Last week (07.05) I had the opportunity of giving my first presentation as a Microsoft Technical Evangelist during the Lehrlingstag in Walliselen. As I joined the company in the beginning of May, some might say that it might have been early, and I guess it was, but, in the end, I really enjoyed this experience and I am going to explain you why in the next few lines.
All started a few weeks ago, while I was in military, as I received a mail asking me to present Project Spark to some students. Of course, I had no idea what was Project Spark, Who were those students and what was exactly the format of this presentation… Therefore I immediately accepted. I soon discovered that Project Spark was a videogame made to build games, which was really a good news because I like games! The bad news was that the open beta had just started and there was only little information on the internet. I planned to give a general overview of Project Spark, followed by a live demonstration and finally a hands-on-lab to allow the students to play a bit with the game. I realized soon that I would need plenty of time to prepare this as much as I wanted… Thanks god that I was in the army!
By the time as started at Microsoft I had the overview presentation ready but I still had absolutely no idea on the demo and the lab parts? I met Vera and Anna who explained me more on what was expected. And, this day I learned that “Lehrlings” actually mean apprentice and therefore logically the audience would consist of apprentices. I could then finish the demo part and we discussed some guidelines for the lab part with my colleague Raphael.
The day of the event, I felt really cool, and then, I followed presentations from the other speakers and they were all great! I must say that raised the pressure a lot and I was not-so-cool when my time to speak came. Fortunately I had the chance of having a public where the listeners were all gamers and in the result were naturally really interested. The presentation went far better than I expected and the students participated actively in the lab. It was really great to see so much creativity and different ideas that might seem completely crazy! For example I was really impressed by a game where a burning man was making ski on huge snow slope and had to avoid enemies. Finally, we selected some of the persons that developed the most interesting games. We asked them to present their games in front of the other students and explain the challenges they faced and the solutions they implemented to solve them. They were of course rewarded with a prize for their effort.
I was really happy with this experience, I had fun while presenting and animating this lab and I think the participant liked it as well. I could already note a few things that I could improve for the next time. But, in end, this was definitively a great way to start a new job!
Joining a company with more than 100,000 employees is a lot more complex than it sounds, and the existence of a strong on-boarding process is key to let the new hires perform as fast as possible. My experience as MACH hire has been really positive, and I would like to share with you my first month at Microsoft.
The on-boarding starts with the New Employee Orientation (NEO) at the first day at Microsoft, in which you meet with the cool HR guys and all the employees also starting with you. I was surprised to be in a room full with new employees and see how the company is growing! During NEO we received details about things to be done from the HR and IT perspective, and we got a new Windows phone and laptop to start with our activities. By the end of the day I would have met part of the team I will be working with, and start finding my way around the office.
The next day (and during the first 2 weeks) I realized that I was totally lost, with all the meeting rooms and floors looking almost the same thanks to the glass walls of the Swiss office. Fortunately, there is a website for everything at Microsoft! You can even have access to browse maps of the different Microsoft locations and find your way easier. The first week was all about getting understanding of how to find information on the organization, exploring the different resources to obtain it and starting to define your goals and activities. Most of this is guided through the ”Welcome Experience”, a set of courses organized to drive you through your first weeks at Microsoft, explaining you about how things work on the whole organization.
As part of Microsoft Consulting Services (MCS), the development of professional and technical skills is crucial for performing the best possible in front of the customers, and trainings play an important role the first days. The second week I was already booking my flight to attend TechReady, a technical readiness conference in Seattle where the teams working outside Redmond (The ‘field’ teams) meet with the product teams. Additionally, I started registering for several online trainings and other sessions that would help me to be prepared for the conference.
Another ingredient needed to be successful inside MCS is to have a great network. This is why during my second and third week at Microsoft I started introducing myself to the other consultants, architects and engagement managers on the team, as well as visiting the “French speaking” office in Geneva.
The fourth week was all about TechReady in Seattle. Every day was filled with super interesting sessions to learn about the new features coming for the next Microsoft product releases, coming directly from the product teams who are managing the whole development. This was a great experience as I was able to do lots of things on a week. I not only met the Microsoft experts and learn about the products, but also was able to pass my first certification, had the opportunity of meeting colleagues from many other subsidiaries and I was able to meet some MACHs from places like Spain, France, Austria, Brazil, US, Netherlands and Belgium! (Another post will follow describing the adventures of the Swiss MACHs at TechReady).
And this is how fast time flies at Microsoft. Right now I’m on my sixth week and I would say that I’m still on-boarding. Learning each day more about the organization, developing my network and professional skills as well as getting more responsibilities every day.
