Posted by Nour Bashar Al-Khouja, Academic Programs Manager
The Middle East is experiencing a “youth bulge”, with over 30% of its population between the ages of 15 and 29. In order for this generation to flourish, we need to find opportunities that make a real impact in improving their employability and entrepreneurship, education and digital inclusion. Microsoft’s Student Partner (MSP) program is one way we are supporting the youth in Saudi Arabia and globally to build their skills and advance their careers by engaging with them during their student years. I’m particularly passionate about the program having started my career as an MSP.
The MSP program gives university students with a passion for technology the opportunity to develop real-world skills and resources to help them in their future careers. We select a group of student applicants to join the global MSP team every year, and these MSPs are recognised as technology leaders and Microsoft representatives at their universities, with access to our tools, technologies and training.
Mohammed Al-Mawsami, a Computer Science student at Taibah University in Yanbu and a MSP explains exactly what an MSP is. “A Microsoft Student Partner is a college student who enjoys outstanding technological expertise and leadership skills among their fellow students. They represent Microsoft in their colleges and are the ones who help their fellow students and share their expertise with them in all matters that have to do with technology, and they are the ones who link their colleges to Microsoft.”
He adds that beyond this, MSPs develop software, deploy it through the Windows Store and Windows Phone Store and participate in national and international competitions. “Microsoft Student Partners enjoy a lot of benefits and support, most important of which – for me, at least – is direct contact with Microsoft staff and other Microsoft Student Partners the world over, which enables us to exchange experiences and build productive relationships. Another benefit of this great program is that all of Microsoft’s software is available to Microsoft Student Partners for free.”
Globally, we have more than 7 000 MSPs from more than 100 countries, who reach over a million other students each year. Many MSPs go on to be highly successful in their careers. Now we are again calling on Saudi Arabian students to become part of this global community and gain the experience of conducting workshops with their fellow students, developing apps and engaging in various competitions and events.
Maria Almarzooq, a graduate student from King Abdul-Aziz University who is majoring in Computer Science at Taibah University, has seized the opportunity to become an MSP. Maria says, “Being an MSP has changed my university life and makes it the most interesting among all my colleagues.” She adds that she learned things that no university courses can teach, like event planning, presentation skills and many technical skills, which made it easy for her to find a good job. Mohammed most enjoyed having direct communication with Microsoft employees and other MSPS around the world to share their experiences and build productive relationships. He adds, “Being invited to attend the MSP World Summit in Seattle and taking part in the Imagine Cup was an unforgettable experience and helped me to strengthen my confidence and abilities, including technical expertise and leadership skills.”
Mohammed Al-Mousemi says, “The day my application was accepted was the happiest day of my life. My technical skills, my English, my communication skills and my presentation ability have all vastly improved and I achieved a lot of things that boosted my confidence.” He ends, “The Microsoft Student Partners program is a gateway through which anyone seeking excellence must pass through.”
We are looking for students like these who are proactive, committed, fast learners who have good communication skills in Arabic and English, as well as a real passion for technology, to join the MSP community in Saudi Arabia.
Students who feel they fit this profile and still have one or more years left before they graduate should visit www.microsoftstudentpartners.com for more information or fill in this form to apply. The can also follow @MSFTImagineSA on Twitter for the latest news and updates related to our student programs.