A University of Northampton student is hoping to excel during his 365 days at tech giant, Microsoft.
Bradley Howe, a second year Media and Management student, will join Microsoft in July on a year-long placement as an Enterprise Channel Manager.
“It has always been a dream of mine to work at Microsoft,” said Bradley, a self-confessed tech addict. “I wanted to work for one of the greatest companies in the world. I also love working with technology and I love business. Working at Microsoft also gives a lot of freedom – it’s not like a conventional working environment and I wanted to experience that.”
As Bradley admits, walking into the Microsoft office for the first time to attend the interview day was an incredible experience.
He said: “The head office is set out like a campus. There are five buildings, some with underground floors, there is a gym, Xbox labs and floating’ offices, which are offices with glass walls, ceilings and floors and that look all the way down. There are kitchens in every offices and drinks are free as well as a massive canteen with different food bars.
“The head office is designed to accommodate everyone’s schedules and ways of working so there are no strict ‘in office hours’. Going for my interview was an incredible experience that I was apprehensive about beforehand. As soon as I met my interview contact, it was a fantastic experience and they completely put me at ease.”
As you’d expect for a placement of this magnitude, the selection process at Microsoft was no copy and paste exercise.
Bradley said: “I applied when Microsoft UK opened its placements in November 2017 and it wasn’t until January that I heard I had been selected for the next stage. I had received a monthly email saying that ‘due to the high number of applications, we will be taking longer than expected’, but that was it.
“In January I completed a bunch of online psychometric tests and even had a video interview where I had to record myself answering questions that would be told to me less than a minute before answering. It was very scary, but I was put through to the next stage in the process.
“Eventually, I was offered an interview day with Microsoft. I spent the whole day at the headquarters completing group exercises, a presentation (which I had to prepare) and two interviews. After nervously not hearing anything for a couple of weeks, I got a phone call.
“They didn’t have a yes or no answer for me, but that two hiring managers would like to take 30 minutes out of their busy days to see me and get to know me. Well, 19 hours later I was sitting in a conference room in Microsoft Reading, with two hiring managers talking to them about me and answering any questions they may have. The interview went very well!
“An hour into the journey back home, I got a phone call from the hiring managers. I was in!”
Securing a placement is a nerve-wracking and often frustrating process for any student – but Bradley believes it was well worth the emotional turmoil.
He said: “I sacrificed a lot of my time to complete around 40-50 placement applications, but if you work hard enough it does pay off. Placements are by far one of the hardest things to do at university, but so little people go for them. I was scared to the bone but knowing that I would be up against far less people if I did a placement than if I waited and chose to do a graduate scheme, I had to jump in!”
Bradley will be hoping to make a name for himself over the next year to extend his stay at Microsoft’s impressive UK head office in Reading.
He added: “My hopes are that I will continue working with Microsoft after my final year at University, as they have a graduate university on the campus. If I can get a couple of years under my belt with Microsoft then my options will be very open, but I would like to stay at Microsoft for as long as possible. It’s a fantastic chance to build my CV and to keep going and keep striving for more good things.”