It was with this mind-set that Jackie strode through the front doors of the National Black MBA Association Conference in Orlando, Florida, in September 2015.
Jackie, who previously worked in finance role for big-name firms like Amazon and Starbucks in Seattle, came into the full-time Global MBA program at Temple University’s Fox School of Business with one goal in mind; to switch career paths into HR.
She entered the conference hall, determined to land an internship. And she got it; a summer placement on Microsoft’s HR Development Program. At the end of the internship, she was offered a full-time job. Now, Jackie is an HR manager for Microsoft’s Windows and Devices group based in Seattle, helping senior leadership out with everything from strategy planning to talent talks.
Originally from Uganda, Jackie moved to US in 1990 and was drawn by the global opportunities on offer at Fox. She travelled to India in her first year and Latin America in her second.
Fox placed 100% of actively seeking MBA graduates into jobs in 2016; 97% in 2017. The Fox Global MBA’s high proportion of female MBA students, plus help from the school’s inspirational director of graduate professional development, Janis Moore Campbell, inspired Jackie to take the next steps in her career as a leading woman in tech.
How did the job at Microsoft come about?
I connected with Microsoft recruiters at the National Black MBA Association Conference in my first year looking for internship for the summer. It was actually the first year that Microsoft had HR for HR present.
Hands down, the work that Janis did with us in preparation for those conferences was what encouraged me to apply. Especially as a career switcher, there’s so much that you need to consider in terms of being able to tell your story and connecting the MBA curriculum to real-world application. I had to take that step to switch career; the MBA made it happen.
What advice do you have for MBAs applying for jobs at Microsoft?
Ensure the job is in alignment with who you are. If you’re someone who goes after the brand name in itself, you probably won’t be successful. It’s about truly understanding the company mission; what Microsoft is trying to do; what the future holds; and what challenges Microsoft is trying to overcome.
Helping each and every single person achieve more is the mission; how we do that speaks to every single function.
Can you tell us something about working at Microsoft that most people wouldn’t know?
Opportunities abound! Working at Microsoft is seriously like working within 12-to-15 different companies. Each organization, from Windows and Devices to Cloud and Enterprise, poses completely different business challenges.
While we’re all marching to the same beat in terms of our overall mission, there’s very different experiences to be gained. There’s so many opportunities to collaborate across the company in ways that you wouldn’t ever imagine.
For those that come in and like to stretch themselves, that growth mindset is real and alive. We have individuals who start in finance and leap from finance to HR; HR to marketing. You can have several different careers within one company.
Why did you decide to pursue an MBA at Fox?
I wanted to leverage my MBA to make a career change. As I moved forward in my career, I was looking to have more of a strategic framework and business acumen in my toolkit.
I chose Fox specifically because of the Global MBA program. I’m East African—I always find myself working on projects with reach beyond the US—and I wanted to better understand emerging markets. For me, it was between staying local at the University of Washington and Fox. That global component of the Fox MBA made me switch my application from part-time to full-time.
What stands out from your MBA experience at Fox?
Two people: Janis and the late Dr. MB Sarkar. The Fox Global MBA program exists because he had a vision and made it happen. To have travelled with him through India, completely shifted my mindset and perspective. You recognized at that moment that you have a certain responsibility as a business leader. So many of his lessons still stay with me today.