An in case you are not interested in my on-borading experience :) You can check out some pics of the Swiss Office!
In my first post I want to share with you my experience during the hiring process for a MACH position at Microsoft Switzerland.
After studying and working in Asia for the past two year, I decided to return to Europe and work in sales for a global corporation in the tech/software industry. One of the companies on my list was Microsoft, since I liked the MACH program and the challenging transition the company is going through.
With a little research I found an excellent position in the Swiss subsidiary as a Partner Sales Executive for Value Added Reseller (VARs). I applied through the company website and was contacted shortly thereafter by the HR to schedule a phone (Lync) interview.
The interview lasted for one hour, conducted with an HR consultant and my future division manager. The conversation included straight forward behavioral questions, questions regarding Microsoft`s cloud offerings and how I would sell Office 365 to reluctant prospects. I deliberately say “conversation” as much time was left to my answer any of my questions.
Shortly after my interview I got invited to a second round interview at the office in Wallisellen. Here I was interviewed by the HR manager, the VAR team lead and another division manager who focused on behavioral patterns, case questions and personality.
All in all the entire process took 1 month from handing in my application to receiving my offer. From what I have experienced with other companies, this was by far the quickest process and the HR was super responsive to any inquiries.
In the end there was one factor that made Microsoft standout in particular to me. During my interviews I could sense that the company has a strong sense of collaboration, a culture based on team spirit and trust. Oh and did I mention the office … its awesome!
To round this post off, I would like to give some personal advice to any applicant: First, read and know as much as you can about the products you will be working with. Second, think about yourself and how you could make a valuable contribution to the specific team. Last and most important, ask ask and ask again. Preparing good questions is key to being able to challenge your interviewer and turn it into a high quality conversation.
In my next post I will be sharing some of my experiences I made during my first weeks as Partner Sales Executive (PSE). Feel free to reach out to me via LinkedIn or Xing should you have any questions regarding the process or my role! I am happy to give advice!
Picture of the Swiss art in the Microsoft Office
Entrance to the Microsoft office
The Microsoft Practice Day is one of the most established IT happenings for Public Sector in Switzerland. This year, the event took place at the "Stade de Suisse" at Berne, which is Switzerland's second largest soccer stadium. More than 200 customers from Federal Government, cantons and municipalities, as well as educational establishments and state-owned enterprises took the opportunity to meet Microsoft and its Partners. The core topics included - among others - flexible workplace, social networking, and the use of tablets and smartphones at work. But as you may already have guessed by the event's name, the information provided did not remain at the theory. Instead, some customers and partners jointly presented their latest solutions implemented and how these facilitate their daily business.
During the breaks the attendees could refresh themselves with food and drink. Furthermore, they had the chance to stroll along the various stands of our Partners and Microsoft itself to learn more on specific topics of interest or simply ask questions. At the stand of Microsoft, together with a colleague, I introduced the visitors to our CityNext initiative and gave them an impression on the vast opportunities new technology offers their business. Probably due to the informal setting, we had many interesting discussions which last but not least provided me much deeper insight into our customer’s business and their current needs.
By the end of the day, our guests left inspired and full of new and creative ideas :)
Location: Stade de Suisse @ Berne
The Microsoft stand...
... with the CityNext corner
The break area
We, the Swiss MACHs had a chance to meet other MACHs from all around the world! The whole event was just mind blowing! We got a lot of trainings around various topics. But the even better part was to meet and connect with people and making new friends!
Here some impressive numbers:~30 countries~180 MACHs~3 days
And because pictures shows more than a thousand words here some impressions!
It’s not long a time ago the new year started and the MACH Community already started growing again! Please welcome Quintus Dienst and Sergio Almaguer.
I am sure they will soon provide you with some more background about them and their start at Microsoft Switzerland.
Das MACH Programm hat auch andere tolle Vorteile! Dieses Mal konnte ich Freunde in Wien besuchen. Wir hatten einen tollen Silvesterabend! Am 2. Jänner (Januar) habe ich noch einen Office Tag in Wien angehängt, um das Office zu besichtigen und andere MACHs kennen zu lernen. Und ganz ehrlich ich bin schon etwas neidisch auf deren schönes Office!
Als nächstes kommt bei mir das Skill-Up Training in Dublin. Danach wird es einen ausführlichen Bericht dazu geben.
The "Industry Solutions University For You" (ISU4U) is an industry readiness program that provides targeted industry training for Microsoft's sales people. I started the MACH program around a year ago working as an Inside Sales for Government customers. Therefore, I was given the opportunity to attend the 2-day ISU4U conference for Public Sector in November.
