Securing a placement year with a company like Microsoft is a competitive, but rewarding, process.
When University of Hull Computer Science student Kaan Uyduran applied to spend 12 months with the world-leading tech company, he faced tough opposition from undergraduates across the country.
A three-stage process eventually saw Kaan land the sought-after year with Microsoft, giving him the opportunity to deal with other big names such as Tesco, Rolls-Royce, Panasonic and Virgin Atlantic.
Kaan spoke a bit about his decision to spend a year working in industry:
“I wanted to have exposure to the industry before I graduated,” he said.
“It enabled me to focus my final-year study towards a real-world application. I also hoped that I’d get a job, relieving me from the pressure of looking for one in my final year.”
Pitching to giants like Rolls-Royce, Virgin Atlantic and Panasonic
While working with Microsoft, Kaan took up the role of a technical solutions professional.
It was a position which saw Kaan lead technical presentations, demonstrations and workshops to some of Microsoft’s biggest customers.
Responsible for explaining and demonstrating the capabilities of Microsoft’s products to some of the biggest names in business, Kaan gained first-hand experience of dealing with the likes of Panasonic, Rolls-Royce, Thames Water, Virgin Atlantic, KPMG, Tesco and NEC.
Taking on such pressure and responsibility is not without its challenges, but for Kaan, his hard work paid off.
Kaan has now been accepted by Microsoft for its graduate programme.
He will return to the company as an intern in the same position he was in while on placement, but with greater responsibilities.
Kaan will have his own client accounts to manage, and will be expected to meet personal and team targets at Microsoft.
Five reasons to choose a placement year while at university
When asked about the benefits of spending a year working in industry, Kaan broke it down into five key areas:
- Gaining real knowledge of a commercial environment.
- Seeing how your university knowledge is implemented in the real world.
- Earning money.
- Gaining a year of industry experience before graduating.
- Being able to apply the knowledge to your final year at university.
Kaan said: “When I first started at Microsoft, my biggest challenge was skilling up on all the necessary information needed to perform my job. I had to do hours of training to ensure I was ready to go out to customers.
“During my placement, I was given the Microsoft ‘Role Model’ award. This is a company-wide initiative that recognises employees’ contributions that go above and beyond everyday work.
“One of the most important things I learned was that everyone is constantly learning. The most important thing is not to know the answer to everything, but to know who or where to go to find the answers.”
“You’ll come back knowing where you want to be after you graduate…”
Kaan also provided a brilliant insight into the application process for a placement year with a large firm like Microsoft.
A three-stage process first saw Kaan submit an online application and covering letter to Microsoft, before he was invited to an online video interview for the second phase.
The final step of the process was an assessment day, which saw Kaan present to a panel at the company, participate in a group challenge have a series of one-to-one interviews with prospective managers.
A rigorous process undoubtedly, but not without rewards.
When asked whether he would recommend placement years to fellow students, Kaan said: “Do it.
“It gives you skills that you can only get from an industrial environment. You’ll come back knowing where you want to be after you graduate, and hopefully with a secured job.
“I’m now enrolled in the Microsoft graduate programme.”