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Meet the Aruba Interns: Monique Michel

By Sylvia Ruiz, University HR Programs Manager
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Sylvia: We work together every day, but for the rest of the world, tell me a bit about yourself: Where are you from, where do you go to college and what is your major? 

Monique Michel ArubaMonique: I am at San Jose State University, studying business administration with a concentration in HR. In the HR concentration, we have classes around compensation and rewards, staffing and other HR topics.

That said, I’m a “Jacqueline of all trades.” I’ve done a little bit of everything: tea shop manager, bakery manager, couture designer and social media marketer.

What I am looking for in a career is to have an impact in HR and talent development, specifically in the areas of teamwork, leadership skills and emotional intelligence.

What makes you passionate about HR?

I love helping people. In HR, I want to people to leave interactions with me happier than when they arrive. I want to help people succeed and grow into the next role—and the next—whether it’s up, out, around or in all directions at the same time.

Why did you choose an internship at Aruba?

It was serendipitous. The internship job description mentioned the applicant should have an interest in learning and development, and that’s my area of interest. I really like Aruba’s culture and values and they align to how I like to live.

This is my first internship, and it’s gratifying in different ways. I was nervous about going from retail and the arts to an office setting. I’ve done office work before, but it’s definitely a different animal when navigating through desk pods and back-to-back meetings.

What are your key responsibilities for your internship?

I have two main projects. First, I’m working on Aruba’s global internship program, looking at the global roadmap and how best to present our data. Second, I’m working on project related to the skills of the future that will help Aruba identify skills and training that we will need in the future.

How does having a virtual internship change the experience for you? 

I am one of the few interns who had an opportunity to interview onsite before we went remote.

I know the beauties of home offices. I’ve had a lot of experience working virtually. I worked with individuals and companies all over Oregon and California on their social media management and marketing. And of course, school is online too.

What do you like about Aruba’s corporate culture?

I have a love for learning and a growth mindset. I love that one of Aruba’s values is thinking with the customer in mind. I’m really happy that Aruba has a customer orientation.

I like Aruba’s culture. There’s enough fun that you can expand your wings a little bit and be kooky.

What is your ideal future career path?

Always shoot for the stars! Well, realistically, I’d like to work at a level where I’d be able to have the greatest impact in areas that pertain to my interests in teamwork, leadership, and emotional intelligence. A mid-level position or just above would be a great place for those goals.

A mid-level position or just above would be a great place for those goals while giving me the ability to grow. (Honestly, I don’t think I will ever be done learning; each day is a new adventure.)

What tips would you provide to students applying for internships next year?

In general, keep an open mind for how you can use your skills. Your skills may be applied in many different ways in different job roles. For example, I have a skillset in dealing with customers, but at first, it wasn’t apparent to me how that skillset translates to an office setting. But when you think about it, my waitressing skills are similar to a project manager’s, in terms of being organized, working with a team and keeping customers happy.

In a tech company like Aruba, everything moves so fast. You have to remain adaptable and agile. The ability to shift when needed, whether for greater speed or more focused intent, delivers a better outcome from everyone.

I recently spoke with Ege Ozer who just hired on full time with Aruba after two internships. He was curious to know what it was like to be an intern that hasn’t worked in the office, but only remotely.

Having a 15-minute coffee break throughout the week helps maintain communication and connection. Pick a topic in advance like your favorite drink or music and don’t focus on work. It’s a way to get to know each other over a virtual water cooler.

When your nose is in your computer all day, it’s important to set aside time to get to know each other and check in if there are issues. Our coffee breaks make me feel cared for as an intern and as a person.

Meet More Aruba Interns