Akosua Boadi-Agyemang has been working with Microsoft for three years now, and is currently a Global Experiential Marketing Lead at the multinational tech company.
Born and raised in Botswana to Ghanaian parents, Akosua regards herself as a global citizen who is committed to impacting and changing lives through her initiatives – “The BOLD Journey” and “Re-Envision Africa”.
She moved to the US in 2015 to pursue a bachelor’s degree at Miami University, graduating in 2019. She was also named a Forbes 30 Under 30 Scholar in 2019.
Akosua was recently interviewed by Alexandra Kephart from the Ascend team (Ascend Video Quick Tips), and published in Havard Business Review, about her career path to Microsoft. She also shared tips and advice for those who are new and just entering the workforce.
Akosua on her path to Microsoft:
My path was not linear. I do not know if anyone has a linear path, but mine was not. I was an international student in the United States. I went to university at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Being an international student was a very challenging feat, but also quite rewarding. It was challenging in the sense that, when looking for employment, I received a lot of rejection, a lot of nos, specifically because companies couldn’t sponsor. If you’re an international student, you probably relate to this.
I interviewed in February 2018, and then went through the whole process and received an internship offer. I did my internship in summer 2018 and received a full-time offer. The process to getting there was super challenging. Like I mentioned earlier, there was a lot of rejection.
I had to do certain things differently. I took a path of sharing my journey and sharing my story of rejection on LinkedIn. At the time, in 2017, a lot of people were not doing that. It went viral and got a lot of attention, but I did not immediately get a job from that. Three months went past, and I got an interview opportunity.
It’s not always going to be linear. Even after that, I’ve still had a lot of challenges in terms of immigration stuff, but I am here, and I am enjoying the work and the company.
Akosua on young people following a similar path:
I would not say that anyone should mimic the path that I took. The palms of our hands are all unique to us, and so just like our palms are unique, your own journey will also be unique to you. I would encourage anyone to think about what you really want to do and then pursue that. Your first few positions, whether you choose to go into corporate or a specific industry, it may be different. However, you will find something that is best suited for you. For me, like I said, I faced a lot of challenges.
Rejection is not unique to one person. I would say that the uniqueness lies in what you do when you are rejected, when you are facing those challenges, whether it is in your job search, or even in the thick of your career. I would definitely say find what works for you. That is what I did. I found sharing my story and my journey online really helped unlock some opportunities, and then I did the work to make those opportunities stick. I would encourage anyone to find what works for them. What helped me, as well, was also my faith, and that kept me going. I encourage everybody to find what works for you and what keeps you going.
Akosua’s advice to young people who want to work at companies like Microsoft:
For me, I never knew that I would work in a company like Microsoft, or even Microsoft at all. I grew up in Francistown, Botswana, in the southern African region. My first introduction into tech was playing Reader Rabbit on a Windows computer (Reader Rabbit is a math game). In doing that, I knew Microsoft from using a Windows computer at home, and even when I would go to school. I never thought I would work at that company.
To anybody who is trying to figure out their career, I would encourage you, you never know where your path will lead you. For me, I studied accounting at Miami University, and I always thought that I would work at one of the Big Four. I thought, “I’m in business” and my blinders were on. I had tunnel vision.
I would encourage anyone in college right now that you don’t have to pursue exactly what you studied. What you study gives you skills and enhances the skills that you already have, but those skills are so multifaceted. You can succeed in anything you set your mind to. Of course, if you study accounting and you want to go into medicine, that’s a little different. You may need some guidance and to go to med school, etc.
However, for me, I studied accounting and I started at Microsoft as a Sales Operations Program Manager, and now I am a Marketing Lead. I think it is really important to know that no one path is linear. It might do a lot of spinning around, but coming from somebody who experienced that, you will be fine.
source: Harvard Business Review
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