I've finally found a role that is the perfect fit for my skills and interests.
Name: Emily Cho
Location: Cupertino, CA
Describe your major responsibilities in this role: I work as an Engineering Program Manager. I am the DRI (lead) EPM of an NPI (New product) program and recently received another set of programs to lead. On a high level, the EPM owns the execution of a project through the development life cycle. This includes managing the overall program through schedules, delivery, risk mitigation, etc., and leading the teams that develop the products.
Did you receive adequate support from your supervisor throughout your work term? How has this relationship benefited your learning experience? Yes, during the first few weeks we had daily check-ins and now meet weekly. We usually talk on a daily basis through chat/email communication. One thing I truly appreciate about my supervisor is that she listens to my voice and does her best to help me grow and continue to be challenged. Not only is she a wonderful manager, but she treats me as a 'full-time' member of the team which includes my personal development.
What were the advantages and disadvantages of your work assignment? The advantages of my work assignment are essentially everything I listed above. Also, we work very closely with the vendors in other countries which I love because global interaction has always been incredibly interesting and rewarding in this and previous experiences I've had. The disadvantage is that I can't be in person due to COVID.
What courses taken prior to your co-op experience were the most helpful to you in your position and why? I think generally the engineering courses have allowed me to think critically and understand technical issues which helps me a lot in the role. In terms of the non-technical aspects, I'd say most of that came through experiences outside of the classroom but I did find classes like Intro to Engineering Leadership and Technical Writing helpful.
Describe how your career plans have been reinforced or have changed as a result of this co-op experience: I've finally found a role that is the perfect fit for my skills and interests, and it is a role with room for improvement and growth, which is exciting. I also feel that I've found a company and culture that I am passionate about, and I learned that I am a good fit for their product-driven culture.
What suggestions would you offer other co-ops considering an assignment at this location? Find a role that really excites you and fits your skills well. No matter how great the company is, if you're not in the right role it will feel much more difficult to make a big impact and have a truly rewarding experience. Also, be confident in your abilities and be able to voice your interests; ultimately an internship is to help you learn what you want to be working on full-time.