What was your role as an intern?
What really compelled me to apply for the internship scheme was when Microsoft visited Aston on campus tour .Their presentation got me really interested in the company as it has great values, a good working environment and great opportunities.
I joined Microsoft as an intern in 2004 for a year whilst studying Business and Computing at Aston University. My role was in sales as an account executive in MSN, selling advertising space to UK agencies. It was a great experience as I had the opportunity to bring in revenue for the company.
During my year I was able to grow some accounts into bigger agencies for Microsoft which was an interesting journey.
What was your role as a MACH?
Firstly, I would like to give the advice that it’s a different game coming back as a MACH; you’re competing against all graduates. When you apply for the MACH scheme and you’ve been an intern previously, you need to be humble and not think you automatically deserve a place.
I went through the Sales scheme on the MACH program and I worked in Microsoft’s Enterprise Partner Group as a trainee account manager. At the time I was working on the BBC account, supporting the business manager. My biggest take away from that role was selling large scale enterprise solutions to senior members at the BBC was hard! However, I learnt a lot and enjoyed my first year at Microsoft.
After working in that role for a year I landed a permanent role as an account manager in the Windows Phone Division. For me, this was a great role and I stayed in it for three years. This is where I learned you have to love what you do. It’s so important to be excited every day you get up for work. I enjoyed selling the Windows Phone product to operators and the strategy behind making it more successful. This role included an element of partner and channel marketing, which gave me my first taste of marketing at Microsoft. In fact, I enjoyed it so much; I made the decision to move into the Windows Phone business group as a Product Marketing Manager.
What is your role now?
In February 2010, I moved to the Windows Phone business group, which became my ‘perfect home’ as I was able to get closer to the product and the marketing strategy behind the product. For the last two years I have experienced a number of roles in the business group such as, being a spokesperson by attending press conferences, managing the launch of the Windows Phone and managing various marketing initiatives such as, online campaigns, events and apps on the phone.
And now, I have progressed into a new role which I will be starting in the summer at Corp in Redmond leading the global strategy and product marketing for the Windows Phone.
Fantastic news! How do you think being an intern and a MACH has helped your progression to where you are now?
The intern scheme gave me a great opportunity to work in the industry and gave me a lot of hands-on experience. It also taught me how to approach my final year at University and that really helped me get a good grade. All in all, it sets you up for your career.
The MACH scheme is a really great graduate programme. You get to meet MACHs from all over the world and I still find that network useful today! The attitude across all MACHs is a ‘can do’ attitude and you thrive off that energy. What I think is especially important is that the MACH ‘brand’ is so strong within the company and I highly encourage everyone to apply. It was the launch pad for my career and you can really go anywhere in the business. In just over five years, I have had three roles and now I’m moving my career and life to America – everything is possible. If I look across my year (MACH7), all of my colleagues and friends have been extremely successful. Although saying that, the MACH scheme is no easy feat and you have to work hard.
Have you got any other advice for potential candidates/interns/MACHs?
Make the most of your year and learn through others, through doing and self-directed learning. Microsoft has a library that is free to use so make the most of it while you are here.
Take projects under your wing, demonstrate capability and execute them.
Build your network, talk to other interns and MACHs, get to know people and find sponsors who would recommend you in the future.
And finally, have fun!