Working Life to University Life

Name: Sam Spilsbury

Which university/course: University of Exeter, BSc Economics

Job Title: Delivery Pursuit Lead, Dynamics Global Domain

Brief description of your job:
A Delivery Pursuit Lead is responsible for supporting the presales process by shaping and scoping deals to satisfy customer’s requirements. I work with account aligned sales teams to understand customer needs and requirements, and lead domain delivery resources through the pre-sales activities of designing a solution (architecture, approach, WBS, estimating, costing, etc.) to meet the customer needs.

What made you choose to do a placement year?
I chose to do a placement year because I wanted to learn about the world of business in a hands-on environment instead of a classroom. Theory can only take you so far, you need to experience the real world first hand to get a true feel for it. I believed a placement year would help me contextualise everything I had been taught at school and University. I also knew that it would significantly improve my prospects as a graduate.


The 10 interns who were lucky enough to represent Microsoft at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in FY15.

What made you chose the MS undergraduate program?
I believe that technology gives us the ability to fight poverty, cure diseases and learn new things about our world and beyond. Technology empowers us to do the things we dream of, no matter who you are or where you’re from, and I believe technology is a human right as much as water or food. The more connected society becomes, the more impact one individual can have, and it’s all thanks to technology. Microsoft has always been, and continues to be, at the forefront of the digital revolution. Simply put, I joined Microsoft because I wanted to be part of it.

What for you are the main differences between going to university and working in a corporate environment?
Responsibility, challenge and satisfaction. Nothing can prepare you for the shock of joining a multinational corporation from University. You go from an environment where you are only responsible for your own studies and grades to one where many people depend on your work and accept nothing short of excellent. But you rise to the challenge – the tangible results of your work beyond a simple bracketed grade inspires you to excel in what you do. There is nothing more rewarding than working on a successful project in a team of your colleagues and seeing the impact your work has on businesses or people around the world. Then you go back to University to finish your degree, only now you have a fresh perspective on what you’re trying to achieve by studying at University. I went back for my final year completely rejuvenated and with a new sense of purpose – a clearer idea of what I want to do with my life.

How did you find going from working 9-5pm to the university lifestyle?
For me, going back to University was like getting off a year-long rollercoaster full of long climbs and steep drops and going to get on the carousel. I had amazing days during my internship, and there were also days where nothing seemed to be going right. But that was part of the enjoyment – you never knew what was going to happen on any particular day and every single minute was different. At University, every day felt the same; a handful of lectures, a trip to the gym or sports match and a night out. It was great fun, and I’ll never experience freedom like it again, but in hindsight it wasn’t that fulfilling. Having said that, it was nice to have a taster of working life as it made me appreciate my final year at University a lot more than I would have without the placement year.

Do you think you found it easy to go back to university life? Did you face any challenges/ issues or difficulties coming back to Uni?
It was difficult at first. I missed the responsibility and the drive to get out of bed in the morning. But because I knew what awaited me upon graduation, I tried to make the most of every day and enjoy the freedom that University life gives you. It was far easier to go back to University after my work placement than it was to join the corporate world from University.

Do you think doing a placement has helped you in any way/ been a benefit to the way you then worked at University?
My work placement completely revolutionised the way I worked at University. Post-placement, I was much more engaged in lectures, much keener and more willing to contribute in tutorials, much more organised in my note-taking and generally a much better student. It definitely paid off, as I found revision far easier and my final year grades were my best at University.

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