Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The first five weeks of my internship

Hello GSMers, prospective GSMers, staff, and whomever else!

I know I was supposed to write a post within my first week, but I have been so swamped that I haven't had the time. I've forgotten how tiring a job can be! However, I've wanted to work for HP since I was 15, so it is a dream to be here. I love HP, I love my project, my boss is fantastic; I really could not hope for a better internship experience.

So much has happened in these last five weeks. My first day was incredibly exciting, one of the most interesting of my professional career. When I arrived at the HP campus, I found that the directions I had, stating only that my new boss, who had flown in from Houston to welcome me and get me up to speed over my first two days, would meet me in the "main lobby", were insufficient. There are five main lobbies. Good thing I arrived early! After finding the security office and getting badged, thinking of course of Professor Naik (Marketing) and his fascination with RFID technology, I met my boss in the correct "main lobby". We went upstairs, found my new cube (which is really snazzy!), went over to the AA to get my new computer, only to find out... it hadn't come. It had been held up in an IT bottleneck, as HP is switching all of its new corporate computers to Windows 7 and they didn't have one ready for me. ETA: two weeks! For context, since my internship requires extensive use of Excel, MS Outlook, and a number of other programs, until I got a computer I was going to effectively be sitting on my thumbs. Long story short, multiple people up my chain of command made their displeasure known to IT, and a new computer was on my desk on the morning of my third day (with Vista, but it's no skin off my nose).

So, with no computer available, my boss and I discussed my internship responsibilities, what would be expected of me, likely places to start gathering data, and the inter-relations between business units. Finally, my boss drew me org charts of the different business units, and a detailed one of my department (CASS Finance) with reporting relationships and power structures (a discussion I was able to appreciate in much more depth due to the amazing Professor Elsbach) until lunch. We gathered a number of people from different finance roles, including two managers, a director, and the other CASS Finance intern and it was a great opportunity to network.

After lunch, my boss and I returned to his desk to finish up drawing the org charts, when he got a ping from Outlook that he had a new email. He got really quiet, told me to hand him the org charts, and summarily ripped them up. When I asked him why he ripped them up, he motioned me over so that I could read the email. It was an announcement for a massive corporate re-org, with the epicenter being the business unit that my department supported. Specific to me, my boss's boss's boss got forced out, my boss's boss would most likely either leave HP or move somewhere else within the company, my boss's job security was completely up in the air, and the existence of my project and my status as an intern was completely unsure. Needless to say, being told on my first day that I may be fired within the next few weeks was not pleasant. However, it was an amazing academic experience to be able to see everything explode and reform from the inside, as well as the chance to analyze the strategic reasoning behind it, from the perspective of the training I received from Professor Dokko. It has since calmed down (my boss even got promoted- happy bosses make internships much more enjoyable) and my internship status is stable.

Finally, after going back to my cube to do some pen-and-paper brainstorming, about an hour later I heard a female voice address me: "You're not Stacy...". I had gotten this a few times throughout the day, as my cube had recently been vacated by a manager named Stacy. I looked up to see who was talking to me. It was Cathie Lesjak, the CFO of HP! After my initial shock, we had a great chat for about 10 minutes about who I was and what I'd be working on project-wise, and she told me to contact her if I needed anything.

All in all, my first week was fantastic. Working for HP is better than I ever hoped it could be, and I would take a job here in an instant were one offered.

Comment if you have any questions. Another post chronicling my feelings mid-internship post will be coming within the next few weeks.

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