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“Aspire taught me to believe in myself.”

     -Fatin, Customer engineer, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Photo of Microsoft employee Fatin
Growing up, I’d always wondered what opportunities lay outside my small Malaysian hometown. That’s one reason I went to the UK for graduate school—to explore worlds beyond my own. But when my studies introduced me to Microsoft’s Aspire Program, I realized I could explore a whole new career as well.

I was thrilled to be accepted, but I was a little apprehensive about jumping into such a large company. Many new hires struggle with impostor syndrome—a sense that they aren’t as qualified as others believe them to be—and I felt that coming on in full force.

Fortunately, the Aspire Program’s first year had structured exercises that helped us navigate Microsoft and engage with our new colleagues. Afterward, the program opened up, giving us a great deal of creative freedom to plan out our career path with the company. That sandbox environment distinguishes Microsoft from plenty of places I’ve worked in the past. Many employers offer resources, but the Aspire Program actually let me practice using them.

That practice ended up doing wonders for my sense of agency, and it even helped me overcome impostor syndrome. During my time in the program, I grew more confident in my own skills, more comfortable engaging with my network, and more prepared for the next stage of my career.