August, 2013

  • Ask Me Anything: Microsoft Execs Share their Experiences with Asian Youth

    Have you ever wanted to ask a corporate executive exactly how they got their start? Wondered if they had any regrets? Or wanted advice on planning your career? This week, in partnership with the Microsoft Asia Citizenship team, 51 youth from five cities across Southeast Asia, specifically Hanoi, Ho Chi Min City, Kuala Lumpur, Manila and Singapore, got the chance to do just that.

    In the global launch of YouthSpark dialogue sessions called ‘Ask Me Anything’, two Microsoft executives, Rich Sauer, Corporate Vice President and Deputy General Counsel for Legal & Corporate Affairs, and Jessica Tan, Managing Director, Microsoft Singapore, were connected via video call to young people across the region  to talk about their personal career journeys and to offer advice on education, being a manager, working in the IT industry, maintaining personal integrity, how to be successful and balancing work and family.

    The audience was aged between 18 and 30 and are involved with various YouthSpark programmes such as Innovate for Good, YouthSpark grants, Imagine Cup, Microsoft Student Partners or hackathons. Singapore youth participated live at the Microsoft Technology Centre and Jessica stayed for an hour past the scheduled end of the event sharing her experiences.

    Jessica’s advice included: “Recognise those who have helped you become successful.” And, “You have the power of choice when it comes to work-life balance.” She concluded by saying, “To succeed, remember these three things: the impact and influence you make, collaborate with colleagues and be confident in your ideas.”

    Rich declared from the start, “Live a life of no regrets,” and explained that he has always kept himself open to new opportunities and takes them when he sees a chance to try something new that will enhance himself personally and professionally. He concluded by saying that, “There is no compromise when it comes to establishing your reputation based on trust and integrity.”

    Thank you to everyone who participated in this first dialogue session!

  • Microsoft Indonesia Hosts Technology Day for Students

    Anak Sabang Merauke, a youth movement from Aceh, Riau, East Java, Bali, West Kalimantan, Sabah, North Maluku and Papua, Indonesia, visited the Microsoft Indonesia offices in Jakarta during their Technology Day event on July 9. Attendees were mostly young teenagers with a passion to improve their villages with Microsoft technology.

    The training was a great eye opener for the students as well as their mentors, young professionals who volunteered to assist the young people. The BG and CSI team showcased Windows 8, Office 365 and Skype.

    As part of the event, the participants created a video of their real life experience in the office.

  • Gold for Nepal at 2013 Microsoft Office Specialist World Championship

    Himal Shrestha is the type of youth one expects at software competitions. The 17-year-old student wants to master the ins and outs of Microsoft Excel®, is excited about getting certification for his MS Office® skills and dreams of becoming a data scientist.

    While his counterparts at the 2013 Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) World Championship are mostly from developed countries, Himal is from one of the world’s least developed economies, Nepal. Despite vast economic improvements in the last seven years, Nepal remains one of the poorest countries in the world, and where the mainstay of the economy is agriculture — that’s why Himal became known as the boy who “brings tech glory” to Nepal, after his win on 6 August.

    With a perfect score of 1000/1000 at the Nepal national championship, Himal secured a trip sponsored by the Microsoft Innovation Center (MIC) Nepal to compete in Washington, DC, where he bagged a gold in the Microsoft Excel® 2010 category, and walked awaywith a US$5,000 scholarship.

    Conscious about the difficulties he had to traverse, and the wider significance of his win, Himal noted, “It was a great honour representing Nepal in the competition, especially since this is the first time my country is participating in this worldwide championship. I hope this win will help inspire more students in Nepal to dream big and do really great in future events.”

    Since 2002, the MOS Championship has been providing students with the platform to showcase their mastery of Microsoft Office products. More than 344,000 candidates from 90 countries participated in this year’s competition.

    “Nepal does not have a Silicon Valley – yet. It is among the least developed countries in the world, and three-fourths of the people rely on agriculture for a livelihood. Yet, Himal managed to perform brilliantly and put Nepal on the map at the MOS Championship,” said Allen Tuladhar, Country Director of MIC Nepal. “We are proud of Himal’s efforts, and we hope Nepali students like him will become the rule rather than the exception.”

    “This [win] will set an example to my country, to the world. Nepal can do better and send more participants in the future, and do really great!” Himal concluded.

    Watch an interview with Himal after his gold medal win.

