1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
As a data analyst in finance, my daily tasks involve ad-hoc reporting, standard daily reports that can be weekly or monthly. Also involves meetings to get up to speed about the business and how it is doing. And finally meeting customers to showcase our products and how we use them within finance.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
Other than my level 4 qualification as a data analyst, I have learnt a lot of Excel skills and have qualifications in power point and excel. This is fundamental in a data analysts job as these tend to be the progams you use the most. I have also learnt a lot of communication skills and people skills whilst working here which are invaluable for the future of my career.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I have been enjoying this progamme very much. It has a nice balance of your day job and courework and also the opportunities provided are amazing. Apprentices are highly thought of in the company and considered to be the future, as we get heavy investment into our training and development I feel they value the experience even more.
4. How valued do you feel by Microsoft?
I feel very valued in Microsfot. My manager has been hands on with me from day 1 and this has helped a lot. I have also been given a lot of responsibility as time has gone on and this has helped develop my confidence and understanding of the business. I have also been given recognition for my achievements already in the short time I have been here.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
At the begining I felt there should have been more structure to how things are run in the apprenticeship programme. As it seems its based on individuals managers rather than the programme as a whole. I was lucky to get a manager who cared very much about my development and helped a lot but others had managers who were more busy or struggled with having the extra responsibilities. I also think the training provider could have been better informed about my programme in general. But it seems these issues have been ironed out quickly and the quality of the programme has increased within 6 months.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
I do receieve a lot of support from the provider and they are always at hand when needed. As said above they have improved from the begnining.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
My manager has given me support from day 1, I feel without him I would not be set up the way I am now and owe a whole lot to him for my short career so far. I feel he had a very positive and open mind when I need him and never shunned me in any way or made me feel like I was just an apprentice.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
As a commuter from London, the travel can be very hard on my pockets! And relocating is very similar in that sense. I feel the salary is a good starting point but if it went up each year based on the degree apprentices who get that, then it would make things easier. But it is enough to get by at the end of the month.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
At this moment in time I am not particulalry thinking much about opportunities outside of work as I am trying to nail down the day job. But there are tons of events you can go to represent Microsoft and the lads play football on a weekly basis. There are a lot of extracurricular activies in and around Reading.
9. Would you recommend Microsoft to a friend?
I feel it is a massive company with huge potential to develop and learn here. It is better to go from a big to a small or medium company in the long run as you can take that experience and skills and further develop into a more senior role. It can be less pressure and not as hard on a young person.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Microsoft?
My number one tip is to be yourself and let your individual qualities shine through. End of the day you can have the best grades and best CV but there are people in my team who went evening classes and traineeships themseleves before landing a FTE role here at Microsoft. The company values people very highly and therefore it is better to be someone genuine, honest and trustworthy and you will find the whole process much easier that way. Also be ready for a challenge and ready to get stuck in. Do not shy away from difficutl questions or opportunities you are given and you will do the best during the assessment centre.
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