FLTW Recap: What I Learned From Visiting Microsoft
Microsoft FLTW Experience Recap:
I was selected as 1 of 25 to visit Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, Washington for the 2018 Finance Leaders in Technology Workshop (FLTW), from May 30-June 1st. The program was combined with the Marketing Leaders in Technology Workshop (MLTW). I knew Microsoft was a leading company in tech and did great things, but it wasn’t until I actually came to FLTW did I witness how much impact they're making! As an accounting major I often hear mostly about BIG 4 opportunities. Therefore, I began searching/applying to participate in career prep programs where a variety of companies that were outside of my immediate exposure, like Microsoft, were present. I am so grateful to Microsoft and the recruiting team for putting together one of the best corporate workshops I have ever been to! Thank you Microsoft for investing in me!
The power of connectivity: Technology truly does empower people to make an impact on others through its various platforms. Technology touches the lives of everyone in one form or the other. Then talk about NETWORKING. I created a GroupMe for all of us workshop participants this past week to stay connected even after this program. Online groups and communities are so powerful. I can grow, or better yet, help others grow and make an impact through the power of connectivity using technology. After all, that's how I am able to share this post with you. ;)
I didn’t even know about FLTW until my school sent out an unexpected announcement a few days before the application deadline. However, I thought it was just for finance majors so I shied away from applying at first. Don't read too much into "program titles"...If it doesn't explicitly exclude your major or group, then don't exclude yourself. GO for it!
Next thing I know, I unexpectedly received an InMail message from a Microsoft recruiter through LinkedIn. She informed me about the program, reassured me the opportunity includes accounting majors, and she encouraged me to apply. Keep your LinkedIn updated because you will be surprised the opportunities that derive from that social platform.
I nervously and excitedly applied and here I am. You never know what can happen. I am sure many of us have heard "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take." So TRY. Especially if it doesn't hurt to try.
I didn’t know what to expect since I haven’t been in the tech space ever. While on the bus Kevin, from Microsoft, talked about how outstanding the culture was and we witnessed exactly what he meant as soon as we walked in the door. In the lobby we ran into Amy Hood (CFO) who casually and humbly introduced herself to us. We were all taken by surprise, but it was evident the short power distance and approachability of people here was the real deal!!! This was huge to me, because in such a large company you don't want to feel like a number. You want to feel valued, which encourages you to ADD value. You also want there to be truth in what a company presents to you about their culture or company initiatives. SO be cognizant of company interactions and how they make you feel prior to interning. You can learn a lot about how a company culture aligns with yours before the first day of work, by participating in company early insight programs, diversity programs, LEADERSHIP programs/workshops/summit...etc. Those are common names of these types of opportunities.
From engaging with senior execs to 1st year FRP (Financial Rotation Program) analysts, it was all so eye opening. FLTW showed me Microsoft embodies one of the most important things to me, which is using my curiosity to learn, grow, and make an impact!
5 KEY Takeaways From FLTW:
Be a life-time learner. "Don't be a know-it-all, be a learn-it-all"
"When you think of benefitting the whole vs. a few... you avoid conflict + make impact."
"React to FACTS, not emotions."Don't react to the first thing you hear.
A good mentor shouldn't make you comfortable, they should help you out of your comfort zone.
"Don't spend all your time trying to be perfect at your entry point, it doesn't have to be your final destination."
Feel free to scroll through the gallery of pictures from the workshop.
Final Piece of Advice: Be open to exploring outside your comfort one. Attending the FLT program in the Seattle area was my first time ever in the West Coast. Don't restrict yourself to only the main companies that recruit at your school!!! If you're interested in somewhere that's not very present in your area, go explore. Join organizations both in/out of your major, meet and talk with professionals that are in spaces you aspire to see yourself in. Apply to career prep/professional development/internship prep programs like: SEO (Sponsors for Educational Opportunity), INROADS, T Howard Foundation, and MLT (Management Leadership for Tomorrow). Such programs partner up with a variety of companies, look into it. It is quite amazing what programs like that do. Don't limit yourself, you never know what is out there until you are curious, open to exploration, and eager to learn!