Intern Role Profile - Finance

Toby SakataXbox<em>2013</em>Logo

EMEA Finance Analyst – Xbox

University of Kent – BSc Economics

blobeyJob Role

My name is Toby and I am the Finance Analyst intern for XBOX. My job role is pretty well defined by my title… I analyse financial data. Believe me though, this is NOT as boring as it may sound. The analysis that I do allows me to give the wider XBOX team insight into how the whole XBOX Live business is performing, from how many Gold subscribers we’ve gained this month, to how much people spent on FIFA ultimate team! These insights often lead to business strategy, and seeing your work making real business impact is extremely fulfilling.From the offset, I was updating budget files, doing financial reporting and building financial models of my own. Within 2 months, I was the owner of the financial reporting for the marketplace business. The level of responsibility that you get at Microsoft – if you choose to embrace it – is limitless.


During your internship, you’re not limited to your job role and there are loads of opportunities for you to impact the business from elsewhere and get involved socially. I chose to join the “Get On” 101 team, which is a volunteer programme dedicated to visiting schools and attending careers fairs to inspire young people about work and technology. This is just one of the MANY stretch projects that you can get involved in and you can use these as a way to push yourself, develop specific skill sets and give back to the community. Socially, there are a number of sports teams and societies that you can join. I chose to join the football team, and through this I got to play in an International Tournament for Microsoft employees across Europe!

Application Process

Now you have a feel as to what it’s like to be a Finance Analyst and work at Microsoft, I should probably back pedal a bit and explain about the application process because for me, this part was particularly daunting, and I found reading about/listening to the experience of others invaluable:

The Application

At this stage, you’ll need to demonstrate your competencies using a range of real life examples to show that you’re a well-rounded individual. You’ll also need to convey why you’re right for Microsoft and the stream to which you’re applying. Finally, you’ll need to prove that you’re more than just a sheet of grades! Talk about work experience, volunteering and other extracurricular activities.

The Interactive Video Interview

This stage consists of several simple pre-recorded questions for which you have 30 seconds to prepare and 2 minutes to answer. For this stage, my main piece of advice would be DON’T PANIC! Seeing the timer on screen can be very nerve-racking, just stay calm, jot down a few bullet points and compose yourself. Try to use all the time available. This is your opportunity to show Microsoft who you really are and it is the first time they’ll put a face to the application. Make the best impression possible.

The Skype Interview

Content wise, this is the same as the interactive video interview, only this time, the conversation is 2 way. Having some well thought out questions prepared about Microsoft/the internship will make you look genuinely interested.

The Assessment Centre

This is the “scary” one. Undoubtedly, you’ll be nervous, but ask any incumbent/previous intern and they’ll tell you the same, the assessment centre is a great experience! Excluding the tips below, the only other advice I can give you is be well prepared, stay calm and enjoy the experience! Here are 5 tips that I’d like to leave you with:

5 Hints & Tips


If you don’t try, you’ll never succeed. It’s better to try and fail than think ‘If only I’d given it a go’.

Be Yourself

Microsoft want to employ people who are genuinely passionate about the business, excited about tech and driven to succeed. Being yourself will make you come across more naturally in assessment centres and will benefit you in the long run. You don’t want to pretend to be something you’re not then get caught out for it.


Be confident in yourself and your skillset. Show what you’re capableof every step of the application process and be prepared to back it up with examples. Try not to come across as cocky or arrogant, but don’t shy away. Finding the correct balance is key.

Do Your Research

By researching Microsoft, the tech industry and the stream you’re applying for thoroughly, you’ll show that you’re passionate for the business and determined to succeed. It could be a great conversation starter at assessment centres and will boost your confidence tenfold. There is nothing worse than being asked a question about the company and not having an answer!


As a Finance Analyst, you’ll be spending A LOT of time using excel. Being able to prove that you’re a strong user with excel/data will go a long way. If you have the option to on your course, try to do data analysis/maths/stats modules. Anything that can give you a backing as to your excel competency.

To put it plainly, Microsoft is a great place to work. The scale of the company, the fast moving nature of the tech industry and the work culture at Microsoft make it a year to remember. If you’re successful in applying, then there is a plethora of opportunities for you to make an impact and get involved. As much as I hate being cliché, the opportunity is there for the taking.


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