Name: Umang Vadher
University: University of Exeter
Role: Technical Account Manager (TAM) intern in Financial Services and Insurance
As a Technical Account Manager (TAM), I serve as the first point of contact between Microsoft and Premier customers—those that have a technology support contract with Microsoft Services. My main responsibility is to establish a connection with my customers. I need to understand their problems and figure out where our technology can create business impact for them. I provide value through my knowledge of the customer by visiting them regularly and talking with people in a variety of job roles from across the business.
Despite the technical label of my role, there’s no requirement for any technical knowledge. What’s important is that we know the business implications of our products and success stories, and, where suitable, pull in technical help from the wider Microsoft team and use a One Microsoft approach to get things done.
What does a normal week look like?
Mondays are always the busiest. The entire team is in the office. People are preparing for the busy week ahead. We have a team meeting to establish our priorities. A large part of the second half of my year is shadowing other business roles around the company to find my personal preferences.
I part-own an account with a Senior TAM on my team, so every Wednesday I go to London to visit the customer. In our meetings, I try to understand any problems that the customer is having so we can be proactive about fixing potential future issues via upgrades, training, or deployment.
Moving on to Friday, I usually work from home as there tends not to be customer meetings that I’m required to attend in person. Microsoft promotes flexible working, with a culture that focuses on the impact you make, rather than hours spent in the office. I find that at home I can concentrate on my spreadsheets and admin tasks, which are often due at the end of the week.
Could you tell us about one of your highlights of the role?
A highlight for me is being the secondary TAM on an actual account. It’s opened opportunities that I never thought an internship would offer. The most tangible part of this responsibility is creating and presenting the service review deck each month. I create a PowerPoint presentation detailing the customer’s recent cases. I split these into reactive and proactive cases. It can be described as fixing a problem and preventing a problem respectively. To obtain all the relevant information for the deck I use Excel, which is a great tool for extracting value out of raw data. I use this to design the graphs, tables, and other visual representations. This helps to keep track of everything that’s being delivered to the customer and the impact that Microsoft products are having.
What has surprised you the most about working at Microsoft?
Microsoft is doing a lot. I used to think Microsoft was all about Microsoft Office products and Windows and that this was the extent of the whole Microsoft portfolio. This couldn’t have been further from the truth. What really caught my eye were Dynamics, Azure, and Teams. They represent all the things that I value as an individual: customer obsession, analytics, security, and collaboration.
Many companies have great slogans, but they don’t necessarily put them into practice. Microsoft does. It actively strives to, “Empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more.” And, believe it or not, I’m still not tired of hearing that. In every placement year application I made, I mentioned my desire to embed charity work within my job, but I didn’t think it would be something I could do in my everyday role. My team go volunteering together in a national reservation park every quarter for a bit of fun and to help maintain this self-funded park so that it looks great for visitors.
What has the transition from university to Microsoft been like?
At university it was always about getting notes down for an exam and hoping that the notes were good enough to revise for the exam that was three months away. It was predictable, and it never really gave me a chance to learn the soft skills that this placement has offered me. I never liked practical subjects at school, so I thought that I learned best through books. However, I would say that 80 percent of my learning and personal development has come from my job role. The learning opportunities here are endless. The remaining 20 percent has consisted of dedicated career planning time and exams taken to become Microsoft Office certified.
What is the working culture like?
It’s open, transparent and collaborative. Your performance is not only judged by what you’ve achieved, but also by what you’ve helped others achieve and how you’ve built on top of the work of others. It’s efficient because when taking on a new project, people have the initiative to ask around to check if someone else is doing something similar and then you can collaborate, add value, and learn things from your colleagues that you can apply to other projects you’re working on.
What has been your personal highlight of the year?
My highlight so far has been my role in the Ideas Generator. This involved charities from across the UK coming in to share their business challenges with our volunteers, who were all full-time Microsoft employees so they could find out how to overcome them by using our technology. I helped organise the logistics and food for our charities and volunteers. I also spent the day gaining insight into the problems faced by modern-day charities. It was great to sit in the sessions and see my colleagues collaborate and solve problems together.
There were four charities—Make A Wish, Macmillan, Motor Neurone Disease Association, and the National Autistic Society. They came along with their business problem statements. The volunteers were then split into groups and spent the whole day working alongside the representatives from these charities to provide a solution. The winning group was given the prize of having a day in the Microsoft Technology Centre in Reading later in the year. However, the prize wasn’t our main motivator. We were mainly keen to get stuck in and help these charities start thinking in an innovative, creative, and open-minded way.
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About the author
Umang is an Economics undergraduate undertaking the role of a Technical Account Manager in the Financial Services and Insurance sector. Alongside his team, he is solely focused on digitally transforming banks, societies and insurance firms. Umang is passionate about his university course, seeing its impact and relevance to the world on a daily basis. His vision is to transform the world’s biggest banks, starting in the UK, using new technologies such as Microsoft Azure, Dynamics 365 and Office 365