Why did you choose to spend a year in industry?
I wanted to have exposure to the industry before I graduated, enabling me to focus my final year study towards a real-world application. I also hoped that I’d get a job relieving me from the pressure of looking for one in my final year.
What was your role at Microsoft?
I was a TSP (Technical Solutions Professional). In this position, I led technical presentations, demonstrations, workshops, architecture design sessions, proof of concepts, and pilots to explain, demonstrate and prove to Microsoft’s largest customers the capabilities of Microsoft's products and services and how we could make their businesses more successful. I worked with companies such as: Thames Water, Virgin Atlantic, KPMG, Tesco, NEC, Panasonic, Rolls-Royce and many more.
What was your biggest challenge and your proudest achievement while on placement?
When I first started my biggest challenge was skilling up on all the necessary information needed to perform my job. I had to do hours of training to ensure I was ready to go out to customers.
During my placement, I was given the Microsoft ‘Role Model’ award. This is a company-wide initiative that recognises employees’ contributions that go above and beyond everyday work.
What do you think are the benefits of a placement year?
- Real knowledge of a commercial environment.
- See how your university knowledge is implemented in the real world.
- Earn money.
- A year of industrial knowledge before graduating.
- Being able to apply the knowledge to your final year.
What was the most important thing you learned from your placement?
That everyone is constantly learning. The most important thing is not to know the answer to everything but to know who or where to go to find the answers.
How did you go about securing a placement?
I applied for around five, only the big companies, and only got a reply from Microsoft and I got it.
There were 3 main stages in the application process:
- Application and cover letter – Simply uploaded to their application site.
- Online video interview – I was given a few questions to answer via a video recording.
- Assessment day – Where I had to give a presentation to a panel, participate in a group challenge and have two 1-to-1 interviews with prospective managers.
What advice would you give to anyone thinking of spending a year in industry?
Do it. It gives you skills that you can only get from an industrial environment. You’ll come back knowing where you want to be after you graduate and hopefully, with a secured job.
What are your plans for the future?
I’m now enrolled in the Microsoft Graduate Programme. As a graduate, I will be going back into the role I was in whilst I was an intern but with more responsibilities. I’ll now have accounts to myself and will be expected to meet personal and team targets.