I recently caught up with EF Academy Oxford alum Federico Angioni to talk about his time at school, how he’s been getting on at the University of Leeds and to find out more about his internship at Microsoft.
Why did you choose to study abroad?
I realized that where I lived was quite stale in terms of having an open mind and looking forward to the future. Everyone lived day by day and didn’t really have an objective in their lives and I didn’t like that. I didn’t want to stay around a world that was really close-minded and really restricted, also in terms of job opportunities and university. I had a friend studying at the New York campus who told me about EF Academy, and in the end I came to Oxford and it was great.
What was your focus of study at EF Academy?
I’m a business person so for my IB I chose higher level business, economics, and English, and at standard level I chose French, math and chemistry. I wasn’t really aiming to study business at university from the start, but since I was starting to read books about business, how businesses operated and how to motivate employees it really caught my eye. I wanted to get a bit more in depth with it so I chose business as a subject and then did my Extended Essay in economics to support it and understand theoretical concepts, and it went on from there.
Are you still in touch with people from high school?
Yes, nearly every day. Most people are in London and the south of England but I get to see them quite often. We always chat on Facebook and Snapchat so I keep in contact with them quite a lot. Unfortunately, the group has diluted but individually I always talk to people. It’s always nice to have those memories.
Which sports clubs or co-curricular activities were you involved in?
I tried to get involved in lots of things but my main focus was the soccer club. When I arrived to campus, another Italian student and I signed up together. I had only actually played soccer for about a year at home before coming to Oxford so I wasn’t that good. But when I came to Oxford it was so nice, everyone was so happy that we got to train on a weekly basis and I managed to get more confident in the sport. At the end of the year I got elected as Vice Captain and Vice President for the following year. As part of those roles I tried to raise funds for new soccer uniforms. I managed to do in the end which was a good memory for every person. We were able to raise some money and eventually get our uniforms customized with the school logo and our names on the back. We had little tournaments here and there and it was really nice.
How’s life at the University of Leeds?
It’s amazing! I love it. It’s such a good university and the best choice I could have made, honestly. It’s a good university, it’s a fun place, and a nice city full of cool people. I couldn’t be any happier in my opinion. I would definitely recommend living in halls (student accommodation) to anyone applying. I didn’t know halls existed when I applied so I went to a private accommodation. It wasn’t bad but I didn’t get the kind of experience I would have got with halls sadly. Life at university more than makes up for it though.
How’s life in Reading during your internship?
It’s not Leeds, but it’s still nice. Reading’s quite tiny and there’s not much to do but the Microsoft campus is amazing. Honestly, if I could sleep in the Microsoft campus I probably would, that’s how nice it is.
Can you talk me through your ‘Year in Industry’?
My role is a Territory Channel Manager (TCM) which is a sales role, dealing with small- to medium- sized businesses. My role consists of trying to help partners sell more to customers. So for instance, we have call out days when we go to partner offices and talk them through a product. We then do a demo on what the product can do, how to sell it, what are the major propositions and what can we offer. I still haven’t really got the hang of things because they say the first three months at Microsoft are learning, learning, learning and I’ve only been here for three weeks so I’m still trying to understand my role but so far it’s going really well.
How did you get an internship at Microsoft?
Getting the job at Microsoft was actually quite the ride. I completed a lot of applications and had quite a few setbacks. I even turned a business down because I wasn’t satisfied. I felt disheartened at times but I didn’t give up and kept looking. In the end I got through to the Microsoft assessment centre. I really wanted to be at Microsoft, as I’m a bit of a tech geek and a techy person. I showed a lot of passion, interest in the company, interest in the culture and essentially I got the job.
What do you miss about EF Academy?
I would say the best thing that I took from the school was the people. I met amazing people at EF Academy and I still keep in contact with them. I managed to learn about so many different cultures and that opened my mind because I can understand how other people think and even if they come from a particular background I can relate to them on a personal level because of EF Academy. If I had left Italy to go to university in England for the first time without going to EF Academy, I don’t think I would have been able to integrate as well with other people and that was the most amazing experience. It was also a family-like community. We lived with other people from around the world and this made us bond in a way that we wouldn’t had we gone to a typical school.
What’s next for you?
I’ve never been at this point in my life where I don’t know what I want to do. Or rather, I know what I want to do my I don’t know if life will allow me to do it. Microsoft offers a graduate scheme, but to get to the graduate scheme you have to go through a massive interview process which is quite difficult. Not many people manage to get it so you have to put 100% effort in your placement year to show Microsoft you want to stay and you’re worth the investment. If I don’t get the Microsoft placement I think I will need to search for a new graduate scheme.
A scheme focused around management and marketing?
Of course I would like to do something related to management, I’m actually becoming interested in human resources now. I originally was more interested in advertising but as time has gone on I’m realizing I enjoy the people inside of the organization rather than the customer side. Especially now in Microsoft I’m learning a lot of things about how the company operates and how it treats its people which I think is amazing and something I would like to replicate in a future job potentially. I have always loved the sales part which is why I’m doing the placement. It would be management though, potentially in the tech industry but I’m not sure. I’m open to different sectors because I’m still quite young and I want to build some experience. After that I will have to see because it is five years now I’ve been in England and I would like a change of environment. I’m not the kind of person who wants to settle with getting a job and that’s it. I want to go around the world, see what I can engage with – new challenges, new people and new jobs.