Real Humans of Microsoft: Marcus Morrissette, Cambridge Judge MBA ’17, Customer Success Manager
Microsoft’s Office 365 is used by an estimated 1 million companies worldwide. As of early 2022, Microsoft Teams had 145 million active users each day. These software are just a part of Microsoft’s Modern Workplace, which is a bundle of services to promote communication, smooth operations, and encourage collaboration within organizations. Marcus Morrissette, Cambridge Judge MBA ’17, draws on his MBA experience everyday in his role as a customer success manager for Microsoft’s Modern Workplace. In this edition of Real Humans: Alumni, Marcus explains how the Cambridge Judge MBA program developed his skill set and how Microsoft found the perfect role for him.
Hometown: Munich, Germany (Current), Washington, D.C. (Prior to MBA), Atlanta, GA (Childhood)
Undergraduate Institution and Major: Williams College, Political Science
Graduate Business School, Graduation Year and Concentration: Cambridge Judge Business School, Class of 2016/2017
Pre-MBA Work Experience: 6 years criminal law / discrete manufacturing
Post-MBA Work Experience: 5 years, information technology
Why did you choose to attend business school?
I chose to attend business school because of the opportunity to pull off the MBA triple jump: to work in a different country, industry, and job function.
Why Cambridge Judge? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
One year MBA Programs in Europe were at the top of my priority list, which helped to narrow the field. I had been looking into various degrees, but a serendipitous conversation with a family friend at a holiday party piqued my interest in Cambridge Judge Business School (CJBS). I mentioned that I was looking into schools for an MBA and she told me that a colleague of hers had sponsored CJBS students for their Global Consulting Project (GCP), and that these students were some of the most brilliant, but also authentic and down-to-earth folks she’d ever worked with. This was the impetus for me to do more research into the program. The university’s college system, being part of a world-renowned research institution, and the aforementioned diverse and interesting student body, were contributing factors that made this business school stand out to me.
What about your MBA experience prepared you for your current career?
One practical part of the MBA that helped me with my current role is the work we did with the CJBS career office and external coaches to hone our presentation and public speaking skills. Since my current role allows me to run workshops, interviews, and technical demonstrations for my customers’ end-users and C-level decision makers, I make use of these skills every day. A second aspect of the Judge MBA that helped prepare me for my current career was the Global Consulting Project (GCP) that a team of MBA students and I delivered for a luxury automotive manufacturer in the UK. Our team worked with various departments to investigate and prioritize the client’s pressing digital transformation challenges and to provide a framework for addressing some of the obstacles based on the insights we’d uncovered. This project helped me develop a lot of the industry expertise and soft skills I still use today when working with customers on similar initiatives.
Why did you choose your current company? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to work?
I did my MBA Summer Internship with Microsoft in Munich. Those short six weeks in the summer of 2017 working with future colleagues and customers quickly showed me that this was the right employer for me. Working with enterprise customers to drive their digital transformation by empowering their employees, optimizing their operations, and transforming their business processes was thrilling. Microsoft was also actively focusing on its own cultural transformation, led by Satya Nadella who had taken over as CEO in 2014, with the goals of fostering growth mindset, empathy, and innovation. These values really appealed to me and made the decision quite easy.
How has COVID impacted your industry/career plans?
Microsoft Germany already offered flexible working hours and flexible working locations when I began there in 2017, so home office was not a new concept for us. Working in virtual teams across the globe, both internally and with customers, was also an established practice prior to COVID. Since my role as Modern Work Customer Success Manager is to help customers get the most value out of the tools they’ve licensed from us, COVID mainly accelerated a lot of the work I was already doing with customers to enable hybrid work scenarios, as well as streamline and automate their business processes.
Advice to current MBA students:
–One thing you would absolutely do again as part of the job search?
Being able to cycle over to work in our Microsoft office in Munich, have in-person lunch dates and coffee chats with colleagues, and visit customers during my internship in 2017, was invaluable for helping me decide that Microsoft was the right employer for me. This is certainly much more difficult now, but I recommend pursuing these in-person encounters as much as possible, when evaluating whether or not a job could be a good fit. If in-person meetings continue to be difficult to plan, I recommend reaching out to schedule as many 1:1 virtual meetings as possible. If folks don’t respond to a first email or LinkedIn message, it’s appropriate to follow up after a week to nudge them into making time for a call.
–One thing you would change or do differently?
I spoke with numerous CJBS alumni during my time there as a student, and all of them told me to make sure that I make the most of the MBA experience while I am there to meet new people, engage with classmates, and pursue all that Cambridge, the colleges, and the business school had to offer, because the special time there is over so quickly. I tried to remain conscious of this, but certainly spent a lot of energy on my job search that could have perhaps been channeled towards being even more mindful and present during my year in Cambridge. This is very easy advice to give in hindsight, but I wanted to pass it along nonetheless. As with many things, it’s all about finding the right balance.
–Were there any surprises regarding your current employer’s recruiting process?
Microsoft had a fairly large reorganization during my summer internship in 2017, so the full-time position that I could have transitioned into no longer existed at the end of the summer. I decided to remain in Munich after my internship, despite not having a job offer, so that I could network with my contacts in Microsoft and pursue other roles. Despite it not being the smooth transition I had originally anticipated, Microsoft HR supported me throughout the entire process and helped me find my place in the newly formed Customer Success organization. It ended up being the perfect fit for me.
–What piece of advice do you wish you had been given during your MBA?
When applying for an MBA, and many jobs, a lot of focus in the recruiting process is placed on molding ones background, experiences, and skills into a coherent story or profile. The MBA is obviously a tremendous opportunity to reflect and reevaluate one’s career path. I recommend using the time to explore unfamiliar industries and job functions, which I learned to appreciate over the course of my year in Cambridge. Some of the most rewarding MBA courses I took focused on pharmaceutical and energy industries, both of which I had not interacted with substantially prior to attending CJBS, and I ended up joining Microsoft, which also was not really on my career radar at the time. In fact, it was a recommendation from my CJBS career counselor that inspired me to apply for the summer internship in the first place.