Bright, passionate and ambitious! These are the first words that come to mind when I think of Beatrice. Because of the admiration I have for her, I decided to share her unique internship experience at Microsoft in Dublin.
Beatrice is Italian, hailing from Tuscany. Her path at ESCP started on the Berlin campus for her first year of studies because of her desire to study in Germany. During this first year at ESCP she started looking for internship opportunities as part of the Master programme. She successfully obtained an internship at Microsoft as an Associate Account Manager and took a gap year in order to make the most of this opportunity.
What were your main activities as an Associate Account Manager?
“I worked in the Microsoft Advertising team. I was part of a group of Account Managers who serve as the main point of contact between Microsoft and business clients who advertise online. Essentially, Account Managers help their clients to structure, develop, and optimise the search advertisement (SEA) strategy of their clients. It is called a sales position but it is more like a consultant because you provide expert advice to the client. I had many different activities that ranged from replying to clients, preparing proposals, and carrying out campaign analyses: all of the activities related to online advertising and digital marketing.”
Why did you apply to Microsoft?
“During the first year of the Masters in Management I was looking for internship opportunities in marketing or sales, but wasn’t sure what would be best for me. I was passionate about digital and technology so digital roles and tech companies were my dream at the time. When I found the position as Associate Account Manager I thought it might be interesting, so I thought that I should try to apply – but I would have never imagined that I would be hired for the job!”
How do you think that your business studies contributed to your success in getting this internship?
“I think that what ESCP offers students in comparison to other schools is the mindset of being ambitious even when you are young, of setting goals for yourself and of trying to achieve these goals as part of your career plan. I think that probably in another school I would have only dreamt of working in a tech company but I may have never applied: I would have never been so determined to try.”
“I think that another big advantage of ESCP is that it really prepares you for the real world of work and for a career. For example in Berlin I remember we had two career fairs where you meet companies who explain what they do and who they are looking for. There is a Careers Service to which you could address any question related to your CV or for advice on building a career plan. This is a way for students to really prepare for the steps that they need to take later. From what I have seen, in other universities I think more focus is laid on studying throughout the course, and only once graduated do students start looking for work. Getting into this mindset early, as ESCP teaches us to do, is a great advantage.”
“The international experience given to students is another strong point. In many cases it can help you to become more flexible and to adapt to different situations. I can therefore say that ESCP provided me with the skills to take the first steps in my career.”
According to you, what made you stand out from the other candidates?
“This is a really hard question to answer. People have asked me for advice when considering applying to tech companies. If I had to list the things that they are looking for in candidates, even though I have a year of working in that world, it would be hard for me to say. I mean, from my personal experience, when I applied I didn’t have much experience because of course I was applying for an internship position, but I had worked before in marketing and sales, as a Sales Assistant. I had done many courses abroad, an exchange in Asia, a course in London and I had travelled. I think that extracurricular activities also play an important role. In my case I had many interests and hobbies in addition to school which may be the type of diversity that Microsoft looks for. But to be honest it’s still really difficult to tell, especially from a CV perspective. For the interview process I think preparation is key: learn as much you can about the company and the role, focus and be confident.”
What did you like best about the position and about the company?
“The company was great. There were a lot of things that I loved. In terms of position and of the work itself I loved the fact that you are given a lot of responsibility, you are trusted, even though you’re young, and it’s an incredible learning experience.”
“Microsoft’s culture is great, too: everyone is super friendly, always willing to help when in need. There are always a lot of things to do, so in addition to your tasks there are also many side projects to keep you busy and surely never bored. Overall something really nice about the company is that everyone is so young and acts like a family: I usually had breakfast and lunch together with my colleagues. The campus in Dublin is really cool so you have a good life there even if you’re far from home.”
How would you like to pursue your career? Has the experience at Microsoft been an influence?
“At the moment, I’m focusing on finishing my studies, but very likely I will be involved in digital and technology in some respect. Microsoft has definitely shaped my aspirations, but there are plenty of roles that one can explore in the tech industry. I think the area in which I will be working will be, at least for the first few years of my career, related to what I did in these early steps. However, I think that if I decide to change to a different industry, my work will always involve digital and tech.”
What advice would you give to an ESCP master student who wants to join Microsoft?
“The advice that I would give to ESCP students who want to join Microsoft or another tech company is to dare and to not be afraid: just apply! You do not have to be an engineer to work in the technology sector.
When I applied I didn’t know if I even had a chance to get the interview. Just apply and in the meantime immerse yourself in technology, try to learn more about it; start reading about what tech companies are doing, what technologies they are developing, why those companies are so successful. Obtain an online certification to acquire related skills while you are waiting for the response. It may also be useful to join an association either in or outside school where people talk about technology. Maximise your exposure to it to increase your chances of getting the job.”
Special thanks to Beatrice Failli Forzoni for her valuable contribution