Working with customers and managing them from a support perspective. The customers will vary depending on your sector but overall a very customer facing, non sales pushy role that allows you to get to grips with most areas of Microsoft support.
1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
I thoroughly enjoyed my work placement. With colleagues and an infrastructure to support me, I was given the environment to develop skills and a growth mindset as well as thrive in my day to day responsibilities. Once I was comfortable enough with these responsibilities I moved on to more progressive solo projects and team leadership management projects.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
There was a strong culture of aiding and furthering each other. Everyone is willing to sit down and work with you, help you or give you insights whether they are in your team or across the other side of the business. The work you do is always recognised and appreciated while also leading to a spread of reputation that can open up further opportunities for your year.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
There is a performance recognition mechanism in place that helps your manager analyse your performance not only against KPI's but intrinsically with growth and personal development considered key factors. My manager always wanted me to feel engaged with my work and hence would help me procure projects that I really wanted to get involved with as he wanted me to feel fully dedicated towards it. He had my best interest and growth opportunities at heart, excellent manager.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
Days could be as challenging as you wanted them to, occasionally more if you are working directly with customers but that tends to be a risk you take on if you want it. Overall the flexibility to work certain hours as well as work from home mean that there is a culture of ''so long is the work is completed in time and to a high standard, you can do it whenever and wherever you need to with managers permission'. The workload progresses with your ability, your manager wants to push you, but not beyond what you can manage.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
At Microsoft you are almost always treated as if you were a full time employee. They are there to get the most out of the interns they select and you are there to learn and grow as much as you can, so it just makes sense for them to give you real responsibility and help in the workload of the team. I was even at times asked to take on more than a standard FTE amount if I could handle it which I gladly did.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
The level of time management, prioritisation and the ability to wake up and work in a set routine become invaluable in the final year of university. I feel confident that I can plan and structure my work as needed and complete it in good time rather than racing a deadline. My communication skills have improved vastly too, being comfortable conversing and working with my lecturers to get the answers and explanations I need.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
The general atmosphere is very open. Managers sit alongside their employee's without that cliche of looking over their shoulder, all the teams are beside each other so they can be available for open discussions. Meeting rooms are plenty hence there is always somewhere you can go to if you want to work in a smaller team area for a project. People were always friendly, no one had a bad word to say about anyone else and there was always a fresh positive every morning regardless of how the previous day had gone.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
They have a specific programme that runs the internship scheme from start to finish. The interview and application process if very straightforward even if it does make you feel uncomfortable. A lot of it is strengths based rather than anything else, they want to see passion and drive more than immediate skills and qualifications. Throughout the year the interns have a linked and strong community, getting their own away day as a group to further bond and share experiences. There is an intern manager that although not your direct manager, still gets in touch at regular intervals to check that all is progressing as it should be.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
There is something called 'growth mindset' at Microsoft as coined by the CEO Satya. The idea is that we are always trying to grow and avoid stagnation, to the point where an individual is always trying to learn new things or processes that can help them improve their practices and emotions. This reflects in the performance review sections of Microsoft whilst also having a bunch of training opportunities open to you, some compulsory and some voluntary, Overall they become very invested in your skills, wanting you to become wholesome well rounded employees that have the freedom to transfer anywhere in the business with the skills already trained.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Sports and Social Club
Working from home
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
A graduate job is never guaranteed, but placement students will have an internal process rather than the external process of other students. This does not mean you are preferred in any way shape or form, it will always be down to how you show up on the day of the assessment centre if you get that far. The jobs are fewer then there are in the internship, there are more positions but in a more filtered few streams. The graduate jobs are very appealing though, giving you a lot of prospects to move and grow as well as begin a career in Microsoft/the tech industry.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
Because there are so many interns in the programme there tends to be a very good social scene amongst them. There are also internal intern led teams that keep you in touch with other interns that aren't in your immediate work space or work groups. Microsoft tend to hire a certain type of motivated individual so you will find that a lot of interns have similar personality traits to you and you will be quite likely to get along from a social perspective.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?