  • Microsoft Vietnam Partners with ASEAN Foundation to Support Training Professionals

    While emerging technologies bring a positive impact to economic developments in Vietnam, having a strong base of local training professionals is necessary for helping young entrepreneurs tap into new business opportunities. To this end, Microsoft Vietnam recently collaborated with the ASEAN Foundation and Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) to organise the first ‘Training of Trainers’ (TOT) session in Vietnam in April.

    Conducted by the ASEAN Foundation, the TOT session is part of the region-wide programme named ‘Enhancing Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Skills of Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in ASEAN’ that was launched in late 2012.

    In Vietnam, the programme is aimed at building awareness among aspiring entrepreneurs in Vietnam on how they can realise the full potential of their business ventures through ICT training — especially for young people aged between 19 and 35 who do not have adequate access to basic technology resources to develop their business startups. To achieve this objective, the TOT session was focused on equipping the participants with the necessary knowledge and training techniques to be ICT training professionals, supporting young entrepreneurs in rural communities.

    Around 23 trainees from a range of nonprofit groups and VCCI partners participated in the three-day TOT session, including Hoang Manh Duc. Mr Duc, a Training Manager at the Bach Khoa Information Technology Academy focused on networking and security, decided to enrol in the TOT course to learn how to impart his knowledge of the effective use of ICT solutions for community development.

    “At the Bach Khoa Information Technology Academy, I am directly involved in teaching and sharing ICT knowledge with my faculty colleagues. Through the TOT course, I gained useful perspectives into how I can improve the way I organise and deliver my lectures, as well as introduce suitable solutions to address common ICT challenges faced by rural communities. I now feel more confident in my ability to deliver ICT skills training to help young entrepreneurs in Vietnam,” said Mr Duc.

    Le Hong Nhi, Community Affairs Manager at Microsoft Vietnam, said, “One of Microsoft's key commitments in Vietnam is providing affordable technologies to nonprofits and emerging businesses in Vietnam. We believe there is a great potential for developing a base of trainers who are capable of delivering professional ICT skills training to empower young business startups to help them realise their potential.”

    The TOT session was followed by the launch of an e-business incubation programme, providing mentorship and assistance in the implementation of ICT in the business sector. The programme is aimed at promoting a wide range of locally-produced household products to a broader international market through the latest e-commerce

    In his keynote address at the event, Dinh Manh Hung, Deputy Director, SME Promotion Centre at ASEAN Foundation, said, “ICT has a very significant role in helping SMEs promote their product offerings to the global market. This joint programme is aimed at developing ICT skills for local SMEs, as well as promoting the competitiveness
    of Vietnam’s business sector through e-commerce.”

  • Imagine Cup 2013: Team Lumos of South Korea Brings Music to Life

    In the magical lore of the popular fantasy fiction series, Harry Potter, Lumos is a light-creation spell that allows wizards to illuminate the tip of their wand. Taking inspiration from this simple yet highly effective spell, Team Lumos of South Korea created a Windows 8 app that provides a new way of enjoying music through projection mapping techniques.

    Team Lumos members GeunWook Lee, Nak-Kwon Choi, HwaJin Park and Jungmin Oh first got together through the Microsoft Student Partners programme. Spurred by their shared love of music, the students set out to work on a technology project that will enable users to create beautiful visual effects that match and enhance their listening experience.

    “While we initially did not have a clear plan on how we were going to execute our idea, we knew we wanted to create something that is closely related to what we all love. With Lumos, anyone who enjoys music can now create their own media art with a little help from the app we developed that is based on projection mapping. We believe this app can make a difference to the music industry,” said Nak-Kwon.

    While projection mapping techniques are already widely used by musicians to enhance their stage performances through synchronised visuals, Team Lumos has developed a way to enable anyone with a Windows 8 device to utilise the technology to personalise their listening experience in their own personal space.

    When Team Lumos arrived in St Petersburg, Russia, to compete in the Imagine Cup Worldwide Finals in July, the team members got the chance to interact with other finalists and were inspired by the wealth of technology ideas from their peers.

    In addition, the young South Koreans were greatly motivated by the encouraging reception their app received – and found that the Imagine Cup is serving as a stepping stone to bringing their ideas to life. Team Lumos was among the teams awarded the AFT (App Fast Track) Excellence Award.

    “Imagine Cup is a platform like no other. You would not be able to find another event that enables students from all over the world to gather and talk about their dreams and aspirations. It was our first time being involved in such a huge project, and we were able to learn from our shared experiences and work together to overcome the obstacles we faced,” Nak-Kwon added.

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