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This is the next segment of our blog series highlighting Microsoft Learn Student Ambassadors who achieved the Gold milestone, the highest status level attainable, and have recently graduated from university. Each blog in the series features a different student and highlights their accomplishments, their experience with the Student Ambassador community, and what they’re up to now.
Today we meet Prnika Bakshi, who is from India and recently graduated from Jain University with a bachelor’s degree in information & technology.
Responses have been edited for clarity and length.
When you joined the Student Ambassador community in 2020, did you have specific goals you wanted to reach, such as developing a particular skill or quality?
I didn't set any goals before joining this community, but I figured I'd be networking with new people and learning more technical skills as well as learning about Azure. Once I got here, however, seeing the enthusiasm of my fellow Student Ambassadors, I decided to help others who are unfamiliar with tech tools, what a community is, or why it is important to attend technical events. My fellow Student Ambassadors and I made it a point to host a technical event every month so that students who are not members of this community could learn about it and about different tools because technology is rapidly evolving.
The Student Ambassador community has influenced me in a variety of ways. It was a fantastic opportunity, and being a part of it taught me that we need to strike a balance between technical and soft skills in all aspects of our lives, especially as we advance in our careers.. Now I'm comfortable speaking up, expressing myself, and assisting others. Most importantly, I learned about Microsoft's incredible culture. Overall, this was one of the best experiences of my life, and everything I learned here will stay with me in the future.
What are the accomplishments that you’re proudest of and why?
My greatest accomplishment is that I was able to make an impact in this community, and those who did not know about the Student Ambassador program became aware of it by my organising technical events and small hackathons. I was also helpful to others by ensuring they learned different tech tools regardless of their college studies. I also won two Microsoft hosted hackathons, which provided me with incredible opportunities.
As a member of this community, I have many other accomplishments I am proud of. As a speaker, I was invited to many tech events. The first was the largest Cloud Summit, where I spoke about scalable WebApps. Another event was with Microsoft Reactor, where I spoke about the importance of Azure. I was also a mentor was invited by many hackathons as a speaker and judge, including HacktheNorth, California Hacks, and more during the span of 2020-2022.The best part was that I got to work on a project focused on Imagine Cup participants, where we as a team created a Discord Bot template where desired roles could be assigned to competitors using Power Platform and other Azure tools. The Bot's role was to validate a competitor's email against the database of registered IC Competitors and grant them appropriate channel access rights. During myhackathon participation that I won, I got the opportunity to develop a prototype called HEART app that will help to connect rural areas in India to stay fit. Another project I worked on as an Ambassador was regarding integration of Cortana on Teams for desktop that will balance the hybrid culture of employees working from home at Microsoft..I'm grateful that this all happened because I was a part of this community.
What are you doing now that you’ve graduated?
There is no strategy. I will most likely work because I want to gain valuable experience in my field. After that, I'll decide what to do next —whether I should pursue further education, or continue working, I'm just going with the flow. I am currently receiving offers from various companies, so I'm filtering out what matches my interests and expertise. Hopefully I might end up working at Microsoft.
If you could redo your time as a Student Ambassador, is there anything you would have done differently?
I would have made other people more aware of the program by mentoring them and informing them about various aspects of this community, such as how technology is evolving, why we should be a part of it, and how it can help us grow in the future. If I had the opportunity to redo things, I would gladly mentor others.
If you were to describe the community to a student who is interested in joining, what would you say to convince them to join?
Sign up for Microsoft Learn Student Ambassadors if you want to learn new things, discover new tech tools, grow your soft skills, start your future in a path where everyone is willing to help you, and much more. This is much more than a neighbourhood. You will learn a lot that will help you develop your personality and prepare you for today's competitive market, where you will be able to differentiate yourself from others.
What advice would you give to new Student Ambassadors?
Do not rush into anything. Achieving a certain level takes time [Editor’s note: students must accomplish certain milestones before advancing through the levels of Alpha, Beta, and Gold, the last of which can only be attained via nomination by the program’s Community Program Managers or by other Gold Student Ambassadors and through a subsequent review process].
We can't get everything done in a few seconds. Simply be willing to learn. The more you learn, the more you will be able to assist others, discuss, and network. Things will