CHESHTA SHARMA: Project Manager
So here we are, 6 months gone and here is another blog entry on my life at MS so far. I was reminded yesterday, that from this week onwards – I only have 60 working days left as an Intern and that got me thinking about what I’ve achieved here so far at Microsoft and how am I going to be using all these learning’s to my benefit.
Within the past 9 months, not only have I learnt to be responsible for some of the key processes that drive our business to success but have also grown to understand how such a huge organisation like Microsoft keeps up with the ever changing world.
As a project manager, I have learnt to take initiative and lead projects that will not only benefit the business but will interest me and help me grow professionally. Having a technical background, I was keen to understand some of the Microsoft Office and SharePoint tools therefore participated in creating Change Control Processes and Reports that automated some of the manual tasks for the Sales Managers across my department. However, working in the department that generates the most revenue for Microsoft, I was also very keen to understand how the business side works within this famous computing industry. One of my projects was to understand how some of our customers are aligned within Microsoft and what key business rules our Sales Managers have to follow in order to ensure all the customer needs are met.
These projects gave me the chance to meet some of the influential people within Microsoft UK and understand their journey so far. One of my project leads has been with the business for 25 years now, she was one of 70 employees to join the UK sub when it was initially set up and has met Bill Gates himself (whom she failed to recognise as he was so down to earth, even though he is one of the most influential people in the world). However, despite being here for a quarter of a century, she still learns new facts about MS and this makes me realise, you can never truly know everything about this company – that’s how vast and ever changing this business is. Another great story learnt was about a now senior leadership member within MS UK who initially joined the company as a Sales Manager within the US headquarters but is the current lead of the department responsible for developing all the latest apps and programs using Microsoft tools within the whole of UK! The reason why he got so far was to learn more and more about Microsoft and implement his ideas to change the business for the better. You see, once you get imbibed into this world of MS, it’s hard to let go!
Another key learning has been about embracing the famous work culture of this business, work-life balance; to be able to juggle work and your own life at the same time. As in any company, when you’re here you have to work hard and meet your goals. But it’s important to remember to take a break when required. This is where my management skills were really tested this year. There has been times, when I have had to attend two lengthy meetings back to back on projects which may have no correlation to each other and still be able to understand my tasks and deliver on tight deadlines, without getting confused and stressed. One piece of advice that has stuck with me this year has been ‘Be ready to take a risk’. These few but powerful words will make you stand out from the crowd because in order to prove your point and stick to what you think is right, you need to be ready to take a big risk and prove it. However, be wise when you do so.
It’s been a huge year for not just me but for Microsoft as well. This was the year we saw the release of Halo 4, Surface, Windows Phone, revolutionaryWindows 8 and you truly feel privileged when you know you are one the very few people who has first-hand experience of the benefits these products can provide. Being part of these launches makes you realise why Microsoft are best at what they do. People here are passionate about their job as they are valued on how they contribute towards the business and every single employee’s effort are driving this business forward.
Finally, the main reason this year has been so successful for me is that it had been a great insight of how a Technical firm works within a corporate environment. Microsoft is way more than just a Computing company. This firm is responsible for advertising its great products and services, ensuring they capture their audiences within the first glance of the product. This firm is responsible for not only seeking new customers, but taking care of the current ones as well. Lastly, this firm is responsible for maintaining its reputation as the world’s largest software maker and keep the title of being one of the most valuable companies present currently internationally.
This has been an amazing year and the more I reflect back, the more I realise how I’m going to miss Microsoft. This journey has given me an insight of what is going to come after university and despite it being daunting at first, I am rather excited to join the working world and take on the next big challenge. If you’re reading this and thinking of applying, don’t hesitate and give it a go – you just never know. If you’re just a few months away to get started here at Microsoft as a new intern (or even as a graduate), I’m jealous because you are on your way to have an amazing experience!! Good luck!!