Navigating marketing mania with Microsoft and Mint Group
Modern Marketing Intern, Matshidiso Khalimatshi, shares her journey as a Mint and Microsoft Intern, reflecting on the challenges and opportunities she faced during the programme and what it’s like to dive head-first into absolute marketing madness, creativity and inspiration.
How did your Internship journey with Mint and Microsoft start?
My journey started when Mint Group Head of People, Lauren Clark, reached out to me on LinkedIn with an opportunity to apply for the Modern Marketer Internship. Upon acceptance of the first interview, I was invited for two more, along with three other candidates, and tasked with a few marketing assessments. Following this, I was very excited to be chosen to officially start my Microsoft and Mint Modern Marketer Internship.
What did the Modern Marketer Internship entail?
The Modern Marketer Internship programme is a Microsoft programme run in conjunction with Microsoft partners. The programme empowers graduates, providing them entry into the corporate world. As such, Microsoft places the interns at one of its partner companies to gain hands-on experience while hosting intensive training and exams from the Microsoft Head Office.
Aimed at Marketing graduates, the programme also accepted a few students with degrees or backgrounds in similar disciplines, such as IT. Therefore, even though I completed a Bachelors in Tourism, I had a year of experience from working as a marketing intern for the University of Johannesburg, and qualified for the program.
To help us along our journey of becoming modern marketers, the programme was run by Microsoft Partner Marketing Advisor, Madelein Gray, who served as both a mentor and inspiration to all the Interns who partook in this year-long programme.
What were the most challenging aspects of being an Intern?
When I first started at Mint Group, I barely knew where to start. I had almost zero product knowledge as this was my first corporate job. I also had a very basic understanding of Marketing.
Marketing is also not a relaxed discipline where you can take time to ease in. With constant campaign roll-outs, new product launches, thought leadership, new events, go-to-markets, leads to nurture, sales deals to help close and many brainstorming sessions, I had to learn quickly to help my team deliver on targets.
Another challenging part of the programme is the fact that it ended. I had an amazing year with strong friendships built during this time. Saying goodbye to all the interns after the programme is tough as I am used to seeing them at the Microsoft office for training sessions and collaborating as we study together for exams. I will miss this but will most definitely stay in touch as we all continue to grow as marketers.
Looking back how much experience have you gained?
I learned about Marketing in a broader perspective. I simply knew Marketing as advertising, mostly in social media, but by being part of the Marketing team at Mint, my perspective has changed drastically.
I now view marketing as a science and stand in awe of the difference that technology makes in business and people’s personal lives. As a marketer, I get to help reach those people and I help conceptualise products from concept into reality.
My product knowledge regarding the Microsoft solution stack has also increased significantly over the last year. While I was familiar with the Microsoft stack, Mint has given me a whole new perspective on the scope of the technologies and the different ways that it can be applied to drive business transformation.
Overall, my initial perception of marketing has changed completely. I now see how interlinked marketing is with business development, as we work closely with the sales and product development teams. Every single task completed by marketing comprises hours of research, collaboration with different departments, analytical insights and continuous measurements and improvements.
Did the Internship convert you to being a Microsoft fan for life?
Yes! Microsoft is the leading IT company in the world which has inspired me to also someday start my own company using Microsoft solutions. As an advocate of women in technology, Mint has also inspired me to focus on women empowerment in the IT Industry.
So much good is done through the Microsoft eco-system and I feel blessed to have been part of a company that could showcase all aspects of technology application coupled with thought leadership and socio-economic impact.
I also enjoyed the different approached that technology companies bring to work. Mint Group offers its employees flexible time management, remote working and exposure to the diverse technologies offered by Microsoft coupled with its own innovative IP. All in all, the company drinks its own champagne and I got to experience all of it first-hand.
Where do you see yourself in future?
As a Mintified Microsoft fan, I am equipped with competitive skills to thrive in the 4th Industrial Revolution. The Modern Marketer programme avails so many possible solutions that I think South Africa needs in order to change and ensure more opportunities for post–graduates.
Following an offer of permanent employment from Mint Group, which I am very happy about, I see myself growing at the company and acquiring the further skills and knowledge needed so that I can advance my future career prospects.
Having walked a journey with Microsoft and Mint Group has empowered me to take control of my career path, and I am very excited about all of the learnings and opportunities that lie ahead.