Alex and Betsy - Graduate Reflections

Last week our Content Team took the time to do an interview with two of our Graduates, Alex Seward and Betsy Jennings. Below you can read their stories on why they applied to Microsoft, what they think of being a graduate at Microsoft, as well as tips to future applicants.

Hi, guys! Thank you for agreeing to do this short interview. Can you first tell us a little bit about yourselves and what motivated you to join Microsoft as a Graduate?

Alex: My name is Alex Seward, 22 years old. I went to the University of West England in Bristol and studied Business and Management. Prior to joining Microsoft, I had never had exposure to technology in an enterprise setting. I was actually a previous intern as a Technical Account Manager in Premier Services, which is exactly what I have come back to do as a graduate.. I enjoyed every minute of it because it was a perfect mix of communicating with people, as well as the solution-building side of things.

Betsy: Hi, I’m Betsy Jennings. I went to Bournemouth University and did IT Management. I was not an intern at Microsoft so I had a different experience than Alex. After researching into the company and applying for a graduate role, I knew straight away that it is a company I wanted to work for. After applying, Microsoft came to my university to promote internship schemes and I was able to meet people from the company and confirmed that the graduate scheme was for me. From quite an early stage, I knew that I didn’t want to work at a company that did not impact the world. I did a placement for another company in the pharmaceutical industry. Even though Microsoft does not have the same background as the company I did my placement at, it has a lot of similarities that attracted me to put my application forward.

What are your roles at the company?

Both: We are both Technical Account Managers (TAM) and we are both based in Reading along with the rest of the graduates. The stream we operate under is called Business Services.
What were your first impressions of the company’s culture, the work environment and the people you work with?

Betsy: I would say that one of my first impressions is that everybody is really supportive. Even though there is a hierarchy in place, you don’t actually feel it.

Alex: I agree. I guess it can also be a bit of a culture shock for some because people have pre-fixed judgement that they can’t talk to certain people. Microsoft operates in a quite a different way to how your outside perspective of working is.

How are you guys finding the graduate community?

Both: Amazing! It’s absolutely fantastic

Betsy: From day one we had a lot of support from the older graduates; we all get along really well especially with the graduates from our segment. It almost feels like we have known each other for ages.

Alex: It reminds me of university, as you get to know everybody pretty quickly. We want to spend time together; we are not forced to just because we work at the same company.

Which part of the application process did you find the most challenging?

Both: We would say the video interview, in which you have to answer pre-recorded questions. It can be a showstopper for some people because you are talking in a room with no communication. Even if you have good communication skills, it can be a tricky process because it’s not something that you find natural.
If you have to give one piece of advice to future applicants, can you share with us what would it be?

Alex: It’s the standard cliché, just be yourself. Remember, interviewers are real people and be yourself around them.

Betsy: You need to be true to yourself as well. You need to come out and know exactly why you are applying to a certain role and to ask yourself whether this is something you want to do. Microsoft is really good at fitting you within the company, as long as you have a clear indication of what you’re interested in.

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