Azure Days, a parallel event, provides a real-life platform for female students to gain cloud certification and equip themselves for an ICT career
HONG KONG, 10 January 2017 — Microsoft Hong Kong today concluded GirlSpark Camp 2017, in conjunction with The Women’s Foundation and Ivey Business School, with great success. The annual event enables local female university students to better understand opportunities in ICT and to encourage more females to join the industry.
This year, Microsoft GirlSpark Camp 2017 provides students with a unique opportunity to learn about the latest cloud technology and its business applications, to gain real-life work experience and even potentially receive cloud certification. One of the new training modules offers Azure certification and the opportunity to compete for one of ten plus Evangelist jobs in the Microsoft Experience Center.
GirlSpark 2017 participants took part in the “Azure Days” business pitch training to improve their sales skills.
Broaden participants’ horizons and increase their understanding of the ICT industry
Hong Kong is determined to continue its evolution as an innovation economy and ICT is a key building block in that goal. In developed markets, women only take up less than one fourth of positions in the ICT industry, according to a Deloitte Global report. In Hong Kong, female students are also underrepresented in ICT-related courses, accounting for only approximately a third. One estimate suggests that in the coming several years females will play a more prominent role in the ICT industry, with the maturing of cloud technology and the ongoing rise of big data.
“Microsoft Hong Kong is a staunch advocate of diversity and has a proven track record in the fair and equitable development of the ICT industry in Hong Kong,” said Horace Chow, General Manager of Microsoft Hong Kong. “Now in its fourth year, Microsoft GirlSpark Camp is enthusiastically received by local students. Over the past year, over 40% of GirlSpark Camp alumni have joined the ICT industry after graduation, providing much-needed talent for local companies, including Microsoft. We will continue to increase public awareness of gender diversity in the ICT industry and take practical steps, with our partners, to proactively develop young, diverse talent in the industry,” he added.
In addition to leadership forums, where participants discussed industry development with 26 senior leaders from a range of different sectors, this year’s GirlSpark Camp 2017 also featured a business case exercise – a collaboration between Microsoft and Ivey Business School – where students were invited to help find practical solutions to real-life business scenarios around cloud.
In tandem with GirlSpark Camp, Microsoft’s inaugural Azure Days event is the company’s first-of-its-kind program for creating a company-wide culture that builds Azure awareness and grows consumption. As part of the Azure Days event in Hong Kong, GirlSpark Camp 2017 participants worked alongside Microsoft staff to meet partners and articulate the benefits of cloud technology. They met real customers and pitched solutions that help their organisations transform to meet the demands of the digital age. The goal of this hands-on experience is to ensure students are well-equipped to successfully apply for more than 10 internships in the Microsoft Experience Center.
“As in many other parts of the world, women are vastly under-represented in STEM subjects and careers in Hong Kong,” said Su-Mei Thompson, CEO of The Women’s Foundation. “To maximise women’s potential, we need to develop their interest and skills early on and expose them to female role models. This is why TWF is proud to be partnering with Microsoft and the ICT community to nurture the interest and passion of future female leaders in technology.”
“We are thrilled to continue our key role in GirlSpark Camp, in collaboration with Microsoft Hong Kong and The Women’s Foundation. In addition to giving female students a more informed understanding of the world of work, this event allows participants unique insight into what working at Microsoft and in the ICT industry is really like,” said Macy Chui, Director, Ivey Case Center (Asia).
“Microsoft GirlSpark Camp 2017 has opened my eyes to a whole new world of opportunity and has given me the confidence to consider completely new and different avenues in my future. I particularly enjoyed the opportunity to spend time with some inspirational, engaging leaders from Hong Kong’s corporate sector. I would encourage all students to participate in Microsoft GirlSpark Camp. The Azure Days session also helped me learn more about the latest cloud technology especially Azure and how companies can embrace digital transformation through cloud,” said Radhika Narang, Microsoft GirlSpark Camp 2017 participant.
“As a participant in Microsoft GirlSpark Camp 2014, I am an example of just how rewarding the experience can be. GirlSpark was the launching pad for my career and led me to an exciting job with Accenture. With a mix of theoretical and practical exercises and insights, I was empowered to become part of the most exciting industry in Hong Kong and I look forward very much to mentoring other girls who follow in my footsteps into ICT,” said Vivienne Cheung, Microsoft GirlSpark Camp 2014.
Vivienne Cheung , GirlSpark Camp alumni (right) and Radhika Narang, GirlSpark Camp current participant (left) explained how GirlSpark campaign help them to improve their career network and ability.
This is the fourth year of Microsoft GirlSpark Camp. 60 female undergraduate students from eight local universities participated in the four-day camp, close to 70% of whom are studying non-stem subjects. Later this year, Microsoft and its partners will together provide more than 30 summer holiday internships and full-time job opportunities via its Mentorship Programme, to provide further IT career training and development and continue to promote women’s participation in the ICT industry.
(From left to right) Macy Chui, Director of the Ivey Case Center Asia, Flora Yu, Cloud + Enterprise Business Group Lead, Microsoft Hong Kong, Su-Mei Thompson, CEO of The Women’s Foundation, Horace Chow, General Manager of Microsoft Hong Kong, Radhika Narang, GirlSpark Camp current participant and Vivienne Cheung , GirlSpark Camp alumni
GirlSpark Camp is a ground-breaking four-day program run by Microsoft, The Women’s Foundation and Ivey Business School that inspires university women to pursue career opportunities in technology related fields. The program, which is run exclusively in Hong Kong, is now in its fourth year and has benefited a total of 230 female students from 8 universities across Hong Kong and Macau.
Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) is the leading platform and productivity company for the mobile-first, cloud-first world, and its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.
About The Women’s Foundation
The Women’s Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of women and girls in Hong Kong through groundbreaking research, impactful and innovative community programs, and education and advocacy. In addition to its partnership with Microsoft for GirlSpark, the Foundation provides scholarships and hosts speaker and panel events to encourage women and girls to pursue studies and careers in the STEM subjects. For more information, go to www.thewomensfoundationhk.org.
About Ivey Business School
Ivey Business School – Asia (www.ivey.com.hk) at Western University, the first North American business school to establish an Asian campus in Hong Kong in 1998, is Canada’s leading provider of relevant, innovative and comprehensive business education. Ivey Asia offers a top-ranked Executive MBA program, as well as a diverse range of Executive Education programs to over 1,000 executives annually. Renowned for its case method teaching, Ivey Asia is recognized as one of just four exclusive Case Study Method schools globally and is the world’s foremost producer of Asian case studies and largest producer of business cases after Harvard Business School. The Case Study Method draws on extensive research and business experience, where Ivey Asia faculty provide an engaging and intensive educational experience, equipping graduates with the skills and capabilities needed to tackle leadership challenges in today’s complex business world. Ivey also offers world-renowned undergraduate, Masters in Science, and doctoral degree programs at its Campus in London, Ontario, Canada.
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