When most of us consider a career, we don’t necessarily look further than our very own city—let alone country. But this was not the case for Mikhail Filatov, one of Microsoft’s Moscow-based senior engineers. In his own words, Mikhail tells us about his journey with Microsoft.
I joined Microsoft in 2005 and worked as a Developer Lead in Moscow for four and a half years. I was able to be a part of some really exciting projects, including the release of Microsoft Dynamics AX4.0 in 2006. This has been one of my most memorable and complex assignments to date.
In 2010, I found myself itching to try something different. After some deliberation and discussions with my manager and the team in Dubai, I decided to pursue a role in Dubai as an architect. I consulted on the implementation of products for the Dynamics AX business in the Middle East and Africa (MEA). This was a phenomenal time, as my work enabled me to travel to locations such as South Africa, Libya, Nigeria, Kenya, Indonesia and Turkey.
Dubai is the central hub for the whole MEA region and therefore offers people the opportunity to work with lots of different cultures in a largely expat community. Across Africa you are able to experience what it is like to work in an emerging market. You learn business skills including how to leverage existing relationships and how to influence people to get engaged with Microsoft products.
For those considering a career in a foreign country, here are my top tips:
- Be open-minded. This will open a world of opportunity. Go beyond your imagination.
- Research the location. Take into account geography and culture before making a decision.
- Don’t be scared. You can always move back to your home country.
After two and half years in Dubai, I decided to move back to Moscow. Although my MEA experience was invaluable, Russia will always be my home. Also, from an engineering perspective, there are so many innovative things happening in Moscow and other European development centers. Living in Moscow offers employees a chance to be close to customer partners, feel their pain, get quick feedback and react quickly. (Read more about the startup culture at Microsoft.)
When you think of relocating, you imagine the whole process to be quite difficult, but for me it was fairly seamless. Microsoft assisted me every step of the way, including helping me decide which area to live in, setting me up in an apartment, and arranging for me to get my driver’s license. I was amazed at how quick and easy it was to organize.
The beauty of working for Microsoft is not only that you can explore opportunities in any location and with various technologies, but that curiosity is encouraged.
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Has Mikhail’s story has ignited your interest in a career abroad? If so, we invite you to explore the engineering jobs listed in Microsoft’s European development centers. You may be dusting off your passport faster than you ever imagined!