From September to December this fall, I have the awesome privilege of interning at Tesla Motors as a battery engineering intern. I’m working in battery engineering, the team that makes – as one would expect – the battery packs. In the first few weeks, I’ve worked on some component testing, theoretical validation, cost and reliability data analysis, and a hair of design.
I have not been disappointed with the quality of my team and the projects I’ve been assigned. One positive indicator is that I’ve thankfully shed some of the big company lack of urgency that I unsuccessfully attempted to avoid over the summer at a tech company that shall remain unnamed.
As I continue working this fall, I expect to learn a thing or two.
Lesson 1: Good decision making is key.
In a meeting with my manager, Ernest, I asked what he wanted me to get out of this summer. I expected him to list of a handful of technical skills, but he didn’t. Instead, he encouraged me to watch how my mentor and others around me manage the tight timelines, balance existing projects, time the introduction of new ones, and prioritize their energy. The only thing he said about technical skills was that we’ll see if I can do the things they thought I could, but that when a person starts talking about managing priorities and tight project timelines for teams, his interview ears pop up.