Microsoft Finance Rotation Program

Newdog25's picture
Rank: Chimp | 3

I have an interview with Microsoft for their Finance Rotational Program coming up and was wondering if anyone else has gone through the process or is currently working there. Can someone explain if this program is "prestigious" and how it compares to programs like GE, J&J, etc. since I cannot tell if it is a leadership program at all. Thanks!

Comments (28)

Sep 29, 2013

Nobody's program really compares in prestige to GE's tbh. The program is going to be great. The company's name is great. Really what matters is where you want to go after it. You won't be able to go for a top MBA immediately after the program, but 4-5 years down the line with great performance and experiences it's definitely possible.

GE really sits above everyone else as far as dev programs go for finance. J&J is pretty close. Microsoft is probably in the top 10-20 programs, but the programs are so similar it really comes down to the company name. To get an idea of how the program itself is, you'll have to talk to people that have gone through it, search LinkedIn to see the career paths of people who went through the rotation program, and look at the different elements of it.

Sep 29, 2013

@D M
What are the usual exit opportunities for J&J FLDP?

Sep 29, 2013

Same as any other top FDP:

1) move into more-permanent role with the company and keep working your way up the ladder

1a) /while getting PT MBA

2) lateral to another company

3) work for another 2-4 years, then go for FT MBA (if you want to switch industries, switch companies, or your career progress isn't looking great)

Those are the ones I know. The greatest value of an FDP is for people that want to stay with that company. If you're going to a top program like J&Js, your chances at a top b-school are better but still not great. You have to have good experiences, excellent performance, and it helps if you do something substantial on the side. Of course, top MBA admissions is a crapshoot in the first place.

Sep 29, 2013

@D M

Thanks for sharing your comments about Msft and other top FLDP programs.

I am currently considering career paths through a finance rotational programs or audit at a Big 4. I know that going through a rotational program is probably a much better option in terms of MBA prospects and moving up the corporate ladder, but I am worried about being stuck in technology if I start out at a tech company. Should I go through a finance rotational program at a tech company if I am not that interested in technology, even if it does carry the name and everything? FYI, it's not that I don't know or like tech, but rather that it isn't my first option and can't see myself doing it forever.

By the way, what are the other top FLDP programs. Do you mind sharing this information too?

Sep 29, 2013

I should caveat this is all based on research/talking to people, I don't have any experience working as an FDP/in corpfin.

There's no ranking on top FDP-type programs. Pretty much GE is known as the top, J&J is usually close behind (not sure why tbh - I don't particularly like the 2-year, 2-rotation structure, much prefer the 2-year 4-rotation). After that it seems to come down to the company name. Microsoft has a great brand, so that's something great to put on your resume.

You also have to feel this out by talking to FDPs/people. Some of the companies have finance development programs, but don't put much focus on them (generally the banks like MS/Barclay's - they focus more on their bankers. Though that's not to say there's no value in the program). Others put a shitload of focus on them (see: GE, UTC, Dell).

As far as exit ops, that's a crapshoot. If you have an option to do audit at Big 4, that might be a better route for getting into the industry you want. The major value behind an FDP is within the company (building an internal corporate network for yourself). It usually puts you on an accelerated path within that company. It's really hard for me to answer this, though.

If you're planning on going to a top MBA program, it might be worthwhile to do the FDP. The thing is, you're going to have to work for likely 5 years before getting your MBA. Some can do it in 4, but that's tough. You have to perform exceptionally well over the course of the 4 years, too. You can't check out at any point or you're screwing yourself. I have no idea what the path from Big 4 to MBA looks like, so again not sure what to tell ya.

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Sep 29, 2013

These exit opportunities are seemingly solid. Speaking of moving up the corporate ladder (accelerated path), do you think you can post the average length of each position (Analyst - Director) in the terms of year and performance after FLDP? If you're not 100% certain, you can still make an estimated information at your best. Base salary can be included if you have the information, no matter what if it's outdated or not.
I've been told that FP&A is often boring at the junior level, so how do you get an opportunity to do something "more substantial" on the side? Corporate development projects? Upper level FP&A work?

Are your skills transferable when switching to technology companies (think Google, Oracle, etc) after two years of FLDP at J&J?

Out of curiosity, where/what do you work?

Appreciate your time.

Nov 3, 2013
D M:

Some of the companies have finance development programs, but don't put much focus on them (generally the banks like MS/Barclay's - they focus more on their bankers. Though that's not to say there's no value in the program).

Curious as to what you mean by this?
Are you saying that the upper level finance positions at the company are filled by former investment bankers?

Or that they don't train the finance employees?

