Kane McDougall - Apprentice in Sales
Role: Apprentice – EPG Sales Excellence Team, Microsoft
Hi, my name’s Kane and I’m an apprentice in the Enterprise Partner Group (EPG) at Microsoft. I’ve been here for 5 months now and can honestly say that I couldn’t imagine doing anything I’d enjoy more.
In my role I am responsible for tracking upcoming deals to ensure that EPG (Enterprise and Partner Group)is able to hit its targets. In addition to this I ensure that our customers are actually using our products and identify where we can increase customer usage. I have a lot of contact with senior sales managers to help them keep track of how well their teams are selling which presents me with great opportunities for networking.
My favourite aspects of my role are definitely talking to the senior sales managers within EPG and generally being given real responsibility within the company. That is probably my favourite thing about the apprenticeship. You always hear stories of how apprentices just sit around, do photocopying and make tea; here at Microsoft it couldn’t be more different. It’s incredible how quickly we were given responsibility, within weeks I had my own projects to manage that I could be held accountable for and was actually making real business impact.
What I have learned
Since starting here I have learned so much in terms of networking, communication and management skills. These are probably the most key skills as they are transferable across any job. Working here has given me a great platform to develop them with everyone here wanting to help you and see you succeed.
The opportunities offered since I’ve joined have been incredible. From being able to present to customers and partners at our big company conference, Future Decoded, at the Excel in London, to going out to schools and getting kids interested in the technology industry and IT. Here at Microsoft everyone wants you to stretch yourself and that’s so easy to do through the aptly named, Stretch Projects. You can do almost anything to start up a stretch project. For example I am the Co-lead for an apprentice stretch project in which we are creating an internal networking app.
The culture here is amazing! Coming into Microsoft I could never have anticipated how friendly and relaxed the culture would be. Most people aren’t expected to be at their desks all day with plenty of places to chill out around the campus. As well as this everyone here is willing to help with any issue you may have and will almost certainly find time in their calendar to meet you, especially if you treat them to a Starbucks! Even outside of work, whether you bump into a colleague at Tesco’s or on a night out, people are always willing to stop have a chat (or a drink)! You’ll hear this phrase a lot around the office but there really is a great sense of a “One Microsoft” community.
Application tips and hints
I know everyone is going to say this to you but my biggest tip would be just to be yourself. Your personality will help to determine which role you go into and if you try to be someone you’re not then you’re more likely to end up in a role that won’t suit you as much as others would. Another tip would be to research into Microsoft before you join, coming to an assessment centre without knowledge on the company is a sure fire way to get caught out. Even just learning about the simple history, the products and who the key people are will give you a head start over those who haven’t. When you’re asked a question try not to start to waffle and get side tracked. Give your honest answer in the detail you feel is necessary and don’t feel you’ve got to talk for a set period of time.