March 12, 2021

#17: Dr. Stevens Bonhomme - Client Success Manager at Microsoft


My guest for this episode is Dr. Stevens Bonhomme. Dr. Stephens is a Client Success Manager at Microsoft. In this episode, he shares what got him interested in Economics, why he moved from Haiti to the United States. He also describes his day-to-day work at Microsoft.

Show Notes

 

Introduction [0:00]

What Influenced His Move To the US Eight Years Ago [01:06] 

What Sparked His Interest to Major in Economics and Business [01:35] 

Will He Consider Going Back to Haiti to Provide Support to Economic System There [03:57] 

What Was the Path to Microsoft Like For Him [04:38] 

His Different Roles While Working at Microsoft [07:56] 

What He Liked Most About His Role as a Microsoft Ads Onboarding Specialist [09:35] 

How He Transitioned to the Role of Client Success Manager [10:19] 

Does He Feel Like the Things He Learned From School Transitioned into His Day to Day Work [12:00] 

Would He Want To Try an Economics Based Role in the Industry Down The Line [13:34] 

What Makes People Want to Stay at Microsoft [14:41] 

Key Skills and Lessons He Has Learned from Being in His Role [17:11] 

Would He Leave Microsoft to Try Out a Different Company [18:04] 

How He Started Working as a Professor at the Northwest University [19:34] 

Did He Ever See Himself Getting Into Education [21:18] 

Advice for Non-Technical Majors Looking to Get into Tech [22:31] 

How He Knew He Was Passionate About What He Was Doing [24:10] 

Key Takeaways

  • “I'm originally from Haiti. I was born and raised there. I moved to the US about eight years ago now. Since then, I've had a chance to live in several states, specifically five states in five years…”
  • I've always wanted to study Economics. As I'm from a country with a poorer economic background, I always wanted to help my country and my people.
  • My parents actually wanted me to be to go for medical school, I never really liked that. I always wanted to do Business, Finance and Economics.
  • In our culture, it's usually engineering or being a lawyer, or people working in agriculture. For me to choose Economics, it's pretty much showing them that there are a lot of other majors out there that you can use to do great things.
  • I want to put myself in a position where I'm useful to Haiti and to the community.
  • When I was doing my PhD in Economics, somebody reached out to me on LinkedIn and asked me if I wanted to work for Microsoft. I had no previous experience in sales or tech, but I was offered the position after tough interviews. It has been a great journey so far, and I'm liking it. So, I think I made the right choice.
  • Microsoft needed something that I that I had, that was hard for them to find, which was the language proficiency in French. They needed somebody that could speak French to interact with customers in Canada.
  • Even though I didn't have experience in tech, I had worked in customer service before, and this role primarily was interacting with clients.
  • Something that I've seen in people moving to the US is that we want to learn English, and do everything in English, but we tend to forget our native tongue. Sometimes that could be a good advantage for us, in my case, that was being able to speak French that landed me a job at Microsoft.
  • As a Microsoft Ads Onboarding Specialist, I helped clients put their companies online, where they could advertise their product, and pages on our Bing network, either through Bing, AOL, Outlook, Yahoo, etc.
  • Being able to assist the customers and solving their problem, the gratitude and the satisfaction they had after I solved the problems, it was rewarding to me.
  • “My first role was the beginning of the process, this current role is the end of the process, before we transition these accounts to another department or another sub segment...”
  • Now I'm interacting with more engaging clients, that are spending more money; half a million a month in advertising with Microsoft, more sophisticated clients.
  • “I would say that most of the things that I've learned, are not really relevant to my current role. I studied Economics, what I'm doing right now has nothing to do with Economics, it has more to do with product knowledge…”
  • “I'm also a university professor, I teach project management and Economics at the university level up to junior and senior level in college. So, my doctorate now is relevant, because I'm currently using that in the teaching world…”
  • I think eventually, I'm probably looking into something with Finance, business development or Economics down the line in Microsoft.
  • It is the culture and the mission of Microsoft at large that makes people want to stay. We have a really bold mission of empowering everybody on the planet in every organization to do more and to achieve more.
  • “We have what we call the growth mindset, where we don't know it all, but we want to learn it all.”
  • “You are flexible like water, and you want to learn and learn and never stop learning. That culture is what makes you want to stay at Microsoft right now.”
  • Before joining, I saw so many great testimonies about Microsoft, like people bragging about working at Microsoft, that I thought they were getting paid to post. It was not until I joined myself, that I realized that it is pretty cool. Everybody is welcoming, managers are supportive, and your team is awesome.
  • While working here, I gained leadership skills, I’m more proficient at being a professional in general, and my customer service skills are much better now.
  • I have side projects that I'm working on right now, but my main focus right now is Microsoft. I think there are enough opportunities in Microsoft that if somebody would want to spend 20, 30 years there, they could reinvent themselves, without leaving.
  • In terms of economic growth, I think at the university level as a professor, it is something else that I can enjoy, that does not necessarily need or require quitting Microsoft. I can take that industry level into the classroom and connect it with the students.
  • After I received my doctorate, I realized I was not really using what I went to school for, while working at Microsoft. So, I started looking into universities and part time positions. I ended up choosing project management, because of things that I have been doing at work and other projects that I worked on before.
  • The university has been a great journey. Maybe down the road, I will probably transition to teaching Economics classes or Finance.
  • I never really wanted to be a professor as a career, but I wanted to transfer knowledge somehow.
  • “I usually tell people study something that you love, because once you love it, you can work for it for free. And if you can work for free, you're going to be really good at it…”
  • “Look into your skill set and see what you can transfer to the tech industry...”
  • “When I was in school as well, I would notice that I would stay up late at night, studying the homework, and I was not really worried about it or even complaining…”

Where to Find Dr. Stevens Bonhomme

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/stevens-bonhomme-ma-45576155salesEconomicsfrenchbusinessadministrationalphaFinancehaitifargodoctor

Instagram: bsgolden2 instagram.com/bsgolden2/

Transcript

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