Meet Microsoft’s MBA Class Of 2020: Olivia Henshaw

Olivia Henshaw

MBA Program: Duke University – Fuqua School of Business

MBA Concentration: Strategy and Marketing

Hometown: Tulsa, Oklahoma

Undergraduate School and Major: American University – International Economics and Chinese 

Current Title: Cloud Specialist

How would you describe your role to your mother? I advise customers how they can transform their organizations through cloud technology.

A fun fact about me people would be surprised to know is… I appeared on a Chinese reality TV show. After I graduated college, I studied in China through the Confucius Institute. While living in Chengdu, I had the opportunity to appear on a Chinese language competition/talent show for international students called Chinese Bridge. It was an absolute blast to be corny with fellow students from across the world.

What was your greatest personal or professional accomplishment? Prior to joining Microsoft, I worked at an aerospace OEM in product development and international sales. I am most proud of my work with a Chinese client to develop a medevac jet that could rescue and provide care for critically ill patients in remote areas. Meeting the client’s requirements required empathy, problem solving, and cross-functional teamwork. It was an incredible moment seeing the jet roll off the production line and begin to save people’s lives.

Why did you choose to work at MSFT? My experience in aerospace showed me the magic of making technology real for people. I was specifically drawn to Microsoft because I could dive even deeper into technology’s human element. Microsoft’s mission really connected with me: empower every person and organization on the planet to achieve more. That’s what excites me and drives me – seeing how our customers are using Microsoft technology to solve big problems.

What did you love about the business school you attended? Team Fuqua. It’s really not just a slogan at Fuqua — supporting each other is part of our identity. Before our first round of Microsoft intern interviews, a bunch of us gathered to practice together to give each other feedback. We genuinely wanted our “competition” to succeed, knowing that ultimately success is shared. The result? Nearly 20 Fuquans interned at Microsoft in summer 2019, more than any other business school in the US. I am truly proud to be part of this community of ambitious, kind people.

What does being a “Microsoftie” mean to you? If you ask my family, it means being an on-call Excel tech support specialist (which I’ll help with on the weekends!). For me personally, it comes down to using technology as a platform for good. I work in the education division, so that sense of mission is even more deeply ingrained. Our entire team is driven to accelerate student outcomes with technology.

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? My mentor, Jim Chase, has had a major impact on me at Microsoft. Jim has shown me how to challenge our customers to think differently about digital transformation. He has also shown me how to bring my full self to work – my unique perspective, my MBA skillset, and even my corny humor.

I think a lot of MBAs feel pressure to over-index on “ramping up” at their first role after graduating, neglecting the advantages they inherently bring on day one. Jim has shown me how to adapt while remaining authentic.

What has Covid-19 taught you about yourself since you started working at MSFT? This crisis has shown me the importance of turning my privilege into impact. I am lucky to be able to work from home and make a difference towards our recovery. I’ve helped customers bridge gaps in virtual learning and scale up vaccine scheduling apps. And there is still so much to do! Tackling these big problems alongside customers gives me a sense of meaning and gratitude.


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