REP: Velocity + Collaboration

I recently asked Walden Kirsch, an Intel blog guru who monitors our internal social media platform, “What are the most popular blog topics at Intel?” He said, “moving faster as a company (velocity)” and “ideas on how to better work together (collaboration).” When I tried to think of how I might tie these topics into a blog a college student finds intriguing, it didn’t take very long until I answered my own question with “the REP.” Why? Allow me to expand…

What is the REP? For those who are not familiar, the REP is short for the Rotation Engineers Program.There are 25 positions per class year, and each RE completes three six-month rotations. This year Joseph, the REP manager, reviewed over 2700 resumes to create the 2011 RE class. It was funny to think of the way Joseph affectionately put the REP into perspective: “…you have a better chance of getting into a top Ivy League school than you do into the REP—REP is < 1% admit rate, compared to ~9% (no offense to the Ivy’s).” This year’s class has 11 Ph.D. level REs, 10 master level REs, and six bachelor level REs (two additional REs were added to the class). The idea of the program is to sample various technical fields within Intel. Why? Some of the advantages include: ability to explore different tech areas, discover true engineering passion/niche, build strong, broad, network, and gain technical breadth and depth—all in 1.5 year’s time.

Velaboration Okay, so that isn’t quite a word; actually, it’s a mashup of “velocity” and “collaboration.” Often, Intel employees draw upon the parallel between how fast the company is moving and the term “velocity” (an all-inclusive word that describes the speed at which Intel is expanding hiring-wise and technology-wise). How does the REP contribute to Intel’s velocity? Acceleration. The REP is an accelerated program with a steep learning curve. It is designed specifically for individuals who can “hit the ground running,” and who are determined to contribute to Intel’s success in meaningful and significant ways. Take for instance 2010 RE member Brittany who researched the internet value chain (how money flows across the internet). Her strategic business analysis helped project technology areas Intel should investigate more closely. And, while Brittany’s specialty is Chemical Engineering, her market analysis was nothing short of the expectations of the senior level directors, to whom she presented.

And what of collaboration? As I mentioned in my previous blog, REs are socialized engineers who can work well on teams, and perform strong independently. But since the ’10 and ’11 RE classes are split up at different Intel sites (Oregon, Folsom and Santa Clara, California, Arizona, China, and Germany—to name a few), we quickly learned collaboration (and a lot of it) is fundamental to maintaining a strong internal RE tie. How does the REP accomplish this? As I wrote in my first blog , the REP kicks-off with a week long New Employee Orientation (NEO) “boot camp” in Santa Clara, CA. There, REs enjoy a work hard, play hard lifestyle, abundant with team dinners, personal lunches and talks with Intel VPs, and a final volunteering event. During this time (and beyond), REs are exposed to true Intel culture. How? It begins as a fast-paced boot camp that evolves into rotations with steep learning curves.

REs also have the opportunity to appreciate collaboration by building a strong network during NEO and developing their relationships over time. This is similar to traditional new-hire orientation in that, individuals go through orientation with (and make many friends in) a class, participate in team-bonding outings (like quarterly BBQ’s, lunches, and dinners), and even perform volunteer projects.

*What’s in it for you? * REs have the opportunity to build an accelerated version of their career in a short time. For individuals who eager to try new things and travel, it is possible to sample different engineering areas each rotation and move to different sites (including abroad!). For individuals who want to specialize, you can try rotations in similar (overlapping) areas to build a deep technical proficiency. And, if you really enjoy a particular city, there are many rotation opportunities at each site. The only (totally reasonable) caveat: complacency is not an option, and you must strive to push yourself each rotation—whether it’s dabbling in an unfamiliar area or shooting for a challenging rotation. Hey, who said good things come easy? What is one of the best features (if not the best) of the program? You are not alone. REs quickly become good friends, and you develop a strong support network. This minimizes your chances of feeling overwhelmed—technically, or otherwise. And, you are basically ensured a great group of friends from day zero.

Now what? Apply! Intel is an ever-expanding company that needs talent like you! All types of talent. Just as the REP is dedicated to help engineers leverage their technical skills and build strong careers, there are programs for other specialties like business. Specifically interested in the REP? Keep a look out for Intel’s booth at a career fair near you. A REP representative may be on hand to give you a glimpse of their personal experience, and Intel reps always enjoy speaking to students. I will pay a personal visit to my alma mater, MIT, for the spring career fair. Please do not be shy. All degree levels (B.S.,M.S., and Ph.D) and types (Computer Science, Materials Science, Chemical Engineering, and business(!)) are welcome at Intel!

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