Meet Microsoft’s MBA Class of 2018

Steven Lipner

Microsoft

MBA Program: Wharton School

MBA Concentration: Entrepreneurial Management, Marketing, and Operations

Hometown: Long Island, New York

Undergraduate School and Major: The Cooper Union, Mechanical Engineering

Current Title at Microsoft: Account Executive

How would you describe your role to your mother? I manage the relationship between several large companies (mainly in the retail space) and Microsoft. Leading a team of specialists in each of our solution areas, I help these enterprises transform their existing business models by leveraging Microsoft’s technical solutions. This varies from things as simple as Office 365 and Windows to the complexity of using AI to better predict what customers want. Sorry mom, I don’t get a discount at Saks.

A fun fact about me people would be surprised to know is…I’ve been to a Super Bowl, Stanley Cup, and World Series. If the Knicks get Durant, maybe I’ll have a chance to go to an NBA Finals.

What was your greatest personal or professional accomplishment? This past October my wife and I had a baby boy. No amount of reading could have prepared me for the emotional burden of parenthood, but it’s been the most meaningful journey in my life. Balancing fatherhood and being a supportive husband, while starting a job in an entirely new industry, has been extremely challenging, but no professional achievement could surpass this feeling of accomplishment when my son smiles.

Why did you choose to work at MSFT? Prior to business school, I had worked in finance and real estate, but a key reason for pursuing my MBA was to make a career switch to something I found more meaningful. During my first year in business school, I had gone on a tech trek visiting all the large tech companies and I was immediately inspired by Microsoft’s mission as well as its growth mindset culture. Microsoft’s mission is to empower every person and organization on the planet to achieve more and its growth mindset culture attracts constant learners. Knowing that the work I’d be doing would have such a large impact globally was exhilarating and that I’d be part of a curious culture of individuals that are always looking for the next how and why was exciting.

What did you love about the business school you attended? I came into Wharton thinking that I’d be surrounded by extremely intelligent people, but my expectations were immediately exceeded. Not only was every person I met so bright and accomplished, but each person was a dynamic force. Sure, there were phenomenal athletes, artists, and theater producers, but everyone in some way was top tier. I was shocked to see that many of my friends who came from a consulting or banking background were also writers and actors in the Wharton Follies. And for those that were not “naturals” in these artsy fields had even cooler characters for their willingness to do “stretch experiences”— like performing in a coordinated dance in front of thousands of their classmates or trying out stand-up comedy for the first time. It’s the try, try, and try some more characteristic that embodies the Wharton experience.

What’s the most valuable thing you’ve learned so far at MSFT? We should never become complacent, but instead constantly strive for more. Microsoft’s growth mindset culture really pushes its employees to learn more and see what else we’re capable of. For example, our market cap recently closed over one trillion dollars. While that is a tremendous achievement, there was no internal communication celebrating this accomplishment. We’re not focused on hitting a specific milestone – we’re focused on what can be accomplished in the future.

Which manager or peer has had the biggest impact on you at MSFT and how has he or she made you a better in your role? This is a very difficult question as I’ve already learned so much this year and it wouldn’t have been possible without the help of all of my mentors and teammates that took the time to help me ramp up in my role.

That said, since I have to choose one, a peer of mine, Fred Meurgey has been extremely helpful this past year. Fred has been at Microsoft for 18 years and has such a deep understanding of technology and Microsoft’s specific solutions. When I started in the role, he’d spend hours and hours every day helping me build my foundation and has this ability to explain dense topics in such a simple manner. He spent so much time working with me, I’d forget that my accounts were only half his workload.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to work for MSFT? Speak to as many people as you can to learn more about Microsoft’s unique culture and the type of roles that are available. Employees at Microsoft are always open to taking the time to help prospective employees so don’t be afraid to reach out! Microsoft is a large enough company that you can easily spend your entire career in different roles and never get bored.

In terms of being prepared for the interviews, Microsoft is a learn-it-all culture so make sure to highlight your intellectual curiosity, but most importantly be yourself and relax!

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