1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
I work for Bing within Microsoft, and am an Account Coordinator. On a day-to-day basis I deal with reporting, data analysis, client communications and client meetings. My main responsibilities are to ensure advertisers campaigns are running as they should be, assist with imports, communicate with internal teams to resolve issues, and pull reports to track campaigns and identify gaps. I am lucky to have a client facing role, and spend 3 afternoons a week hot-desking at worldwide agencies in London, which is a great way to network and learn more about the industry.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
Since starting my role I have qualified for my Bing Ads Accreditation, and I also have the opportunity to complete all MOS exams for free within Microsoft. I have learnt how to communicate professionally both internally and externally, and am now confident talking to clients at all levels of seniorority, for example I had a meeting with the Head of Search for a global agency recently that I was confident going in to. Being a part of Microsoft also gives me access to a whole world of free online training, as well as networking with experts in all fields to learn new skills.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
My programme is thoroughly enjoyable, as every day things are changing and I am working on new things for new accounts. Also, I am not just resctricted to Bing within Microsoft. With there being over 40 apprentices this year, I am able to learn about so many different parts of the business, and I also have the opportunity to attend many Apprentice focused events e.g. visiting the HSBC head offices, meeting the Prime Minister at the Head Office.
4. How valued do you feel by Microsoft?
Unlike many apprenticeship programmes I had heard about, you are truly valued at Microsoft. You are seen as a full member of the team, and not just someone to make the teas for office. I am trusted to lead my own client calls, to suggest optimisations for accounts, and to take initiative on new tasks that will benefit the team. The Early in Careers team at Microsoft also dedicate a lot of time and effort to make sure we are getting the most out of our apprenticeships, that we are fully utilsiing our time here, and that we have all the resources we need to success.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
Our first week as Apprentices at Microsoft was hosted at Microsoft HQ, and was an induction week. We spent the week getting to know one another, learning about the company as a whole, and was the next 1.5-2 years was going to look like. There are many apprenticeships available too, ranging from Digital Marketing to Data Analysis. There is also a mentor system in place, in which the FY17 apprentices are delegated a FY18 apprentice to guide and answer any questions, which is great to have when you lots of questions when you start.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
My experience with my training provider has been very bumby. I have had 3 different skills coaches, all with varying ideas as to what I should be doing and when. I did have access to any resources until 6 months in, when I was finally sent my welcome pack from the chartered institute. I also find the classroom training weeks very disorganised, irrelevant to my day job and difficult to incorporate my learnings into my portfolio.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
Regardless of my experience with the training provider, the support at Microsoft has been great. I voiced my concerns with my manager and HR contact, who straight away spoke to the training provider about what was going on and together we came up with a plan for me to successfully continue my apprenticeship. To complete all of my portfolio, my manager has been great and providing me with contacts across the company that will be able to help me, as well as going through my work with me. The HR team have also been incredible at giving us all the information we need, and support when necessary.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
Being based in the London office and living on my own is very expensive, and my salary does not cover half of my living expenses so I have had to seek other financial support. The pay is definitely very basic, and with the rent and rising cost of travel in London, it would be very difficult (if not impossible) for me to be on the apprenticeship and afford my lifestyle without other financial support. Given that, its difficult to put a price on getting to work at Microsoft at such a young age!
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
There are an abundance of opportunities outside my day-to-day job. For example I was taken to Berlin March by Microsoft to attend a Microsft Search Advertising summit, which was incredible. I also had the opportunity to volunteer at a local food bank in December, as Microsoft allos each employee to take 3 days a year to volunteer. We also get a great discount on Nuffield Health Gyms located at some of our offices.
9. Would you recommend Microsoft to a friend?
It is a great opportunity to get your foot in the door of such a successful, forward thinking, diverse company. You are taken on based on your potential, enthusiasm, and what you have to offer, and do not need any prior experience which is relly difficult to get so young. It opens an array of doors, has an abundance of resources to draw on, and is a great place to start your career.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Microsoft?
Be true to yourself-the feedback I got from my interviews was that I was enthusiastic (I was so excited to be at Microsoft!), confident (I really wanted the job!) and ready to learn, which is reflective of me as a person. Make sure you learn about Microsoft i.e. ethics, values, products, SLT, and be ready to talk about Microsoft with a genuine passion. Go prepared with questions to your applicant day, and put a lot of thought into them, you want to stand out. Take every opportunity you are given, never shy away from anything even if it scared because at the end of the day, how much can go wrong? If I was applying again, I would like to have been told that its okay to be overwhelmed, your at Microsoft and theres a lot going on, but well done for getting there!
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