Role Insight: Xbox LIVE Advertising Product Manager - by Saul Parkinson

Saul ParkinsonHi Everyone,

My name is Saul and I am currently an intern at Microsoft as part of my 4-year International Business “sandwich” degree at Brunel University. I come from London originally so didn’t venture too far to go to university and am also now situated in Microsoft’s Cardinal Place offices in Victoria which is even closer to home; it suits me because I love the London lifestyle!

There are hundreds of opportunities available so I will give you an insight into my role and experiences to help give you a better understating of the variety of roles available that aren’t necessarily technically based (which is a common misconception about Microsoft). I work in the Xbox Live Advertising Product team and my role in a nutshell consists largely of data analysis, creating advertising packages as well as managing the pricing of said products. As my day-to-day activities include a lot of work on Excel I have improved tenfold in my ability to manage and analyse data – I have even been given the chance to pass official certificated exams in Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook which is a bonus!

Most roles will undoubtedly involve communication with colleagues and/or clients on a daily basis – my role involves the former and it has helped me gain interpersonal communication experience in an office environment. There are also opportunities that arise for you outside of your normal day-to-day activates to improve your experience or develop skills in areas you have not yet had the chance to practice. For example, today I presented to a number of year 9 students about my education, role and experience.

Some of you reading this might be put off because of the reference to Excel but it is important to remember the variety of roles available and the extra initiatives you can get involved with. Regardless of your role and tasks you will have a great team to work alongside and will enjoy being in the office. Just as an example, my team has a MEGA NERF gun which is always an amusing break from work and we regularly have free cake on a Wednesday!

Although the application process is changing somewhat from when I did it I still have some advice for you which is most likely what you are looking for from this post. There are two key points that I would suggest you take from reading this:

  • Firstly, during the initial application and screening process I suggest you relate your answers to Microsoft’s values to reinforce that you are an appropriate candidate, which consequently should result in you being invited to a Skype interview, assessment centre and ultimately offered a job.
  • Secondly, when you are at the assessment centre you should remember that there are employees from number of departments there to assess whether you would fit into their team. Their decisions are based on you as an individual and your characteristics, not necessarily your previous achievements and grades. So with that taken into consideration you really do need to be yourself (cliché I know). You need to prove that you are friendly, confident, open minded, can work in their team and are willing learn new things and adapt to the way in which they work.

If you have taken the time to read this then I trust you have or will take time and care on your application and so I wish you all the best of luck in your application process – and hopefully I’ll see you at an assessment centre!

Eager to read more?