After months of trying and failing to get an internship, Miami University business student Akosua Boadi-Agyemang was becoming desperate. With nothing to lose, she decided to write a post on her LinkedIn profile, sharing that she was an Accounting and Finance major in need of an internship. Then she tagged Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn.
She ended her post with: “I was always told to be ‘BOLD.’ Hopefully someday it helps me reach my goals.”
Her post caught the attention of a few people here and there, who shared it and then wished her luck. But nothing substantial came of it, until one day about two weeks after her initial post, her phone lit up with a notification, and it read: “LinkedIn: Jeff Weiner has commented on your post.”
Not surprisingly, Boadi-Agyemang was shocked and immediately went to check what he had said. Weiner had written: “Nice job on your profile Akosua, I would be surprised if nothing materializes.” And from there, her post took on a life of its own as Weiner’s network and followers sat up and began noticing Boadi-Agyemang.
“There was an overflow in my inbox – I also had to turn off notifications on my phone from LinkedIn because it was so much that the app kept crashing when I would try to open it sometimes – due to the likes and comments happening so much all at once,” she says.
The post has since been viewed over three million times and received almost six thousand likes, with people from companies including Ernst and Young, Deloitte, KPMG, PwC, Microsoft, and Credit Suisse reaching out to her.
THE LAST-DITCH EFFORT AND LINKEDIN POST
Boadi-Agyemang, who was born and raised in Botswana to two parents from Ghana, went on to intern at Microsoft in Seattle last summer. After graduating this spring from the Farmer School of Business, she will be returning to work full-time at Microsoft this July.
“Had it not been for Microsoft practicing their mission statement ‘to empower every individual and organization on the planet to achieve more,’ I, who grew up in a country of only 2.5 million people — a country sometimes unknown or forgotten by most — would not have gained the necessary technical skills to move to the U.S. to seek a university education,” Boadi-Agyemang says. “They changed my life, and I hope to do the same for others.”
Boadi-Agyemang moved to the U.S. in 2015 to attend Miami University in Ohio. In order to secure an internship offer, the accounting student with a minor in Human Capital Management and Leadership networked at conferences regionally and nationally, met with recruiters and employers, attended company programs and activities, applied and followed up, but says she didn’t get anywhere.
At her wit’s end, she says that she decided to use LinkedIn since it was the one network she had in the U.S. that could help her reach outside her personal circle of contacts. She created the post hoping if someone out there was hiring perhaps they would see her post.
THE MICROSOFT RECRUITMENT PROCESS
Once Weiner commented on it, things were out of her control and she received messages faster than she could respond. Among those who came across her post was Deborah Okine, a business planner with Microsoft, who then tagged a staffing consultant, who connected Boadi-Agyemang to a university recruiter. The recruiter shared that while they had fully hired for their Finance rotation Program Internship, if a role opened up she would contact her. Over the next three months, the two stayed in contact.
Then, three months after the initial contact, Boadi-Agyemang received a call from the recruiter informing her of an open intern role in Microsoft U.S. Business and Sales Operations. Soon after that, she had an initial phone screening where Boadi-Agyemang was asked why she wanted to work at Microsoft and other behavioral questions. After the conversation, Boadi-Agyemang was told she would hear back within two to three days. But just six hours later, she was asked to fly out to Bellevue, Washington, for a final round of interviews.
On February 8, 2018, Boadi-Agyemang traveled to Seattle for the first time in her life. She says that when she landed, the first thing she did was call her parents to check-in, and then book a rideshare to take her to the hotel — all of which was on Microsoft’s time. “I still couldn’t believe it was happening, that I was in Seattle to meet with Microsoft,” Boadi-Agyemang beams.
Not long after landing, Boadi-Agyemang walked over to the Microsoft campus to attend an interview reception where she met with other people who were interviewing with the company, as well as recruiters. That was where she met another Miami alum who was working as a finance director at Microsoft whom she is still in contact with today. Boadi-Agyemang says she also met many people that day who became LinkedIn connections after her viral post.
TOURING SEATTLE WITH OTHER INTERVIEWEES
Early the next morning, a full day of interviews began. Boadi-Agyemang says she was interviewed with three people who were business analysts and business program managers. After lunch, she was interviewed by the hiring manager, and all four staff members worked in the Microsoft U.S. Business and Sales Operations division.
“They asked mostly behavioral questions, with the big one being why I wanted to join Microsoft,” Boadi-Agyemang recalls. “Everyone was friendly and welcoming and I felt comfortable being my authentic self. At first I was intimidated because the other students I met the night before were from Ivy Leagues like Princeton and Cornell, but the interviewers made me feel like I belonged.”
Boadi-Agyemang says that in the welcome packet that Microsoft provides interviewees with, they are informed that they’ll have several hours to explore the city and be reimbursed. So together with other interviewees she had met the day before, Boadi-Agyemang visited the Space Needle in Seattle and other popular locations. The next day, she flew back to Miami for the waiting game.