Guest blog post by Billy Beswick
In mid-December, I was lucky enough to gain work experience with Microsoft’s UK education team in which my Dad, Steve Beswick is a part of. Of course it was amusing to see my Dad at work but the valuable information and advice that I would not obtain throughout my educational career is something I can use for the rest of my life.
I was lucky to shadow the Microsoft education team at such a critical however exciting time for them. This is because Microsoft is in a decisive transaction period of going from a predominantly desktop and software business to also entering the hardware market with the Surface and the Windows Phone. This was evident within the education team because instead of focusing on selling software to schools/universities, Microsoft education now has to embrace their new surface and compete against Apple with the use of tablets in education.
Being in year 13 and studying Business in school since GCSE, what I’ve learnt from my experience which surprised me was the gap between learning about business and then practically working for a business. A simple example is at school I’m taught what selling is because that’s in the exam, but why I am not taught how to sell? This is much more valuable if you want a career in business after education. I know each person has unique selling techniques but to learn fundamental skills such as this would help many students to make the transaction from education to working life much easier.
During the experience I saw how brilliant the working environment was at Microsoft. I loved shadowing different parts of the team such as Marketing and Sales and came to learn there is so much more to what is stereotyped by the the job title. Such as in one day, a person had to deal with PR, sales, organisation of the upcoming BETT Show and lead an interview. A particular highlight for me was listening into a call with all the interns at Microsoft, in which 2 interns presented what the marketing department were working on with the Windows Phone. I was absorbed by how specific the target market is and how Microsoft has to change how it markets its products in different countries because of the difference in culture. A prime example of this is the difference in the US and UK versions of the Nokia Lumia 1020 advert.
Now when I am at school and I’m sitting in my business class, I won’t be thinking lets learn this just so I can get an A in my A-levels, I will be thinking how this would relate to a business such as Microsoft. It has also given me the determination to really improve my skills and CV so maybe one day I can work for a company as prestigious as Microsoft.