Why do I enjoy having summer interns?

Motaz El-Saban Researcher When I sit back and remember my experience with having summer interns at CMIC, I cannot help but feel very proud of being part of that program. The experience was so rewarding that I am eagerly looking forward for the next summer. The success of the first CMIC summer internship was not limited to the type of work produced by the interns; I would say this was the least factor. It was well beyond the technical work done to the extent of affecting the interns view of research and what it means to work for a world-class company. The idea of bringing senior undergraduate students and exposing them to a research environment and seeing the effect on them while doing the internship as well as at the end is just surpassing any of my expectations. Students, who were little exposed to professional environment and mostly never to serious research work, came out of this experience passionate about the place, the type of work and the talent they have seen, both from a technical as well as from a personal side. What is more rewarding than seeing a fresh mind eager to come every day to work, some from out of town, striving for learning new things, spending weekends and nights, in some cases, to get the job done with excellence? The students left CMIC with the full confidence that if they want to do something, they can accomplish it provided they put the right amount of effort, a spirit sadly lacking in many working environments in the region.

On the technical side, it is extremely beneficial for a researcher to interact with young brains coming with fresh ideas that are not biased with what is out there in the literature. This is what good research is all about: break the common ways and go boldly where no one has wandered before with full conviction that you will succeed at the end. To have such audacity you need people who can think independently and willing to take risk. Unfortunately, being a researcher for long in a particular field can leave you boxed inside classical ideas. Interns offer the researcher with such opportunity; they have fresh views on the topic at hand.

If it were all good news about summer interns, why don’t every company benefit as much from this kind of program? The answer is that you need a very strict selection process to get the best students; this is why we have, at CMIC, such a grueling interviewing process. The good news is that if you are selected, you will have an experience that has the potential to shape your future career.

By: Motaz El Saban, Researcher – Microsoft Innovation Lab

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