TU senior gets ‘dream’ internship with Microsoft

By Kyle Hobstetter on September 19, 2022

Attending TU’s Career Fair helped Victoria Arhavbarien ’23 build critical internship experience

Senior Victoria Arhavbarien ourside Microsoft Headquarters
Towson University senior Victoria Arhavbarien ’23 poses outside Microsoft headquarters on the first day of her summer internship. (Submitted Photo)

After earning her associate’s degree from Howard County Community College, Victoria Arhavbarien was trying to find her next step in higher education.

She always had a passion for technology and understanding how things work. As she was researching different degree programs, one school kept coming to the top of her list. That was Towson University and the Department of Computer & Information Sciences (CIS).

“I really wanted to go to a school where I felt like I would thrive,” Arhavbarien says. “I just kept coming back to Towson because it felt like the students here were really supported, both with classes and the resources they offered.

“I remember looking at the class list for the CIS program, and seeing they had interface design, and a lot of schools don’t have that. It was something I was really interested in.”

After choosing Towson University, Arhavbarien knew she had to make the most of her time as a Tiger. The experience led to her spending a summer interning for one of the world’s biggest companies, Microsoft.

At the company's Seattle headquarters, Arhavbarien worked as a product/program manager, helping maintain some of the search engine Bing’s key features. “It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” Arhavbarien says.

Starting the internship just two weeks after the end of the spring term, Arhavbarien didn’t have much time to relax. In fact, she admits that there is a short learning curve at Microsoft because they throw interns right into the deep end.

But she felt prepared for the job thanks to her classes as an information systems major.

“I don’t think I’ve taken a class where I didn’t learn something that could be applied to real-world experience,” Arhavbarien says. “During my internship I kept seeing stuff that I experienced in class. One of my fellow interns was working on an accessibility project and I was able to call one of my professors and we all had a meeting about the project.”

This wasn’t Arhavbarien’s first internship, though. Thanks to the Towson University Career Center and its Career and Internship Fair, she also was able to intern with the Allegis Group, an international talent management firm located in Hanover, Maryland.

Towson University Career Center

Fall 2022 Career & Internship Fair

Sept. 23 | 11 a.m.–2 p.m. | SECU Arena

Towson University’s Fall 2022 Career & Internship Fair will take over SECU Arena on September 23, and will be open to all TU students and alumni of all majors, as well as members of the Towson community and beyond.

Attendees will have the opportunity to meet with hundreds of potential employers to find their next internship or full-time position.

Register for the Fall Career and Internship Fair using the Towson University Handshake portal.

After interviewing with the company during one of the Career Center’s digital fairs, she worked as a business process analyst.

Arhavbarien started looking for internships as soon as she started her college journey. She says she knew that it was important to get real-life experience to go along with her work in the classroom.

But getting the internships wasn’t easy. Before getting accepted at Microsoft, Arhavbarien applied to around 25 different internships. All of them told her “no.”

“Persistence is everything,” she says. “You have to want it, but also don’t beat yourself up when you don’t get it. I remember I applied to Google and got rejected. But they still reached out to me a couple months after I signed my Microsoft offer. You never know what will happen unless you apply.”

One of the biggest lessons she learned is that a lot of the major companies start filling their summer internships in the fall.

“The sooner you apply, the better your chance,” she says. “I think one of the big reasons I heard back from Microsoft is that I applied at the right time. That’s what I’m doing right now in looking for a job. I’m going to the company, following their recruiters online and looking at when their applications open.”

As she gets ready to graduate this December, Arhavbarien has already accomplished one of her biggest goals: getting a top tech internship.

With that out of the way, she’s hoping to move onto a full-time job where she can make an impact in the world of technology.

She says that Towson University is providing her the tools to make that impact.

“I don’t know if I could have done everything that I’ve done if it wasn’t for Towson University,” she says.