Written by guest blogger, Abhijeet Shegokar
I can still remember the day I had my first interview with my hiring manager at Schneider Electric. I prepared as much as I could, and researched the office location through Google Maps so I wouldn’t be late. At the start of the interview I was nervous, but as I spoke with the manger I felt more comfortable. The Lake Forest campus was more beautiful than I had imagined with a nice basketball and sand volleyball court outside. Inside had a fully functional gym, and the best part – a vending machine where you didn’t have to pay for anything! My manager took me out for lunch and showed me the entire office. When I learned about the social initiatives that the company took my heart started to tingle, and I truly felt that that SE would be a great place to work.
After a couple more interviews, I received my offer to join Schneider Electric as Program Management Intern in the Software Business (now AVEVA). My first day in the office was on my birthday in March of 2016. I first learned more about the business and the industrial automation software product that I was assigned to. This gave me opportunity to speak with various coworkers from different departments like R&D, Management, Technical Support, Marketing as well as our real customers.
In this role I was working on a new and extremely disruptive technology product called Wonderware System Platform with brand new InTouch OMI (Operations Management Interphase). The software was released in April 2017 after 5 years of rigorous development. It allows our customers from all industries to visualize their manufacturing plants and govern them from a single central based control room on-premise or in the cloud. A CEO of company could instantly access the stats of all the factories right at their fingertips when they need it, such is the power of the software.
My Summer as an Intern
During the summer after I started working, a group of new interns (33 in total) were hired in Lake Forest. Many of them were in Research and Development – the same department as me. This group included some year-round interns, a few interns who were returning from last summer and several brand-new interns.
As the summer session started, the season of intern activities began. The summer session was kicked off by a get-together with the VP of R&D and his entire team and all the interns. They discussed their roles and background with the company, and then all the interns were given a chance to introduce themselves.
Over the next 10 weeks we had some wonderful events planned to encourage healthy competition between the interns. Four experienced interns were selected to be mentors who would help the new interns get acclimated with the culture here at Schneider. Every mentor had 5 new interns as mentees under them and a competition was played between the 4 teams.
Fortunately, I was selected to be one of the mentors. My team consisted of interns from Singapore, China, the US, and myself from India. As a mentor I could showcase my leadership skills and communications skills which I was applauded a lot for. All the mentors had a weekly scheduled meeting with our office managers, Eileen and Vicki, who were extremely helpful throughout the entire intern program. In this meeting we would discuss the progress of the four teams with individual attention given to mentees and solving their problems, and we would also discuss the positives and negatives of past events and how we could improve for our future events.
The competition events were divided into group tasks as well as individual tasks so we could get exposure working as a team while also showing our individual skills. Events included bowling, go-karting, a day at an arcade game arena, game night at the campus with all the fulltime employees, and a table tennis championship at the campus. The final event was a play-off in front of the VP and directors from across the organization like R&D, Marketing and Management. The winners of the competitions were awarded with IPad’s and other monetary gifts at every stage.
The events were a great success. They helped all the interns to get to know each other and learn about each other. I benefited from being a mentor because I could develop my leadership skills, and learn from my fellow mentees. The entire summer program was very inspiring and motivating, and I was so excited to meet so many new people.
Reflections on my Internship
I am very grateful to have been part of this awesome company and the intern program. The program allowed me to learn about the work side of the company, the internal culture, and have some fun. I truly felt that all employees at Schneider Electric are like a family.
The culture at Schneider is very open and friendly. All the managers and directors including our VP have an open-door policy which makes working a whole lot better as we can go with our questions directly to them. Over the course of my internship I was fortunate to have a one-on-one with our Vice President. Speaking with him was a great experience. We chatted about his experience, the problems that he faces, the solutions he comes up with, small projects close to him and overall strategy for the next 5-10 years. It was just so amazing to have the opportunity as an intern to get to know him, and was a personal high point in my career here at Schneider.
In my time as an intern, I learned from the best people in the industry and met some of the brightest minds that I am proud to call my colleagues. Starting as an intern when I was still completing my Master’s degree helped me understand the difference and similarities between school and a professional setting which made me more responsible at school as well.
My work on the Wonderware project helped me grow immensely, and allowed me to take on bigger responsibilities to deliver the best quality software to our customers. As an intern I learned that the more hard work I put in, the more I will reap benefits. I learned that asking for help and advice from other senior employees is not a bad thing, and it is even better to approach them with a question and some research already done.
I am fortunate to have been able to be involved in so many extracurricular activities as well. They are a great conversation starter and good to have in the competitive world to set us apart. Another lesson I learned is that showing gratitude towards those who have helped is highly appreciated.
My journey as an intern was a thrilling one and made me ready for the big challenge as a full-time employee. At the end of my internship I accepted a full-time offer from one of Schneider Electric’s core teams in Paris.
Abhijeet started his journey with Schneider Electric as Intern in March 2016. After Graduating with his Master’s in Management Information Systems from Mihaylo College of Business, Abhijeet continues to work as Data Manager within the Knowledge Management Office of SE under Schneider Digital. Abhijeet likes to work in field of Management and Data Analytics and travel around the world solving problems and investing in disruptive innovations that help make peoples life easier making sure Life is ON everywhere, for everyone and at every moment. Abhijeet can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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