Between 2017 and 2019, Microsoft was the largest software and programming company in the world. From computers to games consoles, search engines to client software and much more, it’s fair to say that they are one of the most successful, powerful and influential corporations for other businesses to aspire to.
One example of how they are leading the way is by their interactions with students. In a recent interview, Microsoft’s director of technology and civic innovation Adam Hecktman talked about one of the student freelancers that had worked on his team who later became a full-time Microsoft employee:
"While we were focused on just getting some help on a project, we quickly realized that the student was incredible [...]. We saw her work ethic and skills, and got an inside track on hiring her."
Microsoft also hires students regularly as part of their university internship programme, which frequently results in additions to their talent pipeline.
It's clear how much Microsoft values students as part of both their current and future workforce - and it makes good business sense for other firms to follow their example, whether they are large international companies or small to medium sized enterprises.
In fact, due to the introduction of online internships, the possibilities and benefits for SMEs that come with hiring student interns are more accessible than ever before. Let’s take a closer look at why your business should follow in Microsoft’s footsteps and hire students for online internships…
Benefit from transformative bright ideas
Microsoft is a highly innovative company - but even for a business of their size, when it comes to new ideas, a fresh perspective is invaluable. Current or recently-graduated students have often been exposed to some of the most modern trends and latest research, meaning that they have a lot of fresh new ideas to offer.
Microsoft is harnessing the skills and talents of these bright young individuals with student internships in order to find fresh new talent and further business success. Adam Hecktman spoke of another intern who caught his eye thanks to his intelligence, compassion, and innovation:
“Before [the intern] even graduated, I said ‘I need to have him.’”
And he was onto something - in fact, 18 years on, this intern is still working for Microsoft as a principal cloud architect!
In recent years, Microsoft have also transferred to online internships, which means they can attract a greater pool of talent from more remote locations and extend their talent pipeline. And when it comes to online internships, accessing these skilled and creative students is easy - even for companies that aren’t as big as Microsoft.
Instead of only having access to local students, online internships give all businesses the ability to share their internship projects with talented students across the country. You can learn more about how we do this at ProjectSet here.
Work with budding entrepreneurs
Microsoft saw that internships with motivated and driven students who are prepared to work hard can help to drive business success. In fact, a number of today’s students are budding entrepreneurs who want to develop certain skills and don’t shy away from responsibility.
According to current research, students today are more entrepreneurial than their predecessors, with 64% saying that they would like to start their own business in the future. Many of these students are also opting for internships to develop their skills, and then using that experience to form their own company later down the line.
What this shows is that today’s students are proactive and hard-working. This means that if they have the opportunity to complete a student internship, students today will be hungry for success, focused and driven - and they will produce a high standard of work as a result.
Through online internships via platforms such as ProjectSet, your business will have access to the most talented, entrepreneurial students across the country, helping them to hone their skills whilst benefiting from high-quality work. What’s more, if a position becomes available following their graduation, you will be able to progress them through your talent pipeline - which leads us onto our next point...
Assess your employees of the future
At Microsoft, interns are allowed to work on real projects that matter, with teams relying on the interns’ skills and insights to deliver projects to market and shape the business of the future. This was very much reflected in Adam Hecktman’s case, where the student freelancer ended up becoming a full-time member of his team.
Microsoft also uses internships to develop their talent pipeline by gaining an accurate assessment of the students’ capabilities. As Hecktman says, “given Microsoft's focus on workforce development, we recognize the importance and value of looking beyond degree and GPA to find candidates with the right skills and ability to learn - [internships] help us do that."
Essentially, by harnessing the bright ideas of students through their student internships and other placements, Microsoft is building their talent pipeline well into the future. And this is something that is equally possible for other businesses, big or small!
Build your reputation for continued success
And the benefits don’t end there; as a result of their work with students, Microsoft has built a strong reputation as an employer, coming second from the top in Forbes’ Global 2000: The World’s Best Employers in 2019 list and seventh in glassdoor’s Best Places To Work 2020 - Employees’ Choice awards.
As a business, demonstrating your commitment to building talent for the future is a vital component of outrunning your competition and finding success, so this is yet another reason why it’s important for businesses to follow Microsoft’s lead and invest in the bright ideas that students today can offer.
Microsoft gets their bright ideas from students not only because they have had such a transformative impact upon the business, but also because they give it their all, and for the long haul. And there’s no reason that all businesses shouldn’t be following their lead - especially when these interns are easily accessible and employable through online internships!
If you’d like more information on how ProjectSet can help you to achieve this with our online internship platform, get in touch with a member of our team today.