Most Innovative Intern Of The Year... Where Are They Now?

Name: Melissa Strickland 

Intern Role: Server & Tools product team coordinating key marketing initiatives

FTE Role: Bing sales team account manager

My Intern Year:

What you did day-to-day as a intern at Microsoft?

Within this 12-month internship I worked within the server & tools product team alongside another marketing manager. I was given huge responsibility for coordinating key marketing initiatives with a focus on two global product launches. Whilst I was involved in a multitude of tasks, my core priorities which I had total ownership of were; Fully responsible for allocating a substantial budget to create internal launch campaigns to support with the external campaigns. Involved with briefing and managing creative agencies and internal/external stakeholders in multiple business areas. I planned, delivered and managed promotional collateral, digital and direct marketing and offline events. I was responsible for online/ offline communications both internally and externally and I co-ordinated customer case studies, managing the collaboration between agencies, partners and customers. I developed the concept of a video montage which featured as a key promotional tool both online and at nationwide events.

What you enjoyed/highlights of your internship?

I had a really great boss who supported me and gave me a huge about of responsibility and freedom to shape my role. I felt like I had a genuine impact on the success of the product launches which was very rewarding. As part of the internal launch I worked with a creative agency to develop branding to customise the Microsoft HQ and created customised cereal boxes which were distributed in the kitchen’s around the company and 2 giant cakes! I loved seeing my hard work become and reality and got a buzz from the positive responses. I also really enjoyed getting to know all of the other 102 interns, it almost felt like freshers all over again!

How you felt the internship set you up for success:

The internship was invaluable, I was able to experience working life before being thrown in the deep end after uni. I was able to put my learnings from uni into practice and learn skills to set me up for my career, whilst having the safety net of an internship filled with training and support. It gave me huge confidence when I graduated and stepping into a career didn’t feel daunting, also having Microsoft on my CV was a great talking point and something that prospective employers were very impressed by. Not only that, but it meant I had already built a strong network of contacts within Microsoft, which is how I ultimately came back to Microsoft as a contractor initially and then as a full-time employee, through recommendation from an ex colleague of mine.

Where you are now:

What you do on a day-to-day basis?

I am now in the advertising part of Microsoft, working in the Bing sales team as an account manager, where I manage a book of business consisting of Microsoft’s highest spending Search advertisers. This involves building trusted advisor relationships with my customers through email and face to face interaction and working in partnership with them. I build meaningful, compelling proposals for Premium Clients, pull reports to analyse account settings, performance and potential for up-selling opportunities, monitor account budgets and performance for optimal ROI and customer satisfaction and adjust sales plan as necessary to ensure alignment with customer goals, competitive pressures, market dynamics and internal product changes to execute on sales priorities.

What you enjoy/highlight so far as an FTE:

I love the company culture at Microsoft, you’re trusted to do your work and aren’t micro-managed, I can come in and out of the office when I please and manage my own diary which is a freedom I really appreciate! Everyone you meet at Microsoft is so helpful and kind, I’m still astonished by the amount of time people give to help others to be successful, it’s a very supportive and collaborative culture. I get to wine and dine my clients which I really enjoy!! I’ve got to go to some amazing Michelin star restaurants in London, to All Star Lanes, Swingers, Sushi Samba and more! But, my highlight so far is taking 5 of my clients up on a helicopter above the Thames followed by a slap up meal – I was the talk of the office!!

Any success stories?

I ran a fun incentive with one of my agencies last year called Bing Bingo, which had the aim to encourage my clients to invest their time in Bing so as to improve their accounts. The teams were all really engaged and competitive and it helped me to form strong relationships with everyone. It also drove revenue growth from 19% decline year-over-year to 110% increase in revenue year-over-year.

Where you want to be in the coming years:

Microsoft is really encouraging in employees career progression and they’re always encouraging me to look forward to what I want to achieve in my career. I would love to progress to an account director role which is even more sales and relationship focused. I love strategically thinking about how I can increase my customers spend through execution, initiatives and events. Looking even further ahead, I would one day like to be a people-manager as I really enjoy helping others to succeed and offering support and guidance.

How did Microsoft internship help you to be where and who you are right now?

It gave me a taste of Microsoft so I knew I wanted to come back!! And the contacts I made during my internship are what helped me to come back to the company through the referral scheme. The internship is 100% why I am here now!

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