Intern Insights - Business Operations

James Naldrett

Job Role: Licensing Sales Support
University Course:Business Studies- Bournemouth University

Role Insight

My name’s James and I’m shocked to say that I’m almost three months into my internship at Microsoft… Time has flown by! Before I get carried away talking about what an amazing three months I’ve had so far, I’m going to tell you a bit about my job role within Microsoft and what sort of things to expect if you’re applying to the Business Operations stream.

So in December 2013 I applied for the Business Operations stream with absolutely no idea what I wanted to do with my life! Today I work in a team of Licencing Sales Specialists in Microsoft’s Public Sector business area. In short, Licensing Sales Specialists are experts in licencing who work with Account Executives in sales to provide licencing solutions to meet customers’ needs.

Where do I fit in?

I provide support in the form of managing reporting and analysis for the team, as well as being the primary Microsoft contact for government customers and partners wishing to purchase through the Microsoft Online Services Portal (which I’m supposed to be an expert in!). I’m also running several projects to improve team performance. Although my role has a customer element, ultimately, in a Business Operations role, an intern adds value to Microsoft behind the scenes. What I love about my role, is that as long as I’ve completed my core responsibilities, I can be creative in thinking of ways to improve performance across my team. It’s important to remember, that the reason we’re here and we’re valued so highly, is for our fresh outlook and new ideas as the next wave of young talent.


What I have learnt

I’ve already learnt a ridiculous amounts in the short time I’ve been here! When I came here,* I was probably the least techy person in the company.* My Excel skills have improved to the extent that my work is taking half the time it took when I first started and I’ve even gained a recognised qualification as a Microsoft Excel Expert! Simple things like running meetings, talking to senior management and organising a never-ending stream of work have taught me the most and really forced me to adapt and grow. On that note… Be prepared for a very busy year!


For me, what makes Microsoft stand out from other employers is the never-ending array of opportunities outside of my role. To start with, there’s 101 teams which offer various stretch projects, from being involved in this blog; to going to schools and Universities to talk about your experiences. I opted to go for the blog team, which is great because myself and the team have complete ownership of the blog. I’ve also played in the football team, which along with all the other sports teams, is a great way to meet people from all over the organisation. Not to mention the fact that there’s an annual Europe Middle Eastern & Asia Microsoft football tournament! Another opportunity that I’m excited for is the mentoring programme. Interns are supported in seeking two mentors; one from the senior leadership team and another who can be from anywhere in the business. You’ll generally find that once you’ve made some contacts, anyone is happy to offer a couple of days shadowing, which is a great opportunity to get to know every area of the business. We’re also lucky enough to have the opportunity to sit Microsoft Office Specialist exams for free, a qualification which looks amazing on your CV!

Application Tips & Hints

If I was going to give any advice for the application process, it would be to take every stage as seriously as if it were the last, be prepared for any questions that might be thrown at you and relax as much as you can when it comes to interviews and assessment centres. Having said that, I’m probably not the best person to be giving advice about the application process.. Pretty sure I should have been rejected after my first video interview!

On that note, I’m going to quit rambling on! I’ve made some great friends and learned a lot and I couldn’t recommend an internship at Microsoft any more, It’s like a uni away from uni!

Good luck with your applications!

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