School Panto, Neanderthals and Artificial Intelligence are covered in this informative interview with Emily.
Your full name and years at Chipping Campden School
Emily Catherine Gotch, 2007 - 2014 What A Levels did you study at CCS?
History, Biology, Applied Business, English Language & Literature What was your favourite subject/ teacher?
My favourite teachers would have to be Mr Burton, Mr Steeds, Mrs Gill, Mr Brown, and Mrs Wateridge (most lovely tutor ever). I can still quote some of the life-lessons this bunch would come out with, and still readily adhere to them. What is your best/funniest memory of Chipping Campden School?
It has to be that last Friday before Christmas each year, where you and all your friends come in non-school uniform to watch the school panto. Mr Steeds in a dress - our annual panto drag queen, isn’t my “best” memory per se, but it has to be one of the funniest. You studied Anthropology at UCL, what was it like studying in London and what did you enjoy most about your course?
As much as I loved The Cotswolds, I was eager to experience the cultural melting pot of London. The big smoke brings with it a wealth of opportunities, both in terms of career and somewhat atypical student life. The thing I enjoyed most about my course had to be the privilege of studying abroad at the University of California. As part of my Anthropology degree, I had a year to taste American college life, from joining a sorority to experiencing political divides during the US election. What aspect of Anthropology did you focus on?
By the final year, I specialised in Human Behavioural Ecology, an aspect of Biological Anthropology. Here, we seek to understand Darwinian paradoxes: deciphering evolutionary explanations for seemingly maladaptive human behaviours. I have to say that it was Mr Brown’s enthusiasm for Neanderthals that sparked my first interest in this. Can you tell us about the Lloyds Banking Group scholars programme you were on and how it helped you during your time at University?
Each year Lloyds Banking Group offer fifteen low-income students from nine universities a complete package of financial support: a business mentor, the opportunity to develop employability skills and two paid internships with free accommodation. Alongside this, they support you in gaining 100 hours of volunteering every year across a range of UK registered charities. It’s a fantastic scholarship, I encourage everybody applying to university to check out the Lloyds Scholars
website to see if they are eligible. How did you land your first full-time job at Microsoft? What skills were required and what work experience did you have that helped?
All work experience helps. If you are leaving university with some proper internships under your belt, then you are at an advantage when it comes to graduate programme applications. FTSE 100 companies want to see candidates who are intelligent and
driven, with evidence of this. If you can demonstrate notable impacts that you made during your work experience, even better.
Any interview tips?
My biggest tip is to take advantage of the interviewers’ final question, which is usually to ask you if you
have any questions. This is your opportunity to work out if the company is a good fit for you, as well as you being a good fit for the company. Ask about the company culture, career progression opportunities, a day in the life… etc. Be authentic and you will know.Describe a typical working day?
There really is no typical working day! I could be with my clients running cloud architecture workshops or hackathons, promoting our work through the press or internal communications, presenting the numbers back to my director, or taking time out to develop my skills through off-site training. I could even be sitting at home in my pyjamas working on partner business strategies. Working-from-home/“flexible working” is pretty big at Microsoft. How do you see AI helping in the classroom?
A simple example is using Microsoft’s Presentation Translator, a free PowerPoint plug-in that enables real-time subtitles at the bottom of the slides whilst teachers speak. Able to translate over 60 different languages, it’s a brilliant resource for deaf students and those learning in non-native languages.
Individual students, teachers, schools and even governmental departments will embrace technology at different rates, as they perceive the value of it for their communities. It is not merely ‘digitisation’ of existing resources or teaching practices, instead, it is adding a new layer of value by delivering data-driven insights and tools to enable access to learning that simply could not be achieved otherwise. As this happens, more students will be enabled and empowered to learn, who in turn may go on to be the creators of even smarter tools to help educate the students of tomorrow. What do you enjoy most about your job?
Learning something new every single day. I am lucky enough to be part of a group of 130,000 nerds, in the most positive way possible! There’s always somebody smarter or more knowledgeable who is happy to teach me a better way of doing things. We are incentivised on helping each other to achieve more, and as an Early in Career employee, I benefit from huge investment into my development.What advice would you give your 18-year old self now?
I’m going to magpie some advice I received when choosing my GCSEs. Keep choosing the subjects or vocations that energise you. If you choose things that interest you, you’ll find it easier to put in the work and excel. Do what you love, love what you do.