Microsoft’s planned recruitment drive shows a marked increase from MBA grads hired between 2016-to-2017, and maintains the same hiring levels seen this fiscal year.
Ioana Tanase, global MBA recruiter at Microsoft, recruits on-campus from top-ranked business schools like INSEAD, London Business School, Imperial, Alliance Manchester, Oxford Saïd, HEC Paris, IE Business School, ESADE Business School, and ESMT Berlin.
The Microsoft Academy of College Hires (MACH) Program—a two-year leadership development program for MBA hires—is high on the list for MBA students looking to launch into a career in tech.
For Microsoft, Ioana explains, it’s the people that are important. She views candidates from online MBA and full-time MBA programs in the same way.
What does Microsoft value from its MBA hires? “We want to develop MBA students to become the future business leaders of Microsoft,” Ioana explains. “Our hiring is based on potential and transferable skills—you don’t have to be an IT industry expert.
“We’re looking for people who are innovators; forward-thinkers who challenge the status quo. Even with our straightforward interview process, it’s important to do your research and be prepared. Think about how your skills and experience can create value.”
While deep technical knowledge is not a must for most MBA-level positions, an awareness of what’s happening in the market—about artificial intelligence and digital transformation—certainly is.
“And I think most business schools recognize that,” Ioana continues. “It’s important to adapt the MBA curriculum to where the market is going. That’s reflected in the delivery too. If you look at learning in general, MOOCs are becoming more important and more MBA programs are starting to include online components.”
IE Business School has run its own MOOCs since 2014. A BusinessBecause article last year noted a correlation between people who took MOOCs offered by IE who then went on to take paid-for programs at the school.
Italian school MIP Politecnico di Milano developed its tech-focused full-time MBA program in partnership with firms like Microsoft—one of the biggest hirers of MIP MBAs. The online learning environment for MIP’s International Flex EMBA—a 90%-online Executive MBA program—was built using Microsoft technology.
At the same time, 100%-online MBA programs—like Birmingham Business School’s AMBA-accredited Online MBA and Nottingham Trent University’s Online MBA, which is offered with a specialization in data analytics—are only gaining popularity.
Ioana values MBA hires because they bring a different perspective—“a challenger perspective,” she says. “MBA students want to achieve and have an impact, and their business acumen sets them up for success.”
While Microsoft hiring is based on best candidate first, like most leading tech firms Microsoft is taking steps to boost numbers of women in tech. Based on Microsoft’s latest public figures, 26% of Microsoft employees globally are women (20% in leadership positions), although in non-tech roles representation of women reaches over 38%.
One of Microsoft’s 38%, Ioana joined the company shortly after enrolling in a part-time master’s in business administration at the Bucharest University of Economic Studies in 2010. Working her way up from a staffing associate to a global MBA recruiter, she conducts hundreds of interviews each year.
What’s the question Ioana gets asked most from job candidates? “It’s what do I enjoy about working at Microsoft the most,” she says. “For me, again, it’s about the people. I’m fortunate to work with remarkable individuals who are using technology to make a difference in society.
“Hiring for Microsoft is hiring for a career, not a job,” she continues. “I’ve been at Microsoft for seven years, and it seems like a heartbeat.”
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