How my Zoology course got me into Microsoft

Gurveena Kaur Sungha
Gurveena Kaur Sungha
BSc Zoology with Placement Year
Placement organisation: Microsoft
Gurveena chose to spend a year on placement at Microsoft. This confirmed her desire to work in a business setting and helped her to secure a second placement post graduation - working for a digital marketing agency in New York.

My course route was not a conventional one. When in Sixth form I originally applied for Biology with a Year Abroad, but fell short of the grades required for it so settled with just Biology as my course. After my first year, I switched to Zoology after having a hard time with some of the plant-based modules, and then half-way through my second year I switched again to Zoology with employment experience!

My reason for incorporating a placement year was actually thanks to my friends. A number of them were also applying, and after speaking to them I realised how much of a potential advantage it would have to my future career.

I had decided by this point that though I was pursuing a science degree, and whilst biological science remains a great love of mine, I definitely wanted to follow a career in marketing. As a result, I needed something to make me stand out from such an oversaturated crowd, especially as I would be competing with business and economics students.


My biggest piece of advice is to always go with your gut instinct, regardless of what other people

Gurveena Kaur Sungha

BSc Zoology with Placement Year


Admittedly, it also helped to know that some of my friends would be doing a masters or placement year, so that I had a network of people to come back to for my final year.

I applied to numerous places and received an offer from a very well-established company for a sales based role in the countryside, where I would be working alone with no team base. I respectfully declined the offer as I knew it was not for me.

Many people tried to convince me to accept, but I went with my gut and declined even though I had no other offers lined up. It was a risk but it payed off, as I later got accepted by Microsoft. My biggest piece of advice is to always go with your gut instinct, regardless of what other people say.


My role as Project Manager involved managing many internal processes and discovering ways to improve their efficiency.

Gurveena Kaur Sungha

BSc Zoology with Placement Year


My route into Microsoft was also non-conventional. I had begun my application but not completed it, as I felt that as a scientist I wouldn’t even be considered. They emailed me during deadline week encouraging me to complete my application, and then I was offered a place. However, as I applied so late, all marketing roles were filled, and I was offered the role of Project Manager in Business Operations.

Another piece of advice is to always believe in yourself! I accepted the role, as the opportunity was far too big to refuse, and when I began my placement, I was informed by my manager that my Zoology degree was one of the reasons I was selected, because they were very intrigued by my non-typical resumé!

My role as Project Manager involved managing many internal processes and discovering ways to improve their efficiency.

I was also involved in stretch projects that encouraged young people, particularly girls, to pursue a career in technology. My placement year confirmed my desire to work in a business setting and heightened my desire to work in marketing even more, as even though I had one of the greatest years of my life at Microsoft, the role itself was definitely not for me. Remember that it’s ok to not enjoy things, it’s all part of finding out what you truly love!

After graduating, I secured a one-year placement at a digital media agency on Wall Street, New York, and acquired a Postgraduate Certificate in International Business alongside this too. My role was split between a Client Services Associate and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Strategist, which incorporated both Marketing and Environmental Science, and it was the best year of my life to date!

I was involved in producing CSR reports and annual reports for big name clients, and was able to travel around the US on weekends in my spare time, and it was the perfect start to my career.


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