The Apple (and Summer) Update

2 09 2013

So, most people know that I went to intern for Apple this past Summer.

I figured I’d give you an update on what I did….

shanxi-black-box-e1338809693840…Oh, you wanted more than that? I mean, I worked at Apple. And it’s a secretive place, so what was done has been put in this black box of secrets. Hehe. Hence why not much has been written the past few months. I also was in the same location with Brian all summer, so we did a lot of fun things (including getting engaged!!) and I spent a lot of time outside rather than at my computer — hey, it’s CA. As a native Southern Californian, my blood screamed “sun!” after being in Pittsburgh all winter!

But on the whole, I had a great time at Apple and during the summer. This summer was quite monumental. I worked as a project manager on some projects that I previously had done at Biola University IT as a technical person, and now was in a position to lead the project. It’s a little difficult to go into a company where you are brand new and try to lead a team. I definitely used some MBA skills, such as understanding informal networks, taught by Professor Aven in Managing Networks, software project lifecycle from Managing Software Development, Management Presentations for my final presentation skills, and lots of terminology from my Big Data class. Sometimes, when you’re in the midst of doing work, you don’t notice how you’re using the skills you’ve learned. It takes reflecting on them and putting them into practice to recognize how you have learned and grown. (And as much as Econ and Finance kicked my butt last year and gave me some character building skills, I’ve got to say, I have no idea how I will ever use that in the future in an IT leadership position. Maybe one day when I’m CIO…haha)

Could I have done my job at Apple this summer without doing an MBA? Probably. But I think it made me a way stronger candidate, allowed me to ask tougher questions, and allowed me personally to really step up and say things with confidence. I pressed for data to back up people’s facts (yay, Tepper!). I knew how to motivate people and get things done. Sometimes it takes going to a higher up manager to ask for help. You have to know when that’s okay to do. Some people were shocked that I did that. Hey, when you need help, you have to ask! Apple has the type of culture where you can go and ask someone’s boss for help and there aren’t repercussions. I appreciate that.  However, sometimes, the only thing you can do is beg and bring cookies, which I did have to do once.

Working with teams at Tepper, I learned that one of the benefits/skills that I bring to a team is my enthusiasm and my go-getter personality. I (frequently) have the ability to get people excited and motivated about something, as I feel excited and ready to attack the problem. These skills were definitely needed during my time at Apple, as we had a difficult project to work on. My project was a 2 year project, which I kicked off within 3 months, and it would continue for the next 2 years. So it was quite difficult to look at a long-term scope when you’re only there for the start of it, but by working with a few different teams across IT, I was able to corral groups together and make them work together. Apple = startup/innovative culture. Apple IT: startup culture with tons of people = a little more chaotic than a normal startup because of so many people and projects. It took finding the key people who were the movers and shakers to actually get things done. Discovery. Perseverance.

I think it worked out for me, because I was told that they hadn’t seen an intern who was as much of a “take charge” and go-getter as I was. Apparently I became known as the ring-leader of the interns — not sure how that happened as I didn’t do that much with the interns (mostly undergrads in my dept), but I am a coordinator, so I tried to gather people to get together as much as was feasible. They said that I was one of the hardest workers that they saw and knew how to effectively communicate with others. Since I have a very upbeat and cheery attitude, I don’t like to say no to people or disappoint them, so I try to work with them and figure out how to solve their problems. Apparently this is really what is needed on their teams there and I was a valuable asset to my team. It’s always nice to know that you are useful!

The longest week I worked I think was about 51 hours. Yet, I still fulfilled my project deadlines and got my final presentation delivered exactly how I wanted it. It goes to show that you can cram a lot into a 40 hour-normal work week if you really put your mind to it. That’s something I learned this summer — I am really good at focusing. Most people probably work 6 of their 8 hour days (or 8 of their 12 hour days!). I probably work 7 hours and 55 minutes of those 8 hours, but always take a lunch in between and a 10 minute walk somewhere in the morning and afternoon. I need those breaks because when I’m working, I work really intensely. It allows me to relax when I’m not at work, and focus really hard when I am there.

We can definitely say that God was on my side. There were so many times when frustration set in due to difficult set-backs or difficult team conversations. Yet, I remembered my calling to be a servant and do what I could to help others and encourage them along the way there. Strength and peace to persevere was given.

We can also say Apple was on my side, as I’ll be returning there next Fall 2014 to work in IS&T! I’ll be joining their ITDP (IT Leadership development program), where I’ll rotate around for 2 years within IT in various functions and teams to get a broader view of Apple IT. I am so excited to go back, as I really enjoyed my time there. I just really love IT and the operational side of a business; I may not be the most innovative person (I think I actually am more that I think of myself), but I know how to make things happen, so as long as I’m surrounded by ideation people, I can implement. Data centers just get me so excited! (I know, nerd!)

Now, here’s to one more year of Tepper to learn all that I can about Tech Leadership. Classes such as Strategic IT, Innovation Ecosystems, Managing Intellectual Capital and Knowledge Workers, Commercialization and Innovation Strategy, and IT Security and Privacy sound like a good start to the semester. 5 classes this mini, B&T President, and oh yeah, planning a wedding. Good thing God has given me some grace in having a job lined up already! 🙂




One response

2 09 2013
Richard Yinjin Huang


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: