Life as an Intern (Samantha Mills)

Let’s set the scene... 2nd year of University; more interested in a buzzing social life than rolling out tones of coursework, plus exams which actually count for something for the first time since A Levels – the previous year or 2 of a lazy, carefree existence is now simply a fond memory.

Sound Familiar?

For many people that’s enough to deal with but, for others, being lumbered with searching, and applying for, a job that will interest them for a year, with an employer that will look good on your CV is a harsh reality.

So as you can imagine; when, after months of trailing the internet, endless career emails, and the filling-in of a huge amount of dreary application forms, I landed a placement year at Microsoft, I was thrilled!

I work on marketing and events within the Public Sector team – we are the ones who promote to Health, Education and Government (including Mi5 and all the exciting smaller Govt. sections).

The majority of my role requires me to deal with event logistics, organisation and feedback – from small internal events, to assisting large conferences with thousands of people. I am involved with the whole process – from booking the venue and catering, and dealing with registrations; to meeting and greeting attendees on the day and analysing feedback.

I am given a lot of responsibility – which at times can be incredibly daunting – however, Microsoft has ensured that I can deal with the majority of things thrown at me right from the beginning. The previous interns were a fantastic resource – teaching us everything we needed to know about our roles - managers and team members are very understanding, and there is a huge network of people who are willing to help and answer as many questions as you can think of!

Another part of my role is to coordinate internal communications. I put together a monthly newsletter which is sent to the whole of the UK PS team.
Sourcing and reading about all of the information has helped me a lot in my role. Public Sector companies are very different to the enterprise-based businesses that most people are used to, and meant that I’ve been put in contact with a lot of different people. Microsoft can be a very easy place to get your name and ideas heard if you make the effort J

As well as this, the majority of managers will be happy for the intern(s) in their team to get experience in a different area – for example any techies wanting marketing experience can get the chance to be involved with events or PR by shadowing one of the marketing teams, and lending a hand on tasks that they find interesting.

This year is an extremely exciting time to be involved with Microsoft’s marketing strategies. As well as the usual buzz surrounding new, unusual, futuristic technologies; the launch of Windows 7 and Office 2010 (amongst others) means that there are even more events and activities being put in motion. Windows 7 promotions are increasingly becoming a bigger and bigger part of my role.

I honestly can’t believe that I have been working at Microsoft for just over 2 months now – the time has literally flown by. I feel that I’ve learnt so much already, and the scope for me to grab even more of the skills I need is tremendous. The moral of the story? Grab every opportunity you can with both hands and don’t give up on placement hunting – chances are you’ll end up with a job that you will really enjoy!

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