Emma Oxley - Apprentice in Marketing
My Apprenticeship Role
My name is Emma and my role sits within the marketing department which targets Microsoft Partners. I have been in my role for about 6 months now and honestly think I’ve learnt so much more than I ever did whilst I was still in education. This is partially because Microsoft, as a company, is so fast paced and I am learning from real life situations rather than hypothetical scenarios. I definitely prefer the hands on approach.
Why I chose an apprenticeship over university
If somebody had told me last year that I would be in a marketing role in Microsoft, one of the best tech companies in the world, then I wouldn’t have believed them. This time a few years ago I was studying Textiles, English Literature and Media Studies whilst toying with the idea of going to university. Honestly, I had no idea what course I wanted to sign up to, this resulted in me writing numerous personal statements as I changed my mind each time. I then decided that perhaps Uni just wasn’t for me. I would have loved to go and study Textiles at University but the likelihood of me getting a job at the end was so slim that I simply couldn’t justify spending a huge amount of money on something just because it was fun. I think it’s important to love what you do but just because I enjoy sewing doesn’t necessarily mean that was to be my career path and, besides, I still do this alongside my job but as a hobby instead.
I definitely didn’t go with the flow. Most of the conversations in Sixth Form were centred on what University you had put in for and what course. I, on the other hand, started applying to apprenticeships almost immediately to make sure I had something lined up. I found the Microsoft Apprenticeship vacancy through my Careers Advisor, and initially I didn’t think I would get it but thought “what’s the harm in applying?”. So I put myself forward and ended up getting a marketing role; and having done my A2 media coursework on consumer marketing, I am really enjoying learning about marketing from a business perspective. I definitely find this more interesting with the support of real life experiences.
On the job experience and learning is the most valuable part of the apprenticeship program and with the large scale of the organisation your opportunities are endless. The qualification that runs alongside this is an additional bonus. I am studying for a Level 3 Diploma in Business Management and although I already have my A-Levels none of these are related to Business Management so this qualification is really relevant to the industry
Being that Microsoft is such a large organisation, it is clearly one that is successful – one of the leading companies in the world. As it is such a large organisation, there are more opportunities that are available to you – loads of departments that you can get experience in alongside your job role. You are not limited to your job title and this means that you have endless opportunities. You can find out what interests you and what doesn’t. This is crucial in your first job role when you may not have an idea what it is that interests you. Interested in sales? Great, have a go. In addition to this, Microsoft has such a supportive network of people that are willing to help regardless of how busy they are.
There is a real buzz in the organisation, being full of passionate and talented individuals and the fast-paced working environment allows you to accelerate your career much faster than any other industry or organisation – everything is done at double speed here meaning you can be really productive.
My Message to you…
You don’t need to have everything planned out.
Whether you are just coming out of GCSEs and considering an apprenticeship over college or whether you are coming out of college and contemplating attending University, the important thing is that you don’t just follow the crowd. Everybody is different and just because all your friends may want to do one thing doesn’t’ mean that is the right path for you to follow.
I cannot promote the apprenticeship scheme any more. I have learnt a massive amount in a short amount of time. I have pushed myself outside my comfort zone and introduced customer success stories in front of a large amount of people at our event in Future Decoded and have definitely challenged myself in my role. There is always something to get involved in at Microsoft and everybody here wants you to do well.