Adam Naylor, a former Aston graduate (Bsc (Hons) in Human Psychology), tells us about his placement year at Microsoft UK Headquarters in Reading, and how it has lead to a permanent contract with Microsoft Corp in Seattle, USA.
Adam’s story starts with his placement year in Reading at the Microsoft UK Headquarters working as part of the Complaints and Response Management Team in the Customer Services and Support Business Group.
As part of the Response Management Team, Adam helped to organise and run a number of initiatives and campaigns throughout the office. His role quickly expanded as he took on more responsibility and independent projects of his own including work as part of the student recruitment team. This involved visiting a range of universities around the country and managing student assessment days taking place on Microsoft campus.
'The best part of the job was seeing all the new interns start in July and knowing that you’d helped to advise them on how best to put themselves forward and shine out from amongst the rest.'
Adam’s first step towards securing a dream job in Seattle started with a competition. During the year, Microsoft ran a global campaign looking for colleagues to put together a demo of the capabilities of Windows Vista and Live technology in sharing memories and information with friends and family.
'Although I only had limited knowledge in this area, I decided to take up the challenge and managed to reach the final. Myself and another intern won the UK rounds and got to go to Seattle to represent the UK at the World Finals of the competition.'
Their final presentation was a virtual fly through of Adam’s recent holiday to Australia, which combined maps and photos, designed to offer people the change to share the entire experience of the trip and not just a photo. Although they did not win the finals in America, it was a huge achievement having only been with the company for eight months and with the other contestants being established professionals.
'The judges liked the fact that we were very inexperienced but up for the adventure and that we told a real story using a wide range of technology.'
One of the judges, now Adam’s future boss, was so impressed that he was keen to get Adam working on the Microsoft team in America. After successfully completing interviews in January he is now set to go to America and start work in October.
'Although I am flying over there with a three year work visa, the offer is a permanent job and who knows, maybe ill apply for residency and become an American citizen!'
What Is Your New Job Role?
'My role is as an Associate Product Manager working in Windows Live essentials. I will be helping to oversee the marketing activity associated with certain products such as Windows Live Messenger and Windows Movie Maker. It is part of the Microsoft graduate training scheme which also gives the opportunity to get in contact with graduates within the company around the world at local and company wide events throughout the year.'
How Would You Value Your Placement Year?
'I believe I would not have been able to get the role I have been offered without the experience and opportunity that the placement year gave me. If any other student has the opportunity to take a placement year, I would say grab it with both hands! Make the most of the year and make sure you come back to university with tangible results of what you did as it will be vital when applying for graduate jobs.
'The placement year at Microsoft is one of the best experiences I have ever had both in and out of employment and I know that the skills and experiences I had will stand me in good stead for the future.'
We wish Adam all the best success with his new role and hope he enjoys his time in America.
Words by Vanessa Pollard