Learn More

Side-by-side comparison of top modeling training courses + exclusive discount through WSO here.

Sep 30, 2013

i went from big 4 to corp fin at disney. the rate at which you get promoted will be dependent on your performance, the company's process, and the company's overall business performance. if your performance is good, your best hope is to spend 2-3 years at each level and move up to the next spot. if the company is doing really well and organically creating new finance/accounting roles, you will have a shot at moving up the ladder faster and ultimately reaching higher levels. you could be an all-star performer, but if the company isn't growing rapidly and people above you aren't quitting, then guess what, you aren't getting promoted. one other note regarding performance, in the bigger, well recognized f500 companies, you will find that pretty much everyone is really solid, smart, and capable of advancing. it's going to be difficult to prove through your performance that you should be promoted over someone who has more years of work experience than you. that's why the promotion process in corp fin often becomes a waiting game. how long have you been there? is there an opening for you? etc.

if you join a company through their fldp program, you will have an advantage in the promotion department early on, but after you make senior, this advantage will become less and less relative to your peers who are non-fldp.

personally, it can be a bit frustrating working in corporate finance. if you are the type who really wants to get ahead, is more than willing to work long hours, and will do whatever it takes to improve and advance, the culture of corporate finance might not be for you. you trade those big upsides and fast promotion schedules, for significantly reduced risk. the upside is that your skills are highly transferable, even to different industries, and your job security is pretty much as high as it can get in this economy. the one big downside is that the climb up the ladder is going to be rather slow and boring at times. the pay is good, but you won't be living large and buying a vacation house until you are 12-15 years in, if not 15-20 years.

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Nov 3, 2013

Do any of you know if Microsoft is done with their recruiting for Finance Rotation Program?

Best Response
Nov 3, 2013

This is the path most of the FLDP's at my company take. Keep in mind that it gets more competitive the higher up you get since there are fewer roles with more candidates, and people often make lateral moves within each level. Obviously very few make it to the top since the company only has one CFO; most make it to the group controller / finance director level or move on to another company.

FLDP 3 yrs
Senior Analyst / Sr Accountant 2-3 yrs
Lead Analyst / Accounting Manager 2-3 yrs
Plant Controller 2-3 yrs
Division Controller 2-3 yrs
Finance Director 2-3 yrs
Group Controller 2-3 yrs
VP of Finance 2-3 yrs
Senior VP / Senior Manager 2-3 yrs
CFO

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Sep 29, 2013

Damn, that's a pretty steady path. At one point would you say people stop getting regularly promoted after 2-3 years?

Nov 3, 2013

The people who are identified as the company's top talent switch jobs every 2-3 years on average, typically closer to the 2 year mark. The company encourages and to an extent actually directs and takes a top down approach on these promotions. In each of my last 2 jobs with the company, I was approached after 2 years in the role and encouraged to apply for an opening. The interview was essentially a formality and in a lot of cases the company has a plan for an employee's next 2-3 jobs if it is a person they want to be in management.

Again, it does get complicated as you rise higher in the company since there are fewer positions at those levels and increased competition. There could be upwards of around 75 plant controller jobs in the US, but only around a third of that many division controller roles and declining from there as you move up. But in all honesty, it's not uncommon to see people hit the plant controller level by age 30 and and at that level you're pulling in a low six figure base plus 15-20% bonus. As long as the person is smart, has decent people skills, and has a reputation for getting results, you will typically see that person continue to climb the ladder every couple of years.

One thing to note is that you'll commonly see people start taking more lateral roles after they reach a certain level. Someone may go from the controller of a small plant to a big plant or move from the division controller of one business unit to another. Others may decide to transfer into M&A, Treasury, or corporate finance roles also. People may decide to settle in to a role at some point or may leave the company for a better opportunity, but it's really up to the individual and depends on their skills.

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Sep 29, 2013

Sure thing, that sounds a lot like what I'd expect. Thanks for the info man! SBs for those posts

Nov 3, 2013
Industry84:

The people who are identified as the company's top talent switch jobs every 2-3 years on average, typically closer to the 2 year mark. The company encourages and to an extent actually directs and takes a top down approach on these promotions. In each of my last 2 jobs with the company, I was approached after 2 years in the role and encouraged to apply for an opening. The interview was essentially a formality and in a lot of cases the company has a plan for an employee's next 2-3 jobs if it is a person they want to be in management.

