about my placement…

Course: International Business and Management – 2021/22 Placement Year
Placement: Microsoft – Modern Work Customer Success Manager, Enterprise Commercial

The process of finding a placement (and some useful tips):

I remember thinking about placements right from first year – crazy right? Thinking two years ahead is quite a leap forward, but ultimately it proved to be extremely useful for me. I am a first-generation student, so being at University and having the privilege of taking on a year in industry really fuelled my ambition. I wasn’t sure from the beginning where I wanted to end up – I started with finance and ended in tech – but first year and part of second year were full of learning for me.

I started thinking about my career path and placement options seriously towards April 2020. The pandemic was at its peak and I was nearing the end of that academic year, but also prep sessions for the recruitment season were opening soon. I thought there would be no harm in getting a head start, especially considering we were in full lockdown and I had to fill my days in somehow.

Before securing my placement with Microsoft, I also had the opportunity to attend Goldman Sachs’ spring week. Several times I have had people asking me how I managed to do this, and every time, I made sure to stress the fact that all I did was prep and research. It may sound cliché, but I promise it is underrated. Below, I would like to share some of the steps I took to prepare ahead of the recruitment season:

  1. As I said before, I started to think about what I wanted to do early on – you don’t have to have a specific answer or role in mind, but it’s good to understand which industry you’d like to break in. When placement-hunting, it’s easier to focus on a couple of industries and tailor your applications well, rather than sending off generic CVs and cover letters to every company.
  2. I took full advantage of the support from the Careers and Placements team. I had my CV checked until it looked and sounded as best as it could, and I got feedback on the different cover letters I had to write.
  3. I attended several online events organised by Aston and organisations such as Bright Network and SEO London. They varied from CV workshops to industry insights, employer presentations and interview upskilling. For anything that I thought would be relevant to my placement search, I registered.
  1. By the time September 2020 rolled around, I knew the recruitment process inside and out. Although companies make small tweaks to tailor it to their specific brand/role, overall the structure tends to be extremely similar, from the first task all the way to the assessment centre.
  1. Research! Getting a solid understanding of the company, the business unit you are applying to, the role and (most importantly) the culture makes the application so much easier. If the research is done properly, you’ll understand from the get-go whether you can see yourself working in that role for the next 12 months, and if the answer is yes, the recruitment process will feel much easier.

My role and responsibilities

As a Customer Success Manager, I work with my team to help our retail, travel and transport customers in their digital transformation journey, by deploying and making the most out of Microsoft technologies – my specific focus is Teams Meetings and Teams Platform.

Only 3.5 months into my internship, it has been a very steep learning curve. I have consistently been pushed out of my comfort zone by having several opportunities and responsibilities thrown at me, but I am lucky to be part of a team who is also there to support me every step of the way.

I have been involved in several customer engagements with the likes of Unilever, M&S and Pets at Home, where I have delivered various presentations. The main one being on the current hot topic in the corporate world – hybrid work and what’s next.

I also have the chance to work on a stretch project focusing on helping K12s develop an interest in tech, as well as getting them involved in the improvement of our communities by being more aware of sustainability (check the Westminster Innovation Challenge!).

Furthermore, I am also involved with our Military group, supporting service leavers in their transition back to civilian life. I am currently the Ally Lead for the Military’s group committee and so far, I have been involved in a charity hike in the Scottish Highlands, and the planning of this year’s Poppy Appeal’s 100th year anniversary.

Microsoft has been truly amazing, and I love the variety of tasks and projects I get the opportunity to work on every day. I could write paragraphs about this, so please do reach out to me if you would like to hear more about my experience so far!

This is the first of more to come, stay tuned 🙂


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