Name: Aksaya Thayaseelan
University: Birmingham City University – Business and Economics
Role: Customer and Partner Experience Intern
Description of Role:
Within the Marketing and Operations department, I sit in the Customer and Partner Experience team, which focuses mainly on the operations element. The team supports many different aspects across the business which concern the experience of our customers and partners throughout their journey with Microsoft. These include the quarterly survey from our customer and partners, developing successful customer stories, handling the operations of our internal customer account transitions, and more. My role is mainly supporting these different aspects by providing the correct data and resources, creating Power BI dashboards, and running programs such as the Champion awards. This award recognises exemplary employee work, management of the survey, and the cadence of the Voice of the Customer forum.
What does an average week look like?
Each week differs depending on what my focus is. However, I do ensure that I split my time between my job role and extra early in career project responsibilities as well as making time for personal development. I do this by allocating parts of my week to specific tasks. For example, the first few days I focus on delivering my role work. Half a day is dedicated to my early in career project and attending those meetings. Fridays are mainly spent developing my learning by using the resources provided by Microsoft to prepare for the Microsoft Office Specialist exams and the Microsoft Certified Professional exams. I am based in the Reading office, with some days spent in Paddington. I’ve had some exciting opportunities to go offsite for major Microsoft-hosted events such as Future Decoded.
Could you tell us about the highlights of the role?
One highlight is the freedom and opportunity to explore and pursue in different areas that I’m interested in outside of my role. Support from my manager and team has allowed me to dedicate part of my week to getting involved with other teams and looking at a customer and partner journey through a different perspective. This has included learning about how we implement our new products and services to our partners, which they can then use further for their business and customers. This, in turn, has led me to develop my technical knowledge through learning with bots, participating in and facilitating hackathons, and being able to sit data exams. Another amazing highlight has been my involvement in the DigiGirlz core team to inspire young girls across the country to take on STEM subjects, allowing me the opportunity to be part of a program with great social impact.
What has surprised you the most working at Microsoft?
At first, I was surprised by how much Microsoft values those who are early in career. This is promoted through the culture of continued learning and self-development. They give real responsibility and ownership of projects to interns and apprentices. For example, I project manage a quarterly program where I coordinate employees from different departments to bring together tangible outcomes that make an impact in the business. This assignment is something you might not expect from such a big corporation, showing just how much trust and investment Microsoft has in providing the best possible opportunities for interns and apprentices.
What has the transition from university to Microsoft been like?
I found the transition somewhat overwhelming at first. Getting used to the daily 9–5 working schedule compared to a few contact hours per week at university was difficult, but we all settled down quite quickly. My role is quite internally focused, so I spent my first few weeks really learning and focussing on the business structure, our products, and the value of the projects I would be working on. This was an overwhelming and exciting period for me, but the assistance from my team really made me feel at ease and supported during this transition.
What have been your personal highlights of the year?
One personal highlight has been the intern and early in career community, as it has created a comfortable place for me to grow and also work on aspects of myself that require more development. Another was being able to co-host six DigiGirlz events across various Microsoft UK offices and really maximise the impact to a wider range of year 8 girls to inspire them to take on STEM subjects. Not only did this fulfil my desire to create a social impact, it also allowed me to develop a different range of skills such as people and project management.
About the author
Aksaya Thayaseelan is a Customer and Partner Experience intern in Marketing and Operations. She is currently undertaking a placement year and is midway through a Business and Economics degree at Birmingham City University. Aksaya is interested in the experience that customers and partners face throughout their journey and anything related to inspiring women to get involved in tech.