Microsoft's Emma Reynolds, ’17, shared how Booth helped her pivot from sales to a marketing career in the tech industry.
- April 26, 2021
- Alumni Stories
As part of the booming Chicago Booth community in Seattle, Microsoft’s Emma Reynolds, ’17, relishes the chance to connect with fellow graduates and current MBA students exploring opportunities in the Pacific Northwest’s tech scene.
After all, it’s a road she understands well. Now a senior product marketing manager in the company’s Azure cloud computing group, Reynolds came to Booth’s MBA Program from a sales background, and she knew even before her first days in business school that she wanted to pursue a career in tech.
“It was a pretty big shift for me, and it was definitely my goal in coming to Booth to get the resources and skills I needed to get into tech,” Reynolds recalled. “I felt like I could learn data analysis skills that were going to be valued in the tech world.”
Booth’s student-run groups, the Booth Technology Group and the Marketing Group, were instrumental in helping her explore her interests and ultimately focus on a career path in product marketing. Through the support of these groups and the James M. Kilts Center for Marketing, she ultimately secured a summer internship at Microsoft that turned into a full-time role after graduation.
"The developments and the pace of expansion and innovation is so interesting. As a marketer, it gives you ample opportunity for things like new product launches. It’s almost like every six months I’ve got a slightly different role, or something has changed in the environment that we have to pick up.”
“Booth has a strong relationship with a lot of the big tech companies,” Reynolds explained, noting the growing number of graduates now working at Seattle’s tech companies. “Certainly, the quantitative acumen and independent thinking that Booth taught were demonstrable skill sets for the role that I’m in now.”
She also often draws on “soft skills” classes, such as Persuasion: Effective Business Communication, to influence dozens if not hundreds of Azure stakeholders. “In every big company, you have to be data driven to back up your strategies and opinions, but then you also have to have good communication skills,” she noted. “You have to know how to state your case, how to empathize with your audience.”
While cloud computing wasn’t initially on her radar as a specialty during business school, Reynolds immediately clicked with the team during her internship, and has enjoyed the thrill of seeing cloud computing’s explosive growth during the past few years.
In some ways, it’s a marketer’s dream, she said: “The developments and the pace of expansion and innovation is so interesting. As a marketer, it gives you ample opportunity for things like new product launches. It’s almost like every six months I’ve got a slightly different role, or something has changed in the environment that we have to pick up.”
Now that she’s found her niche, Reynolds makes sure to pay it forward to other Boothies exploring the industry. She often participates in Admissions events and career chats with students and alumni alike. The Booth alumni network in Seattle is particularly close-knit, she said, with graduates frequently sharing job opportunities and career advice with one another.
This past year, Reynolds hosted virtual career treks at Microsoft for current Booth students, giving them a firsthand perspective on what it’s like to work there.
“Everyone I met at Booth was obviously book smart, but beyond that they had a sense of a curiosity, and a willingness to learn and take in new ideas,” she said. “So when I come across other Booth students here at Microsoft, I’m always just so impressed by everyone. Certainly, everyone wants to be successful, but even more than that, everyone just wants to learn.”
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