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6/9/2009 Member Profile
Microsoft Named Best Place to Work by ND Young Professionals

Ask a string of young professionals why it’s great to work for Microsoft in Fargo, and you’ll notice a pattern: foosball.

“The campus leadership even added a second foosball table because there were too many people playing during lunch,” said Cliff Smolinsky, Software Development Engineer in Test.

But that’s not all you’ll notice when talking to YPs on the Microsoft campus. Named a Fortune 100 Best Place to Work For in 2007, Microsoft is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential. A focus on cutting-edge technology keeps savvy young professionals engaged and challenged. Plus, Microsoft employees receive fantastic benefits, have flexible work schedules and maintain a strong culture of personal and professional development.

“Microsoft is an all-around great place to start a career as a young professional,” Smolinsky said. “You don’t have to have tenure to be given responsibility. The culture is open, fun and inviting.”

The Fargo location was created through the acquisition of Great Plains Software in 2001. Today, the 80-acre campus employs more than 1,400. A third building under construction will be one of the state’s first LEED certified buildings.

“Microsoft is more than a job—it’s almost a lifestyle,” said Communications Manager Katie Hasbargen. “Our average tenure is around eight years. We work hard to make sure people enjoy being here.”

Microsoft’s Diversity Council celebrates cultures from all over the world represented by employees. The Women at Microsoft program serves the females on staff. Managers are allotted “morale budgets,” employees are allotted a “stay fit” reimbursement, and there’s an “all you can drink” policy on free pop, juice, milk and Starbuck’s coffee.

Another aspect of the Microsoft lifestyle is giving back to the community. Team members are encouraged to serve on local boards, and Microsoft matches employee donations of money and time. In 2007, the Fargo campus donated more than $1.7 million to area organizations.

Three internship programs feed the organization’s work force and offer opportunities to high school and college students. Microsoft also has its own young professionals group on campus. The more than 100 members hold various social and educational events throughout the year.

And once on board, Smolinsky said employees are provided ample opportunities to advance their careers. “Career development is a huge focus,” he said. “Multiple reviews each year provide feedback on your progress and determine how you can better yourself in your job. There are significant opportunities to advance through the company. Overall, Microsoft is just an all-around great place to start a career as a young professional.”

Visit Microsoft online to learn about their latest gadgets and to see how the young professionals on the Fargo campus are impacting technology worldwide.

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