Microsoft Aspire Event - January 15th 2016

Microsoft Aspire is an intern-lead 101 team aims to inspire more young women to develop their digital skills and pursue a range of careers within the technology industry. As you may have seen previously on the blogs, today we held an event at our UK Head Offices for all female undergraduates in order to give them an Insight into what it is like for a woman in the technology industry.

The young women that attend had the opportunity to speak with women from all over the industry, learn about the range of roles available within our career programmes, meet with our recruitment team to gain application and intern advice, and have an in depth Q&A session with some of Microsoft's female professionals.

After arriving at our offices in Thames Valley Park, Reading, we began our day with a keynote from Derrick McCourt, Director of Public Sector. Derrick began by giving a brief introduction to him and his career background, but what really stood out during this presentation, was Derrick's discussion around diversity in the workplace and the challenges that the technology industry faces. This was an insightful and inspiring key note and it was evident in the feedback we received that this was a highlight for many.

"Derrick was fantastic. He taught me what it means to have a growth mind set and this is something the I will take with me today."

After hearing what one of Microsoft's Directors has to say, the girls were seemingly very motivated and eager to get started with the interactive part of the day. With the help of our HR team, the Aspire team were each able to take a small group of students to discuss the general 'tips and tricks' that we give when it comes to CVs. Not only that, but we were able to ask all attendees to bring along their most up-to-date CVs, meaning they had the rare opportunity to sit with a member of our Microsoft staff and personally go through their CVs to see where they are doing well and where they can develop. An incredible opportunity for any student to have!

"It was amazing to have the chance to ask questions to Microsoft employees and having direct feedback on our CVs. I learnt that I need to express personality in my CV and application."

Following lunch and networking session, we were able to give tours of our 5-building office before we opened up a panel session with a number of female professionals from across Microsoft. Ensuring we had a representative from each career path - apprentice, intern and MACH - our panellists were able to deliver a great session which really stood out for the attendees:

"Having the opportunity to hear from people on different programmes helped me understand what is best for me and allowed me to compare my options"

And what better to close the day than a closing keynote from our very own Sam Bramwell, Senior Sales Excellence and Licensing Manager for Public Sector, but also a keen supporter of women in the technology industry, heading up our internal Women at Microsoft community. Both the undergraduates who attended and the interns who helped were in awe of Sam, as she discussed her journey and highlighted the things that she had learnt over her time at Microsoft. She left the girls with a message of the importance of diversity in the workplace and allowed them to consider what they personally need to take forward as they move forward, past university.

"SAM BRAMWELL - WOW!"

"Sam taught me to have ambition and believe in myself. Take every opportunity and don't be afraid to take risks"

The event was a great success and the Aspire team were overwhelmed with both the attendance and interest shown by the girls. From the feedback we received, all attendees found the day a rewarding and insightful experience and we hope that we can now extend this to more undergraduates across the UK.

Today I learnt...

"... that you need to be yourself as an applicant and the right job will find you"

"...a lot! I had no idea what job I want to do but now I feel I have some direction, or I know where I can find it"

Following this - We are now offering another event!

Due to the great demand and feedback received from this event, we are offering another event in March for those of you who may not have been able to attend the first. If you are interested in attending one of these events please register your interest by sending an e-mail to t-laell@microsoft.com, with the subject title Microsoft Aspire with your name, university and course and we will be in touch once registrations open.

Once open, we will also be posting the registration link on the Be Your Future Blog - so make sure you stay tuned!

"I enjoyed every moment of the day and everyone was very helpful and welcoming - I recommend the Microsoft Aspire events to all!"

Written by Laura-Jane Ellard, Education Marketing Intern

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