Assessment Centre Advice - Marketing
By this stage of your application, you’re most likely aware of which particular business area (or stream) you’ve applied for at Microsoft. And though our many Assessment Centres tend to follow a largely consistent format, there can sometimes be subtle differences from stream to stream. Therefore, in the interest of giving you guys the most applicable advice possible, we’ve compiled some advice pieces that are relevant to specific streams.
This particular article provides you with insights from our current crop of Marketing interns. Of course, much of the advice given is suitable to other roles and streams – so don’t let that put you off. Just bear in mind that some particular points may not be necessary elsewhere (for example, a manager who is looking for a Marketing intern isn’t necessarily going to be blown away by your knowledge of C+ programming). I’m sure you get the point though :)
Whichever area of the business you’re applying for – we hope you find something useful!
Zoe Magee is based in Reading and is the Cloud OS Marketing Manager for the Server & Tools Business Group. She advises that you relax, be confident, and be aware:
1. Relax – when you are doing your 1:1 presentation remember it is not a test, they are not trying to examine your knowledge on anything. What they care about is how you present so think about how you are going to carry out your presentation, your reasoning and content is important but no not get too worked up about it.
2. Be confident, not dominant. In group activities – get your point across but try not to be dominant and aggressive. I know it sound’s weird but the employers are looking for someone who will fit in well with their team, not someone who is going to boss them around!
3. Be aware that you are being examined throughout the whole day – even when you are not taking part in activities/interviews/presentations, so be polite, friendly and speak to the other candidates. Ask questions!
Helene Fyffe works as a Marketing intern within the Education Department, and is also based in Reading. Her Assessment Centre Advice is as follows:
I’m Helene, I’m half French/Scottish studying Business with Marketing at Edinburgh Napier University and I’m working in the Education Department as a Marketing intern for the year, where I’ve been fortunate enough to be involved in all sorts of vibrant projects, from co-organising the Microsoft stand at the biggest Education Technology tradeshow in the world,to writing blogsand e-books aimed at our audience which is head teachers, educators and IT managers of schools, colleges and universities.
I’m so pleased to be able to share a few tips with you if you’re looking for a marketing role at Microsoft because I remember this time last year, just how daunting and unlikely it felt that I would land the job I’ve been having such a challenging and enriching experience with. First of all, I want to say congrats for getting this far and breathe, the hardest part is over! The assessment day is purely an opportunity for you to show who you are as a person, and any experiences you have that can paint a picture of your skill sets. This could be anything from organising a Society social to fundraising for a run you did.
They’re not looking for a genius who knows how to program a computer or who has worked for blue chip companies. I didn’t even know what Azure meant when I applied. This is marketing and the key to this job (and I know this is going to reek of cheddar) is having stacks of enthusiasm and willingness to learn and stretch yourself.
Top 3 tips in a nutshell
1)Have a handful of work experience examples at the ready!
2)Be open and be yourself (I was open about my lack of tech knowledge and honest about my interests – paying hard-earned waitressing money to throw myself in muddy swamps and ice-filled dumpsters #ToughMudder).
3)Treat any assessment task as a fun opportunity, not as a scary challenge, lest your robo-cop side comes out to play without realising. All they want to see is your real personality!
Charlotte Tyler works in London in the Windows Consumer Marketing team. Her advice revolves around knowledge and the kind ofresearch that you should do prior to the Assessment Centre:
*Knowledge is power *
First of all, congratulations to have reached the Assessment Centre stage of the recruitment process. Thousands of students apply for the Microsoft Internship scheme every year so just getting this far is a real achievement.
I remember receiving my Assessment Centre confirmation email and the instant adrenaline/panic that came with it. What to wear? What to research? What to take? What to prepare? And all in such a short amount of time. Therefore, I’m hoping that by reading this you can feel a little less stressed and more excited for your interview.
My top tip for the Assessment Centre would be definitely be research, research, research! After all, you can never know too much, and it’s a skill that will definitely set you apart from other candidates. However, you *must *use the research effectively.
Research the Microsoft values and demonstrate in your interviews how you can not only use these skills in everyday work life, but also that you have taken into consideration what is important to the company. Tailor your research to the areas of the business that interest you the most. There is nothing worse than a candidate randomly explaining how many employees there are in the UK when it isn’t relevant to the conversation or task! Researching something you’re interested in will help to demonstrate your passion not only for Microsoft, but also for the industry.
Some extra tips:
- > Get involved. Ask questions and speak to anyone and everyone. If something intrigues you, feel confident to ask for extra information or contacts to further your knowledge. Microsoft is renowned for its friendly culture and this go-to attitude is sure to get noticed.
- > Don’t be nervous. It’s easier said than done, but understand that everyone is in the same boat. I remember how nervous I was in the run up to my Assessment Centre, until the moment I walked through the door and saw five other terrified students. You’re all in this together and it’s great to really work as a team during the Assessment Centre. You’ve done really well to get to any stage of the application process so believe in yourself and your abilities – it’ll show through and impress assessors.
Finally, good luck! :)
Our final piece of Marketing advice comes from Rebecca Moore, who echoes some of Charlotte’s advice and adds some useful tips of her own:
I work in Developer Platform Evangelism as an Audience Marketing Manager. Don’t understand that? I didn’t have a CLUE! Which is where my major piece of advice comes from.
Microsoft is a business so large and complex that it is impossible you would ever completely understand the business before starting, nobody expects you to. Doing research to make sure you have a general awareness of Microsoft products and the industry is extremely important, but understanding the deep detailed knowledge for a Marketing Assessment Centre won’t help you. I didn’t even understand what DPE (Developer Platform Evangelism) meant until a few weeks into my job. So, have an overall Microsoft knowledge and of course have natural preferences for products you may be interested in, but otherwise really focus your preparation on you, your skillset and your experiences. This will give assessors the chance to really understand and connect with you in the small amount of time they have.
Be aware of the type of Marketing you are interested in, definitely. If you are 100% sure of a role you want then go for it. If not, don’t set tunnel vision on a role based on the A4 page description you are given. The Microsoft Marketing intern roles have so many elements that it would be impossible to understand completely before you begin. You may have the skillset a manager on the day is looking for, but for a completely different role than you think you suit. The worst thing you could do is dismiss yourself for a role you suit before the manager has even had chance to meet you. Keep your mind open!
Finally, enjoy it! You have the chance to spend a day inside one of the biggest technology companies in the world, soak it up! Chat to as many people as possible and make the most of the opportunity. You will come across a lot better if you manage to relax, asyour passion will then be able to show.
We hope that you’ve found something useful here. All of this advice is really useful and well worth taking on board. If you’ve got any further questions though, please feel free to comment below or get in touch with us here at the Be Your Future blog.
And best of luck with your Assessment Centres!