Again, it does get complicated as you rise higher in the company since there are fewer positions at those levels and increased competition. There could be upwards of around 75 plant controller jobs in the US, but only around a third of that many division controller roles and declining from there as you move up. But in all honesty, it's not uncommon to see people hit the plant controller level by age 30 and and at that level you're pulling in a low six figure base plus 15-20% bonus. As long as the person is smart, has decent people skills, and has a reputation for getting results, you will typically see that person continue to climb the ladder every couple of years.

One thing to note is that you'll commonly see people start taking more lateral roles after they reach a certain level. Someone may go from the controller of a small plant to a big plant or move from the division controller of one business unit to another. Others may decide to transfer into M&A, Treasury, or corporate finance roles also. People may decide to settle in to a role at some point or may leave the company for a better opportunity, but it's really up to the individual and depends on their skills.

75 plant controllers? Where the heck do you work? haha. PM me if you want. I'm working in mfg too, and we have less than 10 plants which means we have less than 10 plant controllers. Does your company have assistant controllers are well?

In my experience, most people plateau at manager. Only top performers are going to become Controllers, Directors, etc. If you stay at a company long enough you are bound to make manager, but anything above that isn't a given. My company is consistent with the new job every 2 years for high performers.

Nov 3, 2013
GoIllini:
Industry84:

The people who are identified as the company's top talent switch jobs every 2-3 years on average, typically closer to the 2 year mark. The company encourages and to an extent actually directs and takes a top down approach on these promotions. In each of my last 2 jobs with the company, I was approached after 2 years in the role and encouraged to apply for an opening. The interview was essentially a formality and in a lot of cases the company has a plan for an employee's next 2-3 jobs if it is a person they want to be in management.

Again, it does get complicated as you rise higher in the company since there are fewer positions at those levels and increased competition. There could be upwards of around 75 plant controller jobs in the US, but only around a third of that many division controller roles and declining from there as you move up. But in all honesty, it's not uncommon to see people hit the plant controller level by age 30 and and at that level you're pulling in a low six figure base plus 15-20% bonus. As long as the person is smart, has decent people skills, and has a reputation for getting results, you will typically see that person continue to climb the ladder every couple of years.

One thing to note is that you'll commonly see people start taking more lateral roles after they reach a certain level. Someone may go from the controller of a small plant to a big plant or move from the division controller of one business unit to another. Others may decide to transfer into M&A, Treasury, or corporate finance roles also. People may decide to settle in to a role at some point or may leave the company for a better opportunity, but it's really up to the individual and depends on their skills.

75 plant controllers? Where the heck do you work? haha. PM me if you want. I'm working in mfg too, and we have less than 10 plants which means we have less than 10 plant controllers. Does your company have assistant controllers are well?

In my experience, most people plateau at manager. Only top performers are going to become Controllers, Directors, etc. If you stay at a company long enough you are bound to make manager, but anything above that isn't a given. My company is consistent with the new job every 2 years for high performers.

It is a good sized F200, $20b+ in revenue. The FLDP's and young talent hired at the company are expected to make plant controller at a minimum and they are typically promoted every 2 years. That's not to say that this is the case for every employee hired, as there are many who have been in roles for a number of years and aren't on any kind of "fast track". The company has a very organized and structured talent development process, and if they select you to be in that pipeline you are basically going to be promoted every couple years unless you do something very stupid.

No assistant controllers to my knowledge, but feel free to PM me as well. Could be interesting to hear about your company and I'll be open on sharing more through PM.

Nov 5, 2013

For non-target schools, I believe there is an initial phone screening, and if you pass that Microsoft will fly you to Redmond for a super day. Usually between 3 and 5 interviews depending on full time or internships.

The program itself consists of four six - month rotations in different types of finance. Your are guaranteed international travel in your first year, and have an opportunity to apply for full 6-month international rotation. The rotations are functionally aligned with different types of finance skills, and you're placed in different engineering/corporate functions for each rotation.

The program itself is extremely highly supported by senior leadership. The CFO will regularly mention the program, and senior leadership actively seek out current rotation analysts and graduated analysts.

Both analysts and interns will have an opportunity to work with senior leadership with some rotations have more 'visibility' than others . I've heard of both interns and full time analysts working on materials that are reviewed by the CEO, CFO, board of directors, and other senior executives.

Happy to answer questions in a way that (ideally) won't betray my identity. :)

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Nov 5, 2013

Any idea what their corporate email format is?

Nov 5, 2013

I PM'd and SB'd you.

Nov 5, 2013

There is no standard format for corporate emails - there are simply too many employees/vendors at the company. It would be practically impossible to guess the email alias of someone who isn't brand new. I think recently new employees have been assigned 3 letters from their first name and 3 from their last. (i.e. Mister Giggles => [email protected]om)

Nov 5, 2013
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Nov 5, 2013