Imagine this: 75 computer engineering students from universities around the US, a chance to build killer apps and a visit to The Garage at Microsoft. That’s some weekend.
That’s Experience Microsoft.
Technology companies vie for the opportunity to recruit talented technology students, sometimes starting as early as high school. To give college students a chance to experience what working for Microsoft is like, the company invited students to its main campus for a weekend.
During Experience Microsoft 2012, April 5-6, students worked on actual projects – they created 48 apps during the event’s hack-a-thon. They even practiced interviewing for a job at Microsoft.
Participants were selected based on recommendations from Microsoft campus representatives and university professors. It wasn’t an easy crowd to impress. Comments indicated the depth of the students’ skills and interests. Before the event, many students expressed an interest in not only how the technology works, but also which ideas make it to market.
“I’m looking forward to the chance to ask engineers about interesting or unique product ideas they’ve worked on which, for whatever reason, never really became mainstream. I think it tells you more about a company to learn what it’s willing to try than to only know about the attempts that succeeded,” said one student.
After learning from speakers at the event, participants said they felt better about how to prepare for their futures. Several people were also surprised by the freedom Microsoft employees have to test their ideas.
“It was a really amazing experience. I got to see so much technology and so much behind Microsoft that you never really get to know. When you see Microsoft in the news, you don’t see the people behind it, see how much innovation and freedom they give all of their employees, and really how awesome it is to work here,” said another.
Women made up almost 50% of the Experience Microsoft 2012 class, reflecting the company’s commitment to encourage young women’s interest in technology careers.
The networking and excitement continues as Experience Microsoft students returned to school; many are actively in touch with each other and the recruiters following the event. With their permission, Microsoft will stay in contact with the students as they complete their educations.