Graduate Profile - Partner Sales Executive

Grad Ben
Name: Ben Highfield

Role: Partner Sales Executive

Stream: Sales

Department: Microsoft Dynamics

Location: Reading

Background Information

  • Cardiff University, BSc(Hons) Economics
  • Not a previous Intern – Did two summer placements at a company specialising in high growth business consultancy but unlike most of the other grads, didn’t do a year in industry.
  • Why Microsoft?
    • Recently Microsoft has undergone a massive transformation in the way they do business and as a result the way people see Microsoft as a company is changing. I think it is a key time to be joining Microsoft as it has an exciting future with lots of opportunities and innovative products.

Application Process for your role (You might want to check with University recruitment how much we can say about question specifics and assessment centre structure here)

  • Online application – Had to answer questions about me, Microsoft and technology as a whole. Also had to attach a CV
  • Online scenarios test, you are asked how you would react in different situations
  • Video interview – Had a series of questions and fixed amount of time to record each answer. This was the first one of these I ever did so quite a strange experience talking to the camera but no-one talking back to me!
  • Skype interview – similar to the video interview but a live conversation, they were interested in hearing my thoughts on technology and understanding how I’d fit into the sales stream.
  • Assessment centre – The day began with an interview with one of the hiring managers. We also did a group exercise and an individual presentation. We also got a tour of the Microsoft Campus and lunch with existing graduates, this is a fantastic time to find out what they think about the company and why they applied.

Please also include:

  • What you found most challenging about the process
    • The assessment centre was by far the most challenging part of the process, but the key thing is to enjoy yourself and relax, if you do that you will be able to give the assessors a much better understanding of you as a person as that is what they are looking for. They are looking to see how you fit into the business.

  • Your top tip for the process

    • Don’t compete with other people on the day, Microsoft is about collaboration and helping people learn.
    • Make sure you demonstrate your passion for technology and the industry

Your Role

  • Define your stream, your role and when you entered Microsoft as a Grad – make sure you explain any acronyms (e.g. SMS&P, EPG)
    • I joined into Microsoft Dynamics as a Partner Sales Executive about 8 weeks ago. When I started I had no idea what Microsoft Dynamics was but that didn’t matter as I got all the support and learning resources that I needed. My role has now shifted into more of a Partner Recruitment style role, so that’s speaking to partners and getting them interested in the products we are offering, I have also specialised in our Cloud Based Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software.

  • Your day to day role

    • I am still new into the role so there is still lots of learning to be done. I’m currently doing a lot of shadowing and attending meetings to learn more about what we do as a team and how I will be fitting into that team. In the future on a daily basis I will be running training events for partners and going out and talking to partners about our product offerings.

  • Anything that stands out in your role

    • The flexibility of the role is massive. Because I joined a new team with new goals I have been given a huge amount of flexibility to do things that I things that I think will be beneficial to the team in the future and also to work on project that I find interesting.

  • The team you work in

    • The team is very new and is focused on getting CRM into small and medium businesses. As a result, we are constantly having to drive new and innovative ways to reach our target audience and then getting feedback to determine what is successful and what isn’t. Most of the team work out of the office but always make time to talk to me about what their role is and what they are working on when they are around.

  • Anything else that you would have wanted to know when you were applying

    • When applying its important not to worry too much about the role you will eventually end up in. Microsoft is a huge organisation and the chance is you will end up somewhere you didn’t know existed. But don’t worry about that because they always fit you in somewhere that they know is right for you and the skills you have demonstrated.

Your experience of the company so far

  • Grad’s training and benefits
    • There are lots of great things about being a graduate at Microsoft, depending on what stream and role you end up in will determine the training you get, with sales it was up to our manager who gave us lots of on the job style training so attending meetings and listening in on calls. We are also encouraged to attend lots of training courses that Microsoft offers.
    • We do also have training weeks which all graduates attend, a European one in Dublin and a Global one before MGX in Orlando, Florida.

  • What’s it like working for the company

    • It’s a fantastic company to work for, there are so many opportunities and everyone is happy to sit down and grab a coffee with you even if it’s so you just quiz them about their role. There are also loads of opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work such as sports and social groups.

  • What surprised you

    • I was most surprised by the speed the organisation changes relative to its size. It is always innovating and changing processes to make it a true market leader. Also the amount of opportunities and tasks you are trusted with as soon as you get into role.


Your #1 Top Tip for making the most of your Graduate Role

Talk to as many people as you can and do as much as you can. The excuse of ‘As a grad I really need to go to this awesome event to learn more about the business’ tends to work.

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