Delivery Excellence intern Ellen tells you her best application advice, and describes the fantastic opportunities Microsoft has given her.
Name: Ellen Murley
Role: Delivery Excellence
Course/University: Information Management & Business, Loughborough University
What advice would you give for the application process?
At Microsoft, the ‘One Microsoft’ culture is profound in every area of our organisation. You won’t be assessed solely on your academics, but on your ability to work well in a team, communicate effectively and demonstrate your passions and motivations!
Be sure to prepare thoroughly for every stage of the process – do your research, and practice in advance. Be thoughtful with your answers at interview and expect the unexpected, as our method of interviewing is distinctively more strengths-based than our competitors. Answer as naturally as you can, so try to avoid repeating pre-meditated answers to the letter.
On a more personal note, I missed the deadline for my video interview because I believed I wouldn’t be successful. The following morning, I received an email that I had 2 more days to complete the interview due to a system error causing the recording software to go down (ironic for a tech giant, good news for me!). At that moment, I decided to just go for it, and I’m now 4 months into my placement! The important lesson from this is to have confidence in yourself and to strive forward without fear of failure. What have you got to lose?
How would you describe the support you receive here at Microsoft?
The level of support provided is outstanding. Throughout the onboarding process, I felt free to ask questions, no matter how small – quoting one of my American colleagues, ‘The only stupid question is the one that’s not asked’. Even when working within global teams, people are always willing to assist you – when taking on a management role in Microsoft’s Partner space, a very complex area, I found this a remarkable help.
Interns are also encouraged to seek out a mentor to help with their personal and professional development. I have been lucky to find a Senior Business Manager willing to support me throughout my journey, and I am enjoying the opportunity to leverage her knowledge to learn and grow.
How have you developed during your time at Microsoft, and what opportunities has Microsoft given you?
I am having an amazing time, and I truly believe that another placement couldn’t offer me the range of opportunities and experiences that Microsoft has. Since I started my internship, I have found the learning process to be intense and rewarding. The level of responsibility Microsoft is willing to give you is commendable – for example, I am managing a global team of content writers in the Partner space (one of our biggest revenue streams!). I am building on and learning new skills every day, as I have a lot of variety in my role. One moment I could be designing websites, the next I am controlling data access for some of Microsoft’s largest customers within the EEA.
The highlight of my internship so far is being part of a Hackathon project which won the global public sector prize. This led to an invite to our US offices in Redmond in December, to meet with the people who can turn our idea into reality!
Microsoft recommend that you spend 70% of your time on your core job role, 20% on stretch projects and 10% on personal development. Each week I aim to find time to read, watch an online course or get involved in something new. This has undoubtedly improved my knowledge, self-awareness at work, and developed new skills that are useful in my job. My mentor recommended that I get the book Strengthsfinder to learn more about myself – you can also try out a personality test here (my result is: Protagonist). This is an effective way to prepare for interview, as you can identify and promote your strengths!