Microsoft holds training program pilot at NDSU
Published August 7, 2012
Young professionals from around the country lived and learned on the NDSU campus this summer. They were participants in a training program Microsoft offered to its nationwide business partners for the first time.
The company brought 27 trainees to NDSU July 9-Aug. 3 for the Microsoft Dynamics AX Fast TrAX Summer Institute pilot program. The live-in training program is for new young professional employees of businesses that sell and service Microsoft Dynamics AX. The program is designed to quickly bring new employees to a level of productivity that normally takes months to achieve.
This new approach to training called for a different type of setting. Sara Gjerdevig, Senior Partner Development Manager at Microsoft’s Fargo location, said a college campus like NDSU’s was a good fit.
The setting allowed participants, many of whom are recent college graduates, to live, learn and build community. “Everything is right here, allowing us to provide the environment necessary to prepare these new professionals,” she said.
NDSU’s Living Learning Center West served as home base. Participants lived in the campus apartments and attended training sessions in a building classroom. There they studied the new Microsoft Dynamics AX product and how it works with other Microsoft products. They also worked on consulting skills, such as communicating with customers and dealing with difficult situations.
Participants had access to the Wallman Wellness Center and Memorial Union services such as a coffee shop, food court, convenience store and ATM. Microsoft also used Memorial Union to host social events, such as a billiards and bowling night.
The setting made it easy for participants to study in the evenings and on weekends, Gjerdevig said. Within 60 days of completing the training program, they are required to pass at least one of two challenging industry-standard certification tests.
It also helped them build relationships with colleagues from around the country. “The camaraderie and connections with each other will really help them as they go into their careers,” Gjerdevig said.
“We were very happy to have Microsoft’s business partners on campus this summer,” said NDSU President Dean L. Bresciani. “Microsoft was seeking an environment conducive to learning and building community for this first-ever program, and we were thrilled to share our facilities for that purpose. We look forward to more collaborations like this in the future.”
Microsoft is considering expanding the program in the future to help their partners increase their capacity more quickly and efficiently.