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How I built meaningful connections during my virtual internship

Landry Kezebou is a third year PhD student in Electrical Engineering at Tufts University. He accepted a software engineering internship with Oracle at a conference for the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) last fall. While the world may have changed since then, he’s getting the same meaningful experience he set out to. Read on for his personal account and career advice. 

Hello! My name is Landry Kezebou, and I’m currently working as a machine learning software engineer intern at Oracle. My role on the Oracle Content and Experience (OCE) team is to develop few-shots learning algorithm for OCE custom models to facilitate automatic image tagging on customer sides.  The impact of this research project is to effectively scale down the requirement of thousands of image samples of each consumer product to just about 5 to 20 images per product only, necessary to train  efficient AI models for dedicated learning tasks to enhance customers’’ experience using Oracle products and platforms.

My experience working at Oracle as an intern so far has been really wonderful and satisfying. Mostly because I got to work on a real-life project that simultaneously aligned with my PhD research interest; but most importantly because of the immense support I get from my mentors and manager.

Oracle has a very diverse and inclusive work environment, and a very convivial climate. The one thing you get to find out really quickly working at Oracle is that everybody, from your recruiter, to your mentor, to you manager, and other employees on your team, actually want you to succeed, and will provide you all the support you need. People are always willing to help and available to answer your questions if you reach out to them on Slack or via email.

At first when the internship was moved to the virtual format due to the pandemic, I was a bit nervous because I wasn’t really sure how I would be able to connect with my manager, mentors, and other members of my team on a personal level. I also wondered how my efforts would be appreciated. But I was so lucky to have very amazing people on my team and we connected really well, almost as though we were onsite. I get to meet my manager at least 4 times a week, either through virtual coffee for informal chats, one-one meetings, or general sync up meetings with other interns and team members. My manager and mentor are so cool and so supportive of my work, and this gives me the confidence and drive to perform even better. Every intern’s contribution is highly valued, that’s just the culture at Oracle in general—everybody matters.

Oracle also has a series of events almost every week that give perfect opportunities to network with other interns or full-time employees, recruiters, and senior management. These events vary from social events, to TED talks, career development, volunteering events, and happy hours.

Beyond this, recruiters and senior management often reach out to you to ask about your personal internship experience and what you think could be done to make the experience better and worth your time. This just shows how much Oracle really cares about their employees and interns.

My advice to fellow NSBE members who will be attending NSBE’s virtual event this year—or anyone approaching virtual career fairs seeking internships or full-time employment opportunities—is that the word “virtual” shouldn’t be a discouraging factor. Oracle recruiters will be there to foster real dialogue and fill out as many spots as there are qualified candidates to fill them. If you satisfy the criteria for the positions you apply for, they will help prepare you for a successful virtual interview experience and support your onboarding if all goes well.  

Oracle is definitely worth the experience and I’d encourage everyone to check out our career opportunities.

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Comments ( 1 )
  • Ebo Chinenye Stella Monday, August 3, 2020
    Interesting article. Kudos
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