Motorola’s summer interns reflect on their work from home experience

As July comes to a close, Motorola is saying goodbye to the wonderful summer interns that joined us across the globe this season. And while this summer we couldn’t meet in person, we’re so thankful for their hard work and flexibility as we all continue to navigate the new normal of remote work. 

To commemorate our interns’ time at Motorola, we sat down with a few to hear first hand how they enjoyed the experience, their favorite lessons learned, and of course, what it was like working from home during the global pandemic, never once meeting their teams in person!

Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself, where you go to school and the department you’ve been working with this summer. 

Daniela Anaya, HR Intern, MBG: I am Daniela Anaya, I live in Mexico City and a few weeks ago I graduated with a degree in Pedagogy. I have been working in the HR Department in our Mexico office. 

Sophie Baron, Internal Communications Intern, MBG: My name is Sophie Baron, and I am a rising junior at Syracuse University, majoring in Public Relations. I have been interning for MBG on the Internal Communications and Global PR team(s). 

Matt Ficalora, Go-To-Market Finance Intern, MBG: My name is Matt Ficalora, and I go to school at Indiana University and will be graduating with a degree in finance and an International Business co-major next spring (May ‘21). This summer, I have been interning with the Go-To-Market finance team. 

Olga Ioannidi, eCommerce Intern, MBG: I am from Greece, and am an international student in the US at Loyola University of Chicago, where I’m studying my masters in marketing with a certificate in business analytics. Due to COVID-19, I’ve been doing my internship from my hometown here in Greece. 

Kelly Li, Marketing Intern, MBG: I am a rising senior at NYU, majoring in economics and minoring in business studies. I have been interning with the marketing team at Motorola. 

Madison Milliken, Trade Marketing Intern, MBG: I am a Junior at Western Michigan University, where I am double majoring in  Digital Marketing and Leadership & Business Strategy with a minor in General Business. I have been working as a Trade Marketing Intern on the Training Team this summer helping to train our Moto Agents and Field Reps. 

Adriana Murillo Sánchez, Marketing Intern, MBG: I am Adriana Murillo from Mexico, and I recently graduated from Marketing at Universidad La Salle México. I am supporting the Marketing team in the Mexico office this summer.

Victor Sanchez, Finance Planning and Analysis Intern, MBG My name is Victor Sanchez, originally from Mexico City, Mexico I am a rising senior at Indiana University-Bloomington Kelley School of Business majoring in Finance and Business Analytics. This summer, I have been working as a Financial Planning and Analysis intern for the FPA Motorola team.

Alexandra Sarros, Product Cost Management Intern, MBG: I am from La Grange, Illinois, and I am an incoming senior at Purdue University studying Industrial Engineering. I am interning with the MBG Finance group as a product cost management intern.

Ariana Wilson, Global Communications and Philanthropy Intern, Lenovo Foundation: My name is Ariana Wilson and I am from New Albany, Ohio. I am a rising sophomore at Elon University studying Strategic Communications and Marketing. This summer, I am interning at Lenovo as a Global Communications and Philanthropy Intern, under the Marketing team.

Q: How has it been working remotely for your internship? How has Lenovo/MBG supported you during your time at the company?

Sophie Baron: Lenovo and MBG have made working remotely a really meaningful experience. Although we aren’t able to connect face-to-face, the internship program offers so many activities and spaces in which we can get the support and help we need. Campus Recruiting has even hosted training sessions on how to be successful and stay productive while working remotely, as well as flexibility/yoga sessions to keep us productive and healthy in and outside of the virtual office.

Lenovo and MBG have also worked really hard to offer programs, mentorships and projects in which we can connect and meet people across the business. We have had activities ranging from trivia, resume workshops, weekly coffee chats, and group projects.

Matt Ficalora: Although my past internships have been in person, I feel more connected with the organization even in the midst of the remote internship than I did in my past in-person experiences. I think this is for a number of reasons including getting invited to team meetings even if they’re outside of my specific team, attending introductory meetings that allow me to get to know leaders within the organization, participating in intern events organized by Lenovo, and the company’s overall drive for teamwork and collaboration. 

Olga Ioannidi: I feel like the company has supported me with everything that I would need – especially the recruiting team. And I’ve had the opportunity to get in touch with many other interns because of the different projects that we work on together.

Kelly Li: Working remotely has taught me that being productive at home isn’t always the easiest, but the workshops, seminars, and leadership discussions that Lenovo and Motorola prepared for the interns have really supported the work from home experience.

Madison Milliken: I honestly have really enjoyed working online. I feel like it has given me unique networking opportunities I may have not gotten otherwise. The flexibility has also allowed me to join other meetings that may have been harder in person. I have had some experience with online internships in the past, but this one with MBG was way more organized than I have ever experienced.

