht

My project at Microsoft was primarily around incorporating a new module for a tool that assists in cloud migrations. While I had some prior experience with cloud computing, my project required me to research extensively & I enjoyed diving deep into it.

My co-workers were a fantastic bunch of people who supported me in every phase of the internship. From getting me up to speed with the background of the project to ramping me up with the requisite information right at the starting of the internship so that I understand every detail of the entire process & function effectively in the virtual environment.

Microsoft’s Hyderabad Office is a sight to behold & I was really looking forward to intern from the office campus. While the virtual internship is an altogether different experience in itself, it certainly takes away the opportunity to interact effectively with teammates & even fellow interns. The good thing, though, was the flexible hours that I found handy as it gave me a lot of freedom in planning my day & working at times that were comfortable for me. Initially, I had to make some adjustments as my mentor’s working hours did not match mine. It was a little challenging initially, but I was able to adapt to it quickly & it led to a wholesome internship experience for me.

The overall experience of interning as a Product Manager was enriching for me as the hands-on experience brought a deeper understanding of the role & helped me realize the kind of expectations that a Product Manager has to manage. I have three key takeaways from the internship. Firstly, there are always truckloads of data available & thus it is important for a Product Manager to separate out the black & white from grey. Second, with multiple activities running in parallel, a product manager needs to think a few steps ahead & use it to identify & prioritize the right problems for the engineers to solve. Another general but crucial learning was the importance of clear communication both verbally and in the written form, especially given the virtual mode of working.

Product Management & I are a match made in heaven. Coming from a software domain, I had good exposure to Product Management & was pretty sure I wanted to go forward with the same sector for the summer internship. I expected my work to revolve around taking responsibility for my product/module, interacting with customers, gathering their pain points, interacting with engineering, and identifying the right problem they need to solve. I am glad that my internship pretty much covered all these aspects.

A word of advice to aspiring Product Managers would be to not get influenced by what you hear about this role. Product Management is equally intensive & exhausting as some of the other sectors & one should opt for it if you are inclined towards the role & not because you imagine it to have less work.

Ajay and Aastha are students of the PGP 2020-22 batch at IIM Bangalore.

Media Cell IIMB is the student run outreach and communication committee of IIM Bangalore dedicated to form the bridge within the student community and the outside world.

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