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Mary McHale, Microsoft

Mary McHale, Principal Group Manager, Office International at the Microsoft European Development Centre Ireland, describes her career highlights.

I started at Microsoft in 1991 as a Software Test Engineer immediately after completing my Diploma. I later completed a degree and an MBA part time.

A turning point

One key turning point was when I became a people manager. I really enjoyed the technical aspects of my engineering role, but had come to a crossroads in my career. This was a big decision and I sought lots of advice. I had a great manager who coached me through the early days, and my career has gone from strength to strength since then.

Career highlights

My biggest professional achievement to date is managing the team that delivered international versions of Office 12 into 80+ markets. This was the largest-scale project undertaken to date by the Office software team here in Ireland.

Advice for graduates

Demonstrate a high level of engagement and lots of initiative, and continue to invest in developing your skills once you enter the workplace.

Key skills for future leaders

Strong interpersonal skills are key to being a successful business leader. These enable you to form productive professional relationships with a diverse set of personalities to get the business results you want. You will be more effective at collaborating with people, influencing people, and inspiring people to follow your ideas.

Mary McHale has a Diploma in Computer Science from Dublin Institute of Technology, a BSc in Information Systems from Trinity College Dublin, and an MBA from University College Dublin (2000).