Q&A With Nandini Bhatt

Principal Program Manager at Microsoft

March 04, 2020
SHARESHARESHARE
Nandini Bhatt, Principal Program Manager at Microsoft works in Experiences and Devices division  Intune team. With over a decade of experience as a program manager, half of which is with Microsoft, Nandini has built a unique set of skillset and expertise in running programs for Microsoft’s commercial Cloud Services, including Office 365, Microsoft Intune, Azure and hybrid cloud—programs that are fueling the industry-wide transition in both the public and private cloud.

Deck 7: What is your favorite part of working at Microsoft, Nandini?
NANDINI BHATT: 
Great culture driven by empathy.

D7: Women in the field of technology are definitely in the minority, so why did you decide to pursue a career in technology?
NB:
I come from a relatively middle-class family back in India, and growing up I didn’t have engineers or doctors in my family. Technology has always fascinated me and whenever I met somebody who was an engineer, the first question I would ask them is “what do you do… tell me more about your work...”

I specifically remember this one incident when I was around ten and had met a distant friend of my father who was a civil engineer. The way he’d described his work, the passion he showed for his work and how working in the field of tech had changed his life for better – made me want to pursue my career in tech.

Another thing that’s made me pursue technology is also my mom. I learned a lot from my mom just like everybody else. My mom wanted to pursue Bachelors in science but couldn’t complete her studies because she was married and family had become her primary responsibility. But growing up I saw that passion in her. She has always motivated me to do whatever made me happy and that’s where I felt like I really need to pursue my dreams. If tech is my passion, then I should do that. That’s how I ended up doing my bachelor of engineering.
 

"Making more women seen in every level of technology industry is the biggest thing we can do for the young women."
D7: What do you think we should be doing more of in order to encourage more girls and young women to join the tech industry?
NB:
The key thing is to have visibility. Making more women seen in every level of technology industry is the biggest thing we can do for the young women. The more role models they have, the more likely it will be for young women to see themselves in those roles. When I talk to somebody, I feel like they will envision themselves in my roles or in my shoes in some way. So, we need to showcase more women in tech who are advancing their careers, doing great job in solving technically hard problems that lands on their plate. The more these young women see the more they’ll believe, that’s the motivation we need to generate in these young women.

Once we have the motivation lined up we need to create more opportunities for them. Whether it’s through early exposure for STEM programs in elementary schools or middle schools, or through providing early internships to give them a real feel of how it’s like to work in tech.
Companies and industries can provide a lot of sponsorships to these young women either to participate in STEM events or internships. Sponsorships can help women who find it financially challenging to pursue a career in tech.

Just having more people be visible in that role, giving them role models that they can aspire to be, and then providing the opportunities would be the right way to encourage more girls.

"Companies and industries can provide a lot of sponsorships to these young women either to participate in STEM events or internships. Sponsorships can help women who find it financially challenging to pursue a career in tech."
D7: What are the initiatives taken at Microsoft in order to catch up to the changing trends and customer expectations?
NB:
Regardless of what role you’re in, for us our customers come first. From our PMs to engineers to our support staff or our sales organization, the customer expectations are at the core of everything we do. Our goal is to build products and services that our customers desire and love. And we have a steady channel of constant customer feedback which helps us see whether we’re going in the right direction. It governs our engineering to make changes as needed, to make sure we truly delight our customers.

The customer desires and expectations are embedded into our planning for future features of the product. The key thing is to see whether it meets our customer requirement. Customer feedback is sought even in the interim phases of the product lifecycle to ensure we’re on the right track and can deliver a product/service that our customers truly love.

"There’s an increased awareness of the risk around cloud services in the industry which helps take the right measures to increase protection for our customers."
D7: How have things changed on the cloud regulatory compliance and risk management fronts over the years you’ve been at Microsoft?
NB:
Over the years under our senior leadership, I’ve seen an increased focus on cloud regulatory compliance and risk management in general, because customer trust is at the centre of everything we do. All our processes are centered around that basic theme of trust. Whether it’s how we hire or who we hire to do the type of work, when it comes to collecting data or anything we need for our products or services to how it’s stowed to ensure there’s absolutely no breach of customer trust.

In that sense, there’s an increased awareness of the risk around cloud services in the industry which helps take the right measures to increase protection for our customers.

D7: Knowing what you know now what advice would you give to your younger self?
NB: 
Work very hard in your early years. Trust yourself and give it your all. Finding like-minded people and building your support system is one of the key things I would tell my younger self. And never underestimate the power of asking.

D7: When did you start working and what was it?
NB:
I started working right after my graduation in master of electrical engineering. My first job was in T-mobile as an intern. I was responsible for testing of the products and services that my group was building at the time. In my six months as an intern I loved what I was doing and decided to take a full time opportunity.


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