The event was held in Amsterdam and I participated together with a colleague from my team. As the program of the first day did not start before 9.30am, we decided to catch an early flight and thus arrived at Amsterdam around 9.00am. Both, our hotel and the event location were situated only a stone's throw away from the airport. Unlike me, my team colleague knew the airport and its surroundings like the back of her hand. For this reason we had more than enough time to deposit our luggage at the hotel and get a first glimpse of our hotel rooms before registering ourselves at the event location. There was even enough time to grab a coffee before the first session started ;)
Although it was not my first international training event with Microsoft, I was once more overwhelmed by the size of our company. There were about 200 sales people from various Western Europe subsidiaries as well as partner organizations! During the first day we learnt a lot about Microsoft’s strategic initiatives concerning Public Sector and how our solutions add value to our customers. At the same time, there were numerous opportunities to become acquainted with the other participants and exchange experiences from our daily work. In the evening, I joined a group of people for dinner at the city. In fact, the group became so large that somebody hired a bus to get us there :)
The second day was dedicated to theme-specific workshops every participant could choose according to his needs. As Public Sector customers are very heterogeneous, different streams covering Government, Public Safety & National Security, Health, and Education were offered. It was fascinating to hear so much about the latest activities and projects that were taking place all over Western Europe. Therefore, by the time I boarded the plane back home I had not only become friends with a lot of like-minded people, but also gathered many new ideas to share with my team!
Hallo liebe Leser!
So nun da endlich unser Blog steht möchte ich hier gleich einen Beitrag zu meinem ersten internationalen MACH treffen schreiben, welches diesen Oktober in Amsterdam stattfand.
Meine Freunde dachten ich mache gerade bezahlten Urlaub in Amsterdam, doch hier möchte ich euch mal erläutern was in Wirklichkeit in diesen 4 intensiven Wochen geschehen ist.
Die Erwartungen an uns wurden direkt zu Beginn hoch angesetzt. In 4 Wochen 5 Zertifikate zu erreichen war die Devise. Natürlich wäre es viel zu einfach gewesen uns einfach nur diesen fünf Zertifikaten zu widmen. So erhielten wir zusätzliche Trainings zu Themen wie Microsoft Solutions, hier ging es darum einen Überblick über alle oder zumindest alle mir bekannten und unbekannten Produkten und deren Zusammenspiel, zu erhalten.
Andererseits durften wir einen Personal Development Scan und ein Training zu Personal Branding wie auch Leadership absolvieren. Ja richtig gehört Personal Branding, eigentlich hatte das Training einen anderen Titel doch dieser hätte viel besser gepasst. In einer Aufgabe die mir speziell in Erinnerung geblieben ist ging es darum sich innerhalb einer einzigen Liftfahrt vom Erdgeschoss ins oberste Geschoss des Donald Trump Towers sich niemandem geringerem als Donald Trump persönlich so zu verkaufen, das dieser einen zurückrufen würde.
Nach der ersten intensiven Woche ging es dann an unsere Zertifikate. Eigentlich hiess es nun 4 Zertifikate in 3 Wochen.. Ja genau während diesen interessanten Trainings der ersten Woche haben wir uns noch 2 Tage unserem Prince 2 Zertifikat gewidmet, welches übrigens alle bestanden haben.
Somit gab es in den kommenden 3 Wochen viele geführte Lektionen und viel Selbststudium. Am Ende dieser Wochen hatten wir alle nicht nur unsere 5 Zertifikate erreicht, sondern bei weitem die Erwartungen übertroffen. Und ich bin auf gutem Weg meinen MCSA abzuschliessen.Well Done MACHs! :-)
Zu guter Schluss haben wir natürlich auch gefeiert! :-) °Auch dafür sind wir bekannt :-)° Als nächstes steht Dublin auf unserer Agenda und ich kann es kaum erwarten meine neuen Freunde, nein nicht Arbeitskollegen, sondern Freunde wieder zu treffen!
Hier noch einige Fotos
Ich vor dem Microsoft Amsterdam Office
Unser Training Center
Natürlich durften wir jeden Mittag die Holländische Spezialität (Sandwiches) geniessen.
Eines unserer vielen genialen Nachtessen
BoomChicago mit Miguel (Isreal) on stage! :-)
Eines der besten Restaurants in Amsterdam (Trouw)
Champions League durfte natürlich nicht verpassten werden. (AC Milan - Ajax Amsterdam)
Goodbye and see you soon!
Hello World, wie könnte man einen ersten Blog Eintrag besser beginnen. Wir möchten mit diesem Blog unsere persönlichen Erfahrungen, unsere Erlebnisse und einfach unsere Gedanken zum Thema Microsoft Academy For College Hires (MACH) in der Schweiz teilen.