Victor Sanchez: Working remotely has been an interesting and exciting experience. I have never done anything like this before and to be honest, I was really nervous about it. Nonetheless, Lenovo and Motorola have done an outstanding job supporting us by providing us with the right resources. We’ve all also had the opportunity to participate in community service projects, including one with Project Sunshine, where we wrote encouraging letters to healthcare professionals and created word puzzles/drawings for children.

Alexandra Sarros: Lenovo/MBG has made this the most seamless transition from an in-person internship to a remote one when I compare it to the experiences of my friends and peers this summer. The company has continued to make sure we are connected to fellow interns, our manager, the HR staff, and our workgroup. The summer group project has also been helpful in getting to know my fellow interns. 

Ariana Wilson: While I was not expecting to work remotely, it turned into a valuable learning experience because I was able to enhance my time management skills and balancing work and life effectively. I am grateful for the company’s Campus Recruiting professional development sessions. In between work, I have been finding time to meet other interns, especially those outside of my department.

Q: What major challenges have you faced as you navigate working remotely? 

Sophie Baron: One thing I have found most challenging about the remote work experience is time management. Due to the nature of remote work, I am constantly on different phone calls and meetings and sometimes have a hard time fitting in time to get my own projects and work done.

Matt Ficalora: Staying productive has been a challenge. In my internship where I’ve been able to go into the office, I feel more motivated to work harder and with more effort. While at home, I feel like there are more distractions and opportunities to lose focus and slack off. However, while challenging, I think this will be a great skill as I progress forward in my career. 

Olga Ioannidi: The major challenge for me this summer was the difference in time zone – since Greece is 8 hours ahead of Chicago. But with patient teammates and a little bit of organization, it was something that I figured out how to manage very quickly.

Adriana Murillo Sánchez: I’ve found that it is tiring to be in front of a computer all day, especially not being able to go out and have direct contact with the people on my team. The good thing about virtual work is that I have had the opportunity to meet people from other departments and offices that I wouldn’t have been able to meet in a normal internship setting. 

Victor Sanchez: My biggest challenge as I navigate working remotely has been finding an appropriate workspace, staying focused, and interacting face-to-face with people from the office. I consider myself an extrovert so I get my energy by interacting with other people, getting used to video calls and emails versus in-person interactions has been challenging. To stay focused,  I have been experimenting with different work environments within my house to minimize distractions as much as I can.  Setting goals each day has also helped me stay productive.

Alexandra Sarros: Through this experience, I have learned I am much more of an extrovert than I thought I was, which makes it harder than I thought it would be to be completely virtual. I really enjoy being in a team environment and have missed being able to connect with coworkers in person.

Ariana Wilson: The biggest challenge for me was scheduling time for myself during the workday, as being completely virtual can make it difficult to step away from your computer. To do so, I had to learn to schedule periodic breaks for myself so that I could refocus and remain productive.

Q: What lessons have you taken away from your internship with Motorola?

Daniela Anaya: My biggest takeaway is the benefits of working for a company with a global presence. I am very grateful for all the people I came across during my time here, especially because it opened up my eyes to new perspectives and ways of thinking. 

Sophie Baron: I think one of my favorite takeaways from this experience is the importance of workplace culture and understanding the benefits of a globally-minded team. Having the opportunity to work with a global team that represents employees from diverse backgrounds enhances everything we do and allows each of us to be better, well-rounded individuals. 

Matt Ficalora: The biggest lesson I’ve learned while working with Motorola this summer is that career paths are rarely linear. As a finance major, I have always assumed that my career would stay in finance, but I have learned that my path will likely present opportunities to elevate outside of finance, and this is a good thing. As many employees have mentioned, moving around in different functional areas of the business allows you to understand how different parts of the business interact and are dependent on one another and provide for new, unexpected opportunities. 

Olga Ioannidi: For me, it was all the different people! I met employees with different tenures, different job levels and in different countries. They all had a willingness to help, mentor and motivate me whenever I needed it. Thank you, Motorola! It was a great experience and I hope that I will be able to work for a company as diverse as this one again soon.

Kelly Li: Overall, I am so grateful to be a part of this unique internship program. Despite working from home the entire time, I have received so many opportunities and pieces of advice that definitely helped to further my professional growth.

Adriana Murillo Sánchez: One of my biggest lessons from this internship is learning how to trust myself. At the start of my internship, I was dependent on my manager and leaned heavily on him to make sure I was doing something right. But over the course of my time here, I’ve been able to become more confident with my decisions – a skill that will be super helpful in my next jobs.

Victor Sanchez: The biggest takeaway from my time at Motorola is that no one is ever too far, you just have to reach out and not be afraid to ask questions. I’ve also come to realize the importance of getting to know your team and getting involved. 

Alexandra Sarros: Working remotely has shown me the importance of building good relationships with my team and what are the positives if you have them and the negatives that come along if those relationships are not developed. With everything going on today, I’ve learned I have had to go beyond my comfort zone in order to develop relationships.

Congratulations to all of our Motorola interns! It was our pleasure to host you with this opportunity for growth and development, and we can’t wait to see what’s in store for you next.

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