Grace P.

Program Manager
Happy to mentor
Happy to be contacted

About me

Grace P.
Physics
Astrophysics
Undergraduate
Halifax
2012
United Kingdom

My employment

Program Manager
Microsoft
United Kingdom
Digital and IT services
Large business (250+ employees)
2017

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A day in the life of a Program Manager in the United Kingdom

Be a 'learn it all', not a 'know it all'. Higher education is the beginning of your learning journey, not the end.

Briefly describe the organisation you work for

At Microsoft, our mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. Our mission is grounded in both the world in which we live and the future we strive to create. Today, we live in a mobile-first, cloud-first world, and the transformation we are driving across our businesses is designed to enable Microsoft and our customers to thrive in this world.

We do business in 170 countries and are made up of 144,000 passionate employees dedicated to fulfilling our mission of helping you and your organization achieve more

What do you do?

I am in the Identity Division Customer Experience Team that is part of Microsoft's Cloud and AI Enterprise business that gets to engage directly with our large and complex customers. Our goal is to help our customers succeed in their journey to the cloud, with our hybrid identity products and services. In doing so, we learn from the best - our customers - and use those learnings to make our products and services better and better every day. This is real-time, customer-obsessed engineering.

Reflecting upon your past employment and education, what led you to your current career choice?

After I graduated I worked at the 2012 Olympics & Paralympics as a Team Leader for the company running all of the merchandise stores. After the games closed I went travelling for a year and took on a couple of jobs to tide me over. When I came back to the UK I hadn't really given much thought to my next steps, but knew I needed to get a grad job fast to keep my parents off my back. After registering with a few jobs boards I was approached by an IT consultancy firm called FDM who specialize in graduate placements. I started with some basic Computer Science/Project Management training and was placed at Virgin Money in Newcastle as a Project Support Officer. As I started to become more interested in deploying/upgrading the banks tech (customer and internal) I moved up to Release Management. After a few years I decided I wanted to move back to London so took a job at a small Microsoft Partner as a Consultant to get me started, but I had no plan to become a technical SME! I had always planned on being solution agnostic so that I could easily move roles and companies as my interests changed. When I started as a SharePoint Consultant I had to learn a lot of skills from web development to architecture. The more I learnt the more I was motivated to make a difference to customers by delivering great solutions as part of their digital transformation. I was approached by Microsoft to become an engineer a few years ago and have never looked back, although I have recently moved to a more senior role in a different technology I am still driven by my desire to really make a difference through technology.

Is your current job sector different from what you thought you would enter when you graduated?

Definitely, I never thought I would work in tech as I barely passed my ICT GCSE! I also had a pre-conceived idea that technology was all just bits of tin with flashing lights in a comms cupboard. I can confirm that is part of the job but not the whole picture!

Describe your most memorable day at work

Tough question as there are quite a few, but I will never forget the first time I visited the Microsoft HQ in Seattle for my interview - the campus is bigger than most UK cities.

Are there any challenges associated with your job?

Lots but I love a challenge.

What extracurricular activities did you undertake at university and what transferable skills did you develop through these?

I was entertainment officer at Halifax College and also sat on the entertainment board of YUSU. Organising and managing live events gave me great collaboration, communication and basic management skills that I was able to develop going into graduate life and have empowered me in every role I have done since.

What top tips do you have for York students preparing for today’s job market and life after graduation?

Be a 'learn it all', not a 'know it all'. Higher education is the beginning of your learning journey, not the end.

Next steps...

If you like the look of Grace’s profile, the next steps are down to you! You can send Grace a message to find out more about their career journey. If you feel you would benefit from more in-depth conversations, ask Grace to be your mentor.

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