James Arnold: Microsoft Brand Ambassador

I’m an Economics and Finance undergraduate at University of Exeter, and am also the Student Brand Ambassador for Microsoft! I was initially interested in the role as I thought it was a good platform to demonstrate what skills I possessed to potential employers, and working for such an illustrious company such as Microsoft is always a fantastic thing to have on a CV.

The training day is probably the highlight of the role so far, as it was fun, informative and gave me a real feel of what working for Microsoft would be like. As soon as we entered the building we were made to feel relaxed and were introduced to everyone we would be spending the day with in a casual manner. Most of the day consisted of learning about Microsoft a bit more in depth: what the company wants to achieve and how it aspires to reach those goals, but we also got a tour of the Thames Valley Park offices which were extremely modern with technology dotted around in every corner. Lunch was provided and we even got to have a go on one of the random Xbox 360’s that are present in most of the café’s and corridors in the Microsoft office.

Another great thing about the ambassador training day was meeting some of the current interns who were working for Microsoft, and hearing their opinion on what they had experienced so far in their placements. Hearing first-hand about the exciting opportunities these guys were involved in motivated me to try and get a placement within such a modern and stirring firm.

My role is to promote and advertise undergraduate industrial placements and graduate schemes throughout the university and encourage people to apply for them, which isn’t always plain sailing.

As part of my campaign I have taken a promotional email that was supplied by Microsoft and adapted it into an advertisement sheet that accompanies the leaflets I have distributed around campus! Areas I have targeted specifically include busy areas within the business school and the Harrison building (home of the computer sciences school) and areas directly outside lecture halls where students often wait and, to pass the time before a lesson, may actively seek out such information. This way, when people look at the Microsoft leaflets they can also see that the upcoming campus garage event is imminent. I also have conducted lecture shout outs at a macroeconomics lecture for 2nd years (as it is a core module) and a money and banking lecture which consists of over 300 students from both 2nd and 3rd year, as well as planning more in a core 3rd year business module and a computer sciences lecture!

The biggest event I have taken part in was the Garage event on the 12thNovember. For this I met with Microsoft interns to help set up the Garage itself, installing all the wall art and the Xbox 360 ready for the competition that was taking place. I then guided people toward the Garage. In the Garage, people could play games, but also to talk about the career opportunities that Microsoft had to offer. I spoke to people about their options, and then directed them towards an intern if they were interesting in finding out more about a specific role. Overall I feel the Garage was a successful event as it raised the profile of Microsoft as a brand on campus and made people aware that the opportunities they offer aren’t just for technologically minded individuals.

From my experiences as a Microsoft Ambassador I feel I’ve developed my ability to communicate and interact with people in a business/marketing based atmosphere. Trying to sell the idea of working for Microsoft isn’t too difficult but that initial attempt of trying to persuade someone to listen to you is always a challenge and one that I feel I could now easy tackle.


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