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An Inside Look: What's It Like to Intern for Intel?

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Just named one of the “Most Prestigious Companies to Intern For in 2016,” Intel begins the New Year on a high note. The list, published by Vault and based on surveys of over 5800 current and former interns, identifies which internships are the most desirable.

So to celebrate this achievement—and give you an inside look of what it's like to be an intern at Intel—we asked four-time intern France Jackson to share her experiences.

At which locations were your internships?

I've completed two internships in the Santa Clara office and two internships in the Hillsboro office.

What business group did you intern with?

Every summer, I worked in a different group. In my first three years as an intern, I was a part of the Intel Collaborators Program. This program places multidisciplinary teams of interns on various projects across business units. While in the collaborators program I worked in the:

  • Automotive Solutions Division

  • Intel Labs – User Experience Research Group

  • Software Solutions Group

For my fourth internship, I worked on teams sponsored by New Business Initiative and Intel Labs.

What were your general job responsibilities and what did you find challenging about your work?

I am a User Experience (UX) Researcher and Designer. For my first internship I created a set of comprehensive personas that are used to push innovation in Intel’s automotive portfolio. My second and third internships involved developing use cases, concept videos, and proof of concepts to push product innovation. I worked with 3D camera arrays before RealSense was RealSense, using gestures to navigate 360-degree video content. I have also worked on projects that allowed Intel to get its foot in the doors of the crypto-currency market and the brain-computer interface market.

My most challenging experiences came in my most recent internship. It was difficult working on two projects at once, because one was based out of Santa Clara while the other was based out of Hillsboro. Every week I flew between California and Oregon. As exciting and fun as that sounds, it became demanding. Also, the nature of my intern experience was very intense. Knowing that my design decisions would be presented directly to Intel CEO Brian Krzanich at the end of the summer, as part of my team’s report-out, put additional pressure on me as the only UX designer on the team.

What were the most important things you learned during your internship at Intel?

This is a great question! I would say teamwork, but I like to think that's a skill I came to Intel with. There is so much to learn at Intel. It's a tie between good business acumen and confidence. Working at a company as large and respected as Intel really taught me a lot about corporate America and how to plan and maneuver an ambitious and intentional career path. Additionally, being in the room with some of the brightest minds in the world can be somewhat intimidating. I learned to be confident in what I know—and remember that I’m at the table for a reason.

Do you believe your internship with Intel will give you an advantage as you launch your career? If so, in what ways?

I definitely think my internships are helping to prepare me for my career, specifically one at Intel. Each year I continue to learn more about the company and the immense opportunities that are available. I've had the opportunity to present my work not only to the CEO but also to an external customer. During my third internship, I presented my group’s proof of concept to an external customer and garnered a commit win. The most important part of each internship is my ability to continue to build my professional network. I really believe that there are people speaking my name at Intel when I'm long gone and back at school. That’s important to me. These people are invested in me and my career development.

Tell us something about your internship at Intel that might surprise other people?

The perks. The health insurance, flying on the Intel jet, paid time off, and—most importantly—the start of the sabbatical clock!

Words of advice to future interns?

Network. Network. Network. Find mentors and meet with them regularly. Continuously work to expand your network within the company. When you get an opportunity to spend three months in a city you don’t live in, EXPLORE! Meet other interns. Some of them may turn out to be life-long friends, future business partners, and collaborators.
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