Microsoft Induction Day

My role as a Public Relations Student has come to an end and instead I shall be working for Microsoft for the next year before returning to University to complete the final year of my studies. I cannot express how overwhelmed, fortunate and pleased I am to have landed myself a “dream placement”. As part of my internship year I am required by the University to keep a diary or a blog. Personally I see no value in keeping a diary for my own eyes and so I shall work to keep this blog updated on at least a fortnightly basis running throughout my placement. Obviously working for such a large company does require me to keep a fair amount of information confidential. As of yet I am not 100% certain if I am allowed to release the full details of my job and so I shall I have to leave these details for another day.

Yesterday I was invited to Microsoft’s UK Headquarters in Reading for a ‘smart casual’ induction day. This year Microsoft raised the amount of interns they took on to around 80 students. This may sound like a large amount but considering the scale of Microsoft the numbers soon become sparse once split between the countless departments which make Microsoft UK. I spoke to a student who is a .NET programmer, another who is in events management and even someone who will be consulting for Windows Surface.

You could almost smell the brain power and talent from the lecture hall where the induction talks were given. There is absolutely no doubt that we live in a competitive world and when viewing the results it is clear to see why such stringent application processes work. Unlike what many of you may think the majority of those who applied for Microsoft were not geeks. I would hazard a guess that many of the students in the hall would not have a single idea what the .NET Framework, Windows Azure Platform or even what Bing is at the beginning of the day. People are chosen for their particular talents in certain departments of Microsoft. What people excel at is their focuses but obviously with such skill in one arena does cause some to have scary abilities to just maintain general knowledge.

One of the main purposes of the induction day was for all of us (new internship students) to get to know one another. This was done mainly through splitting us into six different teams and completing a quiz relating to Microsoft and general knowledge. Through this task I witnessed a student count the whole periodic table aloud whilst tapping on the table. Yes, he was actually a geek (let it be known that the term ‘geek’ is one of praise), a new programmer for Microsoft. My quiz team won and in turn we got given goodie bags with various Microsoft merchandise.

As first time experiences go for large corporate companies I must add that the most overpowering sense one has for working for Microsoft is the amount of money the company evidentially has. It is to be expected that each room will be filled with the latest technical equipment because Microsoft is a software company and the latest hardware is needed. Although when there are Xbox’s in the majority of rooms, free drink vending machines and canteen’s containing a vast selection of the world’s food you do get the sense of high-flying corporate life.

Beyond the incredible material delights of Microsoft the staff members are very friendly. The mood at Microsoft is very relaxed along with the dress code. If meeting clients formal attire is required but normal day-to-day business for most involves t-shirts and jeans.

It became clear during the induction day that to become successful at Microsoft means getting involved beyond the call of duty. To understand the company in detail and help others (with the agreement from your manager) when help is required. My work with Microsoft doesn’t start until the beginning of July but I am eager to start work and make a positive impact.

I have still yet to read in full detail the blogging and tweeting guidelines set out by Microsoft but mostly any details given away online are made at personal evaluation and that from the team you are working with. I shall still be tweeting and blogging away. Except at times you will have to forgive the lack of details. It is in my best interest and that of Microsoft’s to keep some technicalities secret. Having tasted the freedom of work, the ability to contribute beyond an essay and make a real impact it will be difficult returning to University complete my final year – it is an enchanting, enhancing and irresistible opportunity working for Microsoft. Can’t wait to start!

Runner-Up CIPR Student Rep of the Year

Found out a couple of days ago that I have been made runner-up CIPR Student Rep of the Year. All my thanks go to those who made my role such a pleasure to carry out. Much of what I did was heavily weighted upon those students who offered me their time and talent, the generosity of the University and CIPR West of England. Just goes to show that the education I have received from the University of Gloucestershire has been fantastic.

So here endeth this short blog post of thanks. Thanks all! x

Second Year of University: Accomplished!

Goodness… what a year it has been. Of course I connote year in the most student way possible which equates to roughly 8 months. Let’s be cheap about this – a University year for some does average out to about 2 weeks of solid work. Oh, who seriously believes that drivel? The majority of people I know at University work very hard, probably harder than some adults in the so-called “real world”.

For the most part, now that University has finished, my life will become mysteriously dull. Not that this is a bad thing. Through my second year at University I have built up a fairly large collection of books which demand my urgent attention. It just so happens that the next couple of weeks will really serve as my summer break. For this reason my online presence will dip until the end of May, only ascending when there really is something interesting to say.

I cannot thank the University of Gloucestershire enough for my education so far. Along the way there have been problems due to the cuts made. How can I complain though? I have a great work placement lined up with Microsoft over the next year. No doubt I will learn a lot, grow a lot (unfortunately my height will probably now remain a constant 5 ‘6) and meet some more interesting people.

What does scare me (just a little bit) is this whole element of change. Not knowing where one is heading can be a scary thought but hideously exciting at the same time. This macabre dance down the road of life and wondering what stance I shall be left in is what life is all about.

Second year of University… ACCOMPLISHED!

Finished at Cheltenham Jazz Festival

I fear it may take at least another night’s sleep before my body is in fully working order again. Although what a good time I have had at the Cheltenham Jazz Festival. Being a part of a very large team for Jazz Town 87.7FM will be one of the moments I look fondly upon for many years to come.

My main role for Jazz Town FM was to present. Over the course of the weekend I managed to total around 9 hours of airtime, 6 hours of that was with my friend Ian Pinnell doing the breakfast show. Turning up in the morning resulted in clutching a cup of coffee whilst being gently spit upon by the weather.

During the festival I was fortunate enough to interview Irish funk band The Roving Crows, upcoming artist Andy Nowak and, my personal highlight, share a studio with a singing dog. I met Polly & The Billets Doux, Cattle Market, Kim Cypher Band, Tommy Charles Tetraphnoic and even briefly spot Jamie Cullum.

Other commitments refrained me from working with Jazz Town FM for the whole weekend but I had a thoroughly delightful time. Some individuals managed to find the stamina to work constantly throughout the festival and so anybody who met members of the Jazz Town FM team nearer the end of the weekend must forgive our tired faces.

The next step for the Tone Radio team will be covering Wychwood Festival in the first week of June. I wish them the best of luck with this venture.