1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
I sit in a strategic planning team with the Customer Service and Support area of the business. Due to this, I do not have a structured role but instead I have to almost create m own work. For one this then offers me the opportunity to be creative and secondly it allows me to focus on the things that I find interesting. For instance, currently I have been working on a lot of mystery shopping of our online services, this is very important as it allows me to assess our services from the viewpoint of the customer which in turn offers insight that can be used to influence change.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
At Microsoft there is a huge amount of internal training available, there are many dedicated sites that have the purpose of providing learning material for employees. I have completed numerous courses on a range of subjects from GDPR to Artificial Intelligence. Furthermore, during my first six months I feel that all of my professional skills have developed drastically, for instance i am now a memeber of the MS Speakers club which is a club dedicated to the development of presentational and leadership skills. I do this because i believe that it is one of those things that will be an asset to me throughout my career.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
For me personally, i was always academic in college and in school but I always felt like i had a skill set that could have impact in a business right now. Therefore, i wanted to give myself an opportunity to study and continue to develop academically while having impact and building my professional profile. I would say my apprenticeship at Microsoft absolutely allows me to do both as my manager is very flexible with the amount of time that i can spend on my coursework while offering the right amount of work for me to feel like i have having impact.
4. How valued do you feel by Microsoft?
I feel massively valued in my team. Whenever age comes up in any discussion with me about responsibilities etc. It is quickly shot down as age really isn't a factor in the business. People don't talk to me like i'm 19, they talk to me and treat me with the respect that they would with a seasoned employee. This is most evident when my mendor continually asks me to critic his work, for one i love doing this as it offers a learning opportunity and secondly i feel like my input is valued as changes are made off the back of my suggestions. Also, people are beginning to notice my strengths (talking in front of others) and thus they are coming to me with opportunities to do so, this makes me feel valued as people can see my value in participating in a task that others might find daunting.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
I study the Level 3 Business Admin from QA. I would say my programme is relatively structures. The exams that are required are booked into my calendar with plenty of warning (months!) and the work that is required for my to complete is clearly set out and i know what i need to do. I feel empowered by this as nothing was withheld from me and this allows me to complete my work as quickly as i feel i need to. In addition to that, another thing that is very structured about my programme is the fact that my sklls coach from QA has regular visits, i like this structure because it allows me to have the work i know i needed to have completed ready for each visit.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
My skills coach offers exceptional support. Whenever i reach out to him via an email his response is very quick and very helpful. Also,during each visit not only does my skiill coach help me with the work that i may need to complete but he also goes one step further he is happy and interesting to talk about my role and at times he even offers really useful advice. However, the exams that are held at QA could be more supportive. The content is read off a screen rather than taught, i think this comes down to the knowledge and the capabilities of the people delivering the sessions as it is evident that they are not as qualifified as a teacher.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
I feel completely and utterly supported all the way from my employer. The apprentice programme at Microsoft is very good. There are numerous contacts who job it is to over see the apprentice programme, this means i know i have a couple of contacts i can always go to if i am in need of any support or assistance with anything. Furthermore, due to the culture of the company i know for a fact that any issue i could have will be taken very seriously as everyone wants to help eachother. In additonal to that, i also work on a very supportive team. My team is fully of vastly experienced professionals and i know they would be willing to give up some of their time to help me if i required it.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
So for me personally, in order to take my role up in Reading, i had to relocate form Exeter. Therefore, i naturally encure more living costs than most due to the high rent, the travel costs to and from home etc. Due to this, i genuinely reckon i would barely scrap by on my salary as i actually require a contribution towards my rent from my very generous parents. However, as i look to progress onto the degree programme in September i will see a 3k pay rise each year which i hope will ease the cost of living near london.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
At Microsoft there are many opportunities to get involved in a huge variety of things outside of yoiur direct role. There is a grouo/team for almosy every hobby, this presents a great opportunity to network and meet new people. For me personally, i have joined the football team, we train once a week and occasionally play games against other companies. This is a great way to get out and meet new people as like i said earlier i moved to Reading for my role and thus needed to make some new friends.
9. Would you recommend Microsoft to a friend?
Microsoft is a great compnay with a great culture. On top of that Microsoft is currently the biggest compnay in the world, this means that even though they lead with the "come as you are and do as your love", this may seem soft on the surface, but actually there is a great opportunity to progress and if you are seen as capable then you will be given the tools to allow you to succeed. In addition to that, Microsoft truely does feel like a family, everyone smiles to each other and everyone is approachable which makes coming into the offices everyday a pleasure.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Microsoft?
My ket piece of advice for anyone looking to apply to Microsoft would be, just be yourself. Be your true self in everything you do. People will know straight away if you aren't being yourself and thus the perception of you might be negative. In additon to that, one key thing that is mentioned a lot in the business is not the fact that you must know everything, but you must have a willingness to learn as in the long run this is much more effective.
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