An Apprentice at Future Decoded

As you may have seen on the blog, back in November Microsoft held a 2 day event, showcasing the latest and greatest that Microsoft has to offer. Below one of our apprentices, Georgie, has told us all about her experience of Future Decoded.

Future Decoded was a whirlwind of an event. With more than 6000 visitors, 50+ exhibitors in the Expo, more than 140 sessions and 8 keynote sessions with some of the most influential people in the world – our very own CEO Satya Nadella, Professor Brian Cox, the Right Honourable Lord Sebastian Coe, Richard Reed (co-founder of Innocent Smoothies). I was so happy to be a part of this incredible two days.

As my team, Enterprise Marketing, were one of the prolific organisers of the event I was very lucky to be involved in its final planning stages, such as organising customer speaker sessions with our largest customers – to name a few Trainline.com and JustGiving and working closely with members of my team to invite the top professionals attending the day to a networking drinks afterwards (how exciting!)

The event was organised into two days, the Business Day on Tuesday 10th and the Technical Day on Wednesday 11th November, which I got to be a part of both.

It all began on Monday for the team and I. We all met up in Reading train Station and made our way over to the London Excel, a huge conference centre where we were to house the event. We checked into a very swanky hotel across the road and made our way over to the site. It was all hands on deck to get everything ready for the early start the next day, so after a bite to eat together we had an early night to prepare for the madness!

On the first day I was responsible for letting the customer speakers know what they were doing in their timed slots and assisting their every need; I even got to introduce Chief Information Officer Richard Atkinson, who was responsible for the start of the company, to the stage! I couldn’t have imagined that a few weeks into my apprenticeship I would be doing this! I ended the day watching the closing keynote speech from Lord Sebastian Coe, presented by Clare Balding. To celebrate the success of the day I went out with my team for a meal and a few drinks, one even in a boat hotel on the Thames, which definitely felt surreal.

Before I knew it the final day had arrived! For this day I was on the Expo floor with my fellow apprentices and interns, helping out with the stands and being a general port of call for the customers. I was lucky enough to be put on the Visual Reality stand, which was showcasing the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive technology, allowing the attendees to engage with the tech and explore the features through 2-3 minute demos. We moved onto the Argos Connected Home stand in the afternoon after lunch, which was showing off Microsoft’s latest and greatest tech and how they integrate into everyday life.

I found this a bit challenging at first as you had to entice the customer into the stand and then pitch each product and whilst keeping the customer interested (not one of my strong points!). But after a couple of attempts I got into my stride and found I actually enjoyed it!

Some of the other stands included an amazing robot cocktail maker and an interactive Surface station.

It was a lot of hard work, as we were on our feet for a large portion of the day, but we received some really lovely feedback from the customers and we all got a free t-shirt out of it too! Just before we left at 6:30pm we all sneaked into the keynote speech with Professor Brian Cox – my dad was extremely jealous at this point! Then before we knew it, it was time to brave the rush hour tube madness and travel back to Reading.

I can honestly say that this event was one of the best ways to kick-start the apprenticeship – I got to get to know my team really well, put names to the email addresses of customers and experience all of the amazing things that Microsoft and our partners do!

I can’t wait for next year, bring it on…

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