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Through The Eyes Of An Intern at Microsoft- Lessons Learned in One Month

What is in a name? Why is something so simple and common so special, so significant? Is it the name itself, the meaning of it or simply what the individual has done, bearing that name?

As young professionals, you would agree with me that internships are very important. They become more important when a very successful company is involved. I mean, as a college student, an internship gives you an edge over your colleagues. But an internship at Microsoft? You are living the dream! You are definitely a world class individual at this point. Haha! Imagine having the words M-I-C-R-O-S-O-F-T scribbled on our resume. How would it feel to introduce yourself at an event stating that you have some sort of affiliation with the Almighty Microsoft? So, you would agree with me that names are important. And so is maximising opportunities and potentials.

This is what Abigail Amoaka Okyere did.

Abigail Amoaka Okyere is a graduate of the University of Ghana and is currently pursuing a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree at UBC Sauder School of Business in Canada. Abigail decided to undertake an internship as a Customer Success Account Manager (CSAM) at Microsoft-Canada. She started her internship in May 2021.

Explaining what the CSAM role is about, she stated:

“The customer success account manager (CSAM) role is a strategic one in Microsoft. As a customer-obsessed company, Microsoft prioritises driving consumption, supportability and health through the CSAM and the customer success unit.”

“The more friends asked me what CSAM stood for and what it meant, the more I got curious myself to explore the intricacies of this role (not only to have an answer for them but to also truly understand how I could drive value as a CSAM),” she added.

After a month of interning at the Microsoft office in Canada and learning about the customer success unit (CSU) in general, Abigail shared four things she has learnt so far. We hope that you would also learn some things from her experience.

1. Microsoft Success = Customer Success

“The first key learning for me was getting to understand that Microsoft equates her success to the success of her clients (i.e. we win when the client wins). The CSU Canada Lead, Zia Mansoor, puts this explanation in a simple equation: Microsoft Success = Customer Success.

By focusing on how to support the customer and set them up for success, the CSAM is in that key position to listen to the perspectives of the customer and be more empathetic towards the customer’s business needs. In the wake of a pandemic when businesses are in search of a trusted partner to help them navigate their strategic course in a digitized world, having such support in the form of a CSAM definitely cannot be overemphasized. (And permit me to say that I think no company can succeed without the internal heroes wearing the customer success cape).”

2. Importance of teamwork

“The second lesson for me has been the emphasis on teamwork. The CSAM role does not exist in a vacuum. Within the CSU, you are likely to find teams rallied in cohesion to generate lifetime value for the customer as opposed to seeing individuals working in silos. The unison right from onboarding through to adoption and subsequently to the expansion of the customer experience does not go unnoticed. It is never “my customer” but “our customer”; and you often hear the word ‘orchestrater’ used synonymously when the role of a CSAM is being explained in their work with their teams. And the word’s dictionary meaning, “to arrange or direct the elements of a situation to produce the desired effect, especially surreptitiously” does perfect justice to the description of a CSAM.”

“My artistic mind quickly translates this meaning to the weaving of yarn or arranging music for an orchestra. In both analogies, the intricate arrangement births a beautiful outcome and this is simply how the CSAM and her team members within the customer success unit are knitted together in the delivery of their activities to ensure success.”

3. Every day is different

“What is unique about the CSAM role is the creativity and diverse approach used by each account manager. Every CSAM has their own approach and even more interesting, vary it to suit each customer.”

“And so what my conclusion was in this regard was the fact that, there is no one ‘day in the life’ for a CSAM. Every day is different, which makes the role very exciting for anyone who seeks constant change and variety in a career path. Different ideas, different solutions, different industries to work with!!”

4. Prioritising Partnerships

“Finally, the role prioritises partnerships. Customer engagements are seen as partnerships and so whether it is improving performance or achieving business capabilities, it is done WITH the customer and not merely for the customer. What I find intriguing is how CSAMs work with the customer to remove blockers throughout their journey and stop at nothing to ensure the goals of the customer are met.”


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