First Day at Microsoft Research

And so it begins; yet another crazy summer, this time at the world’s largest Computer Science department outside of a university. Today was my first day of my internship with the Database Group at MSR. Some lessons and observations:

  • MS Recruiting is a refined and well-oiled machine. HR departments everywhere should learn from them.
  • Apparently it rains in June in Redmond. That’s ALL of June. Every single hour. So much for the picture-perfect weather I saw a couple weeks ago. As my mentor put it, “That was the demo”.
  • Seattle traffic is rather well behaved. Being a driving newbie making millions of driving-etiquette faux paus per second during rush hour would have got me into serious trouble in Michigan.
  • You will shake hands with luminaries. Many of them. In a span of 10 minutes. Try not to jump around and look like a giggling preteen.
  • This one’s important: Before you start working for Microsoft, it is advisable to at least try using Windows. Going from a life completely devoid of Internet Exploder or LookOut Express into a world where EVERYTHING carries the Microsoft logo, is not ideal for the brain. My eyes literally had trouble focusing for the first few hours. Running a Vista / Outlook / IE / Studio stack after an elegantly simple life in unix-land is like jumping from a well-oiled bicycle into the cockpit of a thundering fighter jet.
  • “Google” is not a verb. Live Search. Live Maps. Live Live Live!
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What other people have to say:

Congrats Arnab. MSR is a great place to work. Building 99 looks impressive :)

Sounds like a nice place to work, except for the Microsoft everything part. Like I said, nice play to “WORK”, not a nice place to BE.

“thundering fighter jet”? haha, nice way to suck up to MS already, and make sure they don’t fire you for libel.

“thundering fighter jet” :) really?

cool

re:“thundering fighter jet”: sorry guys, don’t mean to suck up, but Outlook is pretty crazy stuff. It is quite complex, intense, intimidating but very capable; hence the analogy. There is a reason why MS dominates the world, and however the products might suck, I’m not aware of an equivalently capable collaboration tool. I would never use this in my personal life, but it does makes sense for professionals in large organizations.

Oh cool, MS. My dad’s there, too. I was in Redmond for a few days this week and as in Vancouver, BC, rain is to be expected on a weekly basis. :p

ornob! congrats and nice to see you going places :)

About the author:

Arnab Nandi is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at The Ohio State University. You can read more about him here.

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