KATIE HOOK, Education Marketing Intern

katie hook 34 months. That’s all I have left of by far the most incredible year of my life. A year ago, almost to the day, I was in the same position as I’m sure many of you are now. I’d been offered my job at Microsoft, very excitedly accepted, and then didn’t really know what to do with myself other than work towards the end of my uni year and exams. Searching for a placement had been my life since the previous September, and somehow I’d managed to land myself my dream job in arguably the biggest technology company in the world!

Hi, my name is Katie, and I am the Education marketing intern within Public Sector. Next year, I’ll be heading back to the University of Surrey, where I study Business and Retail Management, to begrudgingly finish my degree. I’ve worked with some of the most imaginative and truly unique people I’ve ever met, and had some unforgettable experiences which will stay with me forever. If you’re lucky enough to have landed one of the internships for next year, congratulations! I’m extremely jealous that you’re only at the start of your incredible journey when I’m so far into mine!

Public Sector is a massive industry to be in, covering central and local/regional government, public safety and national security, education, social enterprise (charities) and health. The education team consists of 16 people, ranging from sales associates to marketers to deployment and technical specialists, and ultimately works towards selling Microsoft products and services to education institutions across the UK. We work closely with a network of external education partners who communicate directly with customers in order to sell and deploy tailor-made and out of the box solutions into educational establishments. Our main targets are to increase the Microsoft share and maintain our position as the leading technology company in the education market. With over 30,000 schools and colleges in the UK, in addition to more than 300 universities and higher education establishments, our team are constantly having to think of news ways to engage with our audience and create hype about Microsoft in Education.

So what do I actually do? Not an easy question to answer! Not because I do nothing, I can’t remember the last time I ran out of things to do, but because I do so much! To start, I’ve been involved in a lot of partner marketing to create new assets to distribute to partners so that they understand what products we have on offer, how we’re positioning them for the education market, and the best ways to promote them. For each of our four customer facing education eBooks, I’ve generated marketing materials which our partners can use in customer sales meetings, including a presentation deck, a messaging and positioning outline, email templates and hand-outs. These have since been found by the worldwide education teams who are using them with their partners the world over. Pretty cool, eh!?

I’d say the main part of my job is event management. In September I organised an event in our London offices with highbrow keynote speakers from government and the education world, in October we held a Windows 8 in Education launch at Loftus Road, QPR’s football ground, in December I was in charge of one in a school in Southend which was attended by David Miliband, and I’m working on an event with a well-known social media site at the moment!

katie hook 2

By far the best event I’ve done was the BETT show (British Educational Technology Tradeshow) in January, where I was given the responsibility of organising and managing our Windows 8 device stand. This meant liaising with the partners speaking on the stand, arranging show devices, organising our treasure trail giveaway and so much more. I also ended up MCing the stand during the show, with varying success! The show itself was attended by over 30,000 visitors in 4 days, and had keynote speakers including Brian Cox and Vince Cable. It was the most incredible experience of my life, and one I most certainly won’t be forgetting any time soon!

I’ve have a really keen interest in social media, so I’ve worked a lot on the Microsoft Education UK Facebook, Twitter and blogs throughout the year. My manager’s been great at letting me write blogs and have a say in our social media strategy, which is something I’m going to do more of in my last few months.

The one thing that’s amazed me throughout my time here is the amount of responsibility I’ve been given. From the BETT show to the partner marketing assets, I’ve been given sole responsibility of what I’m doing. If I don’t do it, it won’t get done and our business will suffer.

In the same way as I’m given responsibility, I’ve also had the chance to create my own responsibility. I realised early in my year that there is a high demand for work experience opportunities in Microsoft, but no actual scheme. I spoke to my manager and director about launching a scheme, and, sure enough, I launched a competition through Get On (for which I run the Twitter account) a few weeks ago to bring in 3 lucky students as a pilot work experience scheme.

As with most of the interns, I don’t really have a ‘typical day’, and everything I’ve said is just the tip of the iceberg of my job, but being immersed in so many different projects all across the business is incredibly insightful, and I’ve done more than I ever thought I could, or would, do.

If you’ve already got a job for next year, congratulations once again, make the most of your time here, and I look forward to meeting you in the summer. If you’re coming to an assessment centre in the next few weeks, don’t be scared. Microsoft assessment centres couldn’t be more different to the terror stories you’ve heard about other companies. Good luck!

Eager to read more?