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This CEIBS MBA Landed An Internship At Microsoft – He’s Working With Big Data And The IoT

Former lawyer, Niklaus Mueller, reveals how you can do the same

Thu Jul 21 2016

Microsoft is one of the biggest MBA employers around, and one of the most popular.

Niklaus Mueller was midway through his MBA at China Europe International Business School (CEIBS) when Microsoft approached him, inviting him to its MBA summer program in Germany.

He’s now working with Big Data and The Internet of Things (IoT), evaluating the way such advances in tech can be used to drive the digitization process at airports across Germany.

It’s an opportunity emblematic of CEIBS’ global reach. On top of his internship, Niklaus has already experienced a career trek to San Francisco’s Silicon Valley and will begin an MBA exchange at London Business School later this year.

Niklaus previously worked as a lawyer at Credit Suisse, and at international law firms in Zurich, Paris and Shanghai. Captivated by the fast pace of life in China, he was determined to return there for his MBA.

How did you secure an internship with Microsoft?

Microsoft Germany reached out to me online and encouraged me to apply for their MBA summer program.

I entered a several-week long recruitment process, consisting of multiple rounds of interviews and a day in the assessment center. This involved taking part in a Hackathon and creating my own visionary strategy for Microsoft which I had to present to the management.

What advice do you have for others looking to do the same?

Microsoft seems to be open to all kinds of backgrounds; so don’t worry if you don’t have that much specific IT knowledge.

However, I strongly advise that you’re up to speed what’s going on in the tech world and anticipate the challenges and opportunities of Microsoft both on global, and country level to where you’re applying.

Tell me something about working for Microsoft that most people wouldn’t know.

At Microsoft, you’re empowered, and put in the driving seat from day one.

On my first day I was set up with a laptop and a mobile phone, and put in charge of a strategic business development project, driving digitization at airports across Germany

They have given me great flexibility and control in how to proceed and coordinate the project. And my manager has put me in touch with various technical, sales and business colleagues within Microsoft who have been supporting me along the way.

Why did you decide to pursue an MBA?

For my career development, I felt the need to gain a better understanding of the business world beyond a legal perspective.

The decision to enroll on an MBA program came as the logical next step. And after several years of work experience, I felt that the time was right to take a break and dive into student life once more.

Why did you choose to study at CEIBS in particular?

At the time of compiling my application documents I had just moved back from Shanghai to Zurich. I soon started to miss the pace and energy of China, and the dynamic, cultural melting pot of Shanghai.

Applying for CEIBS seemed the right way to continue my China adventure while gaining a deeper understanding of the Chinese economy, language and business culture. And CEIBS’ promise of “China depth, global breadth,” allows me to focus on China, while maintaining a global perspective with overseas electives and international exchanges.

What should applicants think about when deciding to do an MBA?

Plan ahead and be clear what you want to achieve with your studies.

Every b-school has its own strengths and benefits. It’s best to start the process as early as possible, obtain and compare information from the vast selection of MBA websites and reach out to current MBA students to learn about the different programs.

What stands out from your MBA experience so far?

CEIBS gives you the flexibility and the opportunity to make the MBA journey your own. This led me across three continents; from China to the US and eventually to Europe.

It’s definitely broadened my horizons and given me a holistic view and deeper understanding of the business world and today’s economy.

What are your plans for the future?

I’m keeping my eyes open for any interesting opportunities in tech, venture development and investment. I’m also closely following the ongoing buying spree of Chinese companies overseas, which is unlocking new career opportunities in various ways.

What matters to me, isn't working in specific industry or country, but finding a challenging position where I can leverage both my legal and business background in an exciting, innovative and fast-paced setting.