Intern Role Profile - Sales
by Josh Riches
Role: MSN Program Manager UK, Ireland & Canada
International Business Management – University of Surrey
What I’ve been doing for the last 9 months
Hi, I’m Josh and I am a Program Manager for MSN UK Ireland & Canada. My role revolves around driving product improvements to the Cars and Money sections of MSN in order to achieve the our “best in class content experience” aim. Day to day I conduct numerous activities to drive business impact, such as product and partner management, data analysis, competitive analysis and international calls! Basically, I’m a real all-rounder ;).
What I was expecting to gain from my internship
I have always been interested in international business, and Microsoft is possibly the best environment to gain real experience of global enterprise and working with international teams. Working within MSN has been the perfect way of gaining this experience. Not only do I work within a local program managers and media team, I work within international ‘vertical’ teams, on conference calls with people across every corner of the planet, it’s fair to say the international desire has been well and truly fulfilled.
Here’s my role post from ~ 3 months into the internship: http://www.beyourfuture.net/2014/09/23/intern-insights-project-management-consulting/
How I have developed
The greatest aspect of my personal development has been my organisational and management skills. Due to the nature of my job role, as a person I take a much more controlled approach towards managing my efforts to achieve my aims, as well as taking pride in my work.
Partner management skills are something that I am extremely glad to have developed. Working with external parties to manage getting their content on site requires me to manage a relationship and an outcome that is based on the partner’s needs as well as our own; it’s a fine balancing act. It often requires you to think strategically and to understand partner needs to manage their workload.
Empathy; this may seem a strange one. But understanding your colleagues needs and priorities is important to achieving your goals. For example you need to weigh up just how important an app feature is in relation to an engineer on the other side of the world, who is managing 10,000 priorities for over 55 international markets.
I also developed a large bank of technical knowledge, read on..
The key challenges
Without a shadow of a doubt I struggled most with the technical aspects of my role. Having only ‘soft skills’ to my name and no in depth IT understanding, I began my internship like a fish out of water with a migraine. But through perseverance and help from a very supportive team I eventually began to get the ball rolling. Once the basic technical aspects are understood It was possible for me to see the wider business implications of our actions, actively add value to our operations and really get myself stuck in.
Another key challenge I experienced occurred when our team of 7 got reduced to 5. I went from being an intern on slightly diminished responsibilities to having the deliverables of a full time employee. I went from owning one vertical (Weather) to three (Weather, Sport and Health & Fitness) absorbing all the product and partner responsibilities for each; to then owning 2 (Money & Cars). This not only challenged my adaptability, but provided me with 2 opportunities to start afresh, with a wealth of translatable knowledge; in fact it was a blessing in disguise. It also presented me with a unique opportunity to push my boundaries further than I had possiblyimagined.
The cool stuff I got up to outside of my role
During my induction week, I became interested in a role on the Be Your Future blog team. I had always been interested in social media and creating written content; and seeing as there were many parallels in my role in MSN I applied; eventually being hired as blog lead (you’re welcome). This presented me with the opportunity to do something incredibly fun and creative outside my core role, leading a team of talented interns and overall great, passionate people who I wouldn’t have had a chance to work with otherwise.
PDP was also a great opportunity to conduct a project centred around an unfamiliar part of the business, for me Azure; and it allowed me to hear invaluableinsights from Michel the UK general manager, as well as networking with business leaders in Azure to learn more about this complex and industry changing product.
My advice for making the most out of your time at Microsoft.
• Invest time in developing strong relationships with your core team and wider contacts in the Microsoft org; this will make your every day job much easier and fun.
• As much as possible get involved with other parts of the Microsoft business. You can’t do it all though, so pick carefully.
• Speak up and don’t be afraid to have your opinion known; your ideas form part of your value proposition, don’t leave people short changed.
• Microsoft Office Specialist Exams. Do them, and do them early!
Good luck and make the most of your placement year! You have a valuable opportunity to grow as a person and prepare yourself for life after graduation. Peace.