Final year Business School student, Ben Kosky, has been named Intern of the Year by Microsoft UK; in this blog post, he talks about his internship experience, why it helped him plan for life after graduation and why he would encourage new students to consider the the With Industrial Experience scheme.
When deciding on my degree and University the opportunity to take a placement year was essential. The University of Exeter stood out, with an exceptional ‘With Industrial Experience’ (WIE) programme.
I was excited by the opportunity to take a year out of studying to get stuck into the workplace. My ultimate aim being to challenge myself further to learn and develop, whilst also applying the key principles and theories I had studied during my degree.
After a tough interview process, I managed to secure 1 of 125 Internship places at Microsoft UK as a Sales Solution Professional within their Cloud and Mobility divisions of the business, selling to their largest 313 enterprise customers.
To begin with, it was very daunting and I found it completely different to the familiar environment of studying that I was accustomed to. However, by not being afraid to challenge and push myself to learn and develop, whilst also not shying away from sometimes failing, it was truly amazing how much I grasped during my year, in order to grow as an individual and team member, whilst developing into a more rounded business student.
Some of you may be asking yourselves should you do a year in industry? Personally, I cannot recommend it enough! It is a fantastic opportunity to really push yourself, to apply what you have studied and finally to have a lot of fun. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Microsoft, we had an amazing intern community, with a huge array of opportunities and activities to get involved with.
Further, a year in industry really develops your ability to manage your time effectively and improve your work ethic, which will be imperative in having a strong final year. It is known that WIE students secure excellent grades in their final year as they are able to apply the theories they study into practice using their personal experiences, whilst building and utilising the work ethic and time management competencies they developed from the workplace into their studies.
My industrial placement at Microsoft was truly unforgettable and was rounded off with their most prestigious award. Through the contributions I had made to Microsoft’s Sales and to areas outside my actual job specifications, I was named their ‘Intern of the Year’ against 125 other interns across the UK.
Reflecting on WIE
Upon reflection, the award highlights to me that if you’re willing to work hard, apply yourself and if you love what you do, if that is towards your sport, studying or whatever hobby you have, then you have the ability to succeed and excel.
The support I received during my year from my team, manager and WIE programme tutors and directors was incredible and without them, I would not have had such a successful and enjoyable year.
Looking forwards I am excited about coming back to Exeter to finish my final year Business Management with Marketing degree. I truly believe that my ability now to really relate to the theoretical concepts I will study, through drawing on my personal experiences will be imperative to me having a successful final year.
I am also looking at graduate jobs with the aim to start in September 2016. I will definitely be applying back to Microsoft as I cannot recommend the company enough. The time and effort they put into their programmes is truly remarkable and the responsibility and authority you are given, even as an intern, is amazing!
Without these components, I truly don’t believe I would have had such an amazing year and would have learnt and developed as much as I did. However, there are a vast array of companies out there so I would definitely recommend, and have been recommended by others, to apply to other companies.
One final thing I would say is that even if your industrial placement highlights to you an area of a business or industry that you may not want to continue your career in, this is still a key and a vital learning point in your career development and therefore is hugely valuable.
In light of my year I cannot recommend the WIE programme enough and truly recommend everyone to at least consider the opportunity and possibility of taking a placement year. I do hope this brief insight into my experiences has been useful and I would be happy to help with anyone looking for further information or who has any questions I will leave my details below. Thanks and good luck!
Ben Kosky – 4th Year Business Management Student