Last year around this time, with my MBA graduation inching closer, I was searching for an opportunity that was the right fit. The decision criteria were simple: I wanted to be part of an organization where my willingness to make a difference would be welcomed, where my career development was valued, and most importantly, where I would actually enjoy every hour doing the work. In essence, I wanted a job where I didn’t dread the idea of Mondays (yes, a bit of an unrealistic target).
A year later, I am happy to say that the MACH MBA program at Microsoft has provided me with exactly what I was looking for. Currently, I am the Digital Transformation Strategist at the Middle East and Africa Headquarters and am responsible for the retail, consumer goods, media and telco industries. Every day I wake up with the same energy and excitement I had on day one, looking forward to the new opportunities on my plate. These feelings are no coincidence – they arise from a work culture that is simultaneously open, supportive and challenging. Sounds contradictory? Let me explain.
- You embrace the growth mindset
One of the first things I learned at Microsoft was that you are responsible for your actions. If you have a legitimate reason for working on an idea that is at odds with what others are doing, and you can justify the decisions behind your efforts, go for it. Takings risks is not something you should be afraid of, because failure is seen as a learning experience. The concept of “fail fast” is part of the company‘s growth mindset.
A word of advice that my manager gave to me: “Don’t ask for permission. Ask for forgiveness.” This doesn’t mean you should mindlessly jump at any random idea that pops up. Yet, there’s an environment of trust that is a part of Microsoft’s culture, and I’ve always kept that trust in mind when taking any risk.
- You don’t sell solutions, you share the future
If you are a technology enthusiast like I am, this is an area that will definitely excite you. Think about it. It is hard to find an organization that doesn’t use at least one solution that Microsoft makes–no matter what industry it’s in. Given that digital transformation is happening on a global scale, technology is becoming a key factor in non-tech companies’ strategic decisions.
This mass change gives you insight into the technological future of industries worldwide. At Microsoft, you have the ability to see products before they hit the mass market. You have the ability to share the future with your clients.
Now that’s pretty cool, isn’t it?
- You are not an employee, you are a member of the family
Now, I can see the cliché nature of this statement if it is not supported with some robust evidence. After all, at our MBA schools we are taught to be critical of empty statements, right? Well, here we go. Make up your own mind.
I have been working on a unique, large-scale project for the past few months that has needed multiple colleagues’ expertise–from various departments within Microsoft and across geographies. Half of my colleagues would not be impacted if the project succeeded or failed. Meaning they didn’t have anything solid to gain from helping me out. Nevertheless, whenever I reached out to them, they helped immensely. They also shared some other experiences with me – information that has helped with other areas of my work.
Not enough, right? Still a bit critical?
The other day I was traveling out of country for one of my trainings and there was a problem with my travel arrangements. Typical guidelines would state that I contact our travel agency to get this issue sorted out by myself. What actually happened was every colleague (and friend) from my team, including my manager, reached out to see if everything was all right. With their help, the issue was solved immediately. I was on my way. I had another instance where I felt like my team had my back.
This is a version of what we mean by One Microsoft. And this is what I mean by being part of the family.
- If you have a question, it will be answered
Now this point is something that has been very important to me. By nature, I am a curious person, and I prefer to understand the ‘whys’ to the ‘whats’ that are around me. This knowledge allows me to tie meaning to my efforts, which increases my motivation, allowing me to perform better overall.
I have always found answers to my questions at Microsoft. Whenever I reached out to a colleague to understand anything I was curious about, I was presented with clear answers. I didn’t feel like I was left in the dark. This transparency in the organization leads to a more comfortable working environment, where honesty lies at the heart of business as usual.
One other thing to note: there is no hierarchy for the sake of hierarchy. If you ask any of my colleagues, you will find that everyone is within reach.
- Your career development is in your hands
Your future is yours to shape, and circumstances will be provided for you to do so. From my first interview to the projects I’m working on now, I have found that I have choices regarding the direction of my career – whether it’s developing skills or exploring areas I’m curious about.
One thing is certain at Microsoft – you make your own future. Without achievement, there’s no advancement Naturally, this environment inspires a healthy degree of competition that pushes you to achieve more. But this shouldn’t come as a surprise. After all, Microsoft’s mission is to “empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.”
If you think Microsoft is the best place to be for you after your graduation, I would urge you to apply to the MACH program to kick-start your journey. You won’t regret it.
Interested in the MACH program? Apply here: https://eu5.advorto.com/MicrosoftGraduates/Search.aspx