Alissa Warne is part of the IE IMBA alumni and is currently working as a Digital Marketing Communication Manager at Microsoft. Alissa has more than 7 years of experience working on B2B marketing experience helping businesses become more customer-centric. With a marketing background in 3D software and telecommunications, she has a track record developing go-to-market strategies and leading global teams in fast-paced environments to launch software products.

How was your time as an IE student?

My time at IE was intense but incredibly rewarding. As one of the most diverse business schools in the world, I got the chance to learn from people with very different backgrounds, and fully embrace the tech and entrepreneurship ecosystem at IE. From co-creating IE’s first global innovation challenge with students across all programs to participating in case competitions and establishing a tech community through the eCommerce and Tech clubs, I really felt a sense of purpose and connection throughout the year.

How you landed this opportunity after graduation?

About a month after I started the IMBA, I saw that Microsoft was coming on campus to talk about their MBA program and about the idea of “intrapreneurship”. I was intrigued by what that meant to Microsoft so I attended the session and heard from Donna Sarkar, who spoke so passionately and eloquently about their new culture and spirit of empowering others to succeed. I applied for the program and aimed to network with IE alumni at Microsoft to find out more. I was invited to the MBA Tech Day at Microsoft in November where I had a great time networking with fellow MBAs and employees. Shortly after, I had my interviews and accepted the offer to work at Microsoft UK.

What motivated you to apply for that particular position in Microsoft?

I wanted to work for a company that aligned with my values, particularly around responsible AI and using tech for good to create positive change. Microsoft’s programmes around this and its focus on accessibility resonated with me – particularly around creating products for everyone. Having a strong sense of empathy doesn’t just help us become more customer-centric, but also fosters an innovative spirit. That really comes through in our programs such as Digigirlz, which teaches young girls to code, and our accelerator program AI for Good that is now accepting applications from purpose-driven organizations who want to use AI to create a positive societal impact in the UK.

What’s your role? What is the next step in your professional career?

As Digital Marketing Manager at Microsoft UK, I work to ensure that locally relevant stories and key insights are being delivered to the right digital audiences at the right time. I work across various channels including social media and our digital destinations to bring not just our solutions to life, but how we as Microsoft empower every person and organization on the planet to achieve more.

I’m not quite sure where my path will lead but I plan to stay in the tech industry, build my career here in London and leverage emerging tech to drive positive outcomes.

What would you like to transmit to potential candidates that look up to you?

While you can’t control a bad situation, you can always control your response to it. It’s a way to manage stress and drive the outcomes within your reach. Embrace everything life throws at you, both good and bad, and find a way to give back to society through your passions.

Which challenges have you faced?

Since completing the MBA, I’ve pivoted my geography, industry – and to an extent, my function. Previously I was doing field marketing for the natural resources industry in Australia, and now I’m in digital marketing working for one of the biggest tech companies in the world. Another challenge used to be imposter syndrome, which is often faced by many other women feeling like they have no idea what they’re doing – but the truth is, no one has all the answers. I’ve dealt with it by backing myself and having the confidence to just go for it and break the cycle of self-doubt.

How did your experience at IE during the IMBA help you to be part of Microsoft?

At IE, I discovered new passions and validated old ones – for instance, that I’ve always loved marketing and that I wanted to continue building upon my career, but that I also enjoyed data analytics, entrepreneurship, and artificial intelligence.

I also got to know myself a lot better – my strengths, weaknesses, personality traits and conflict management, while at the same time free myself from preconceived notions I had about my own career path and try new things.