Meet Microsoft’s MBA Class Of 2020: Teni Ayo-Ariyo

Teni Ayo-Ariyo

MBA Program: Duke’s Fuqua School of Business

MBA Concentration: Strategy

Hometown: Los Angeles, CA

Undergraduate School and Major: Dartmouth College

Current Title: Human Resources Business Partner

How would you describe your role to your mother? I partner with business managers to understand their organization’s strategy and create people initiatives and processes to support their business goals.

A fun fact about me people would be surprised to know is…I have been working every summer since high school, so I decided to take two months off before business school to invest in my wellness by completing a 200-hr yoga teacher certification.

What was your greatest personal or professional accomplishment? In April 2015, I created SEEDS- a group coaching program empowering women to expand on their business projects and creative ideas. SEEDS was born out of a deep frustration I felt after speaking to my friends about their entrepreneurial dreams, and goals. They unanimously expressed a lack of support and resources to successfully execute their vision. The virtual SEEDS cohort consisted of women across the United States, each of whom brought a short-term project, or entrepreneurial venture to execute.  SEEDS equipped each participant to progress from idea to implementation by providing tools to craft a mission and vision statement, identifying personal skills and growth opportunities, and create tangible short- and long-term goals.

Why did you choose to work at MSFT? One key factor that drew me to Microsoft is the “growth mindset” culture. Throughout my summer internship I was amazed by how invested the leadership team was in our growth and development, I was encouraged to ask questions, share what I learned, and propose new strategies for my team. At Microsoft, I truly feel like I can safely take risks and fully explore my career interests. From the Aspire program for MBA hires to the HR Rotational Program, I am constantly challenged to expand my scope by leveraging the work of others and taking advantage of numerous learning opportunities offered throughout the company.

What did you love about the business school you attended? At Fuqua, there is as much emphasis on character and integrity as there is on competence and productivity. I have seen my classmates go out of their way to support each other in tangible ways. That includes through welcoming newborns in the midst of challenging core classes, loss of loved ones, and the exhausting impacts of Covid-19. Our current world conditions have emphasized the importance of empathetic leadership. It is no secret that a combination of these values is necessary for the success and impact of future global leaders.

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? I am fortunate to have so many people invested in my growth and success at Microsoft. My mentor, Salvador Malo, stands out as someone who has impacted my role thus far. During my summer internship, I worked with Salvador on a Strategy and Data Insights project. Salvador willingly shares insights from his career journey, as well as advice for me to successfully navigate Microsoft. He keeps me updated when he comes across valuable knowledge and articles, and inspires me to stay informed about Human Capital best practices on a global scale.

What does being a “Microsoftie” mean to you? Being a Microsoftie gives me the opportunity to be part of a mission that is bigger than my individual contribution. Microsoft has a unique global position at the intersection of technology innovation, social impact, and business strategy. As an HR employee at Microsoft, I am increasingly aware that other companies are looking to us for direction on how to navigate challenging people decisions, such as those regarding best practices for employee well-being and emerging policies around COVID-19.  The work I do every day has a ripple effect – I directly impact employees who build products and resources that touch the lives of people around the world.

What has COVID-19 taught you about yourself since you started working at MSFT? Onboarding during Covid-19 has forced me to be creative in the ways I collaborate and work with my partners at Microsoft. While I have adapted to our new normal of working from home, I have learned that I value a hybrid work option. I miss walking to meetings, grabbing lunch with coworkers, and popping by a coworker’s office to share a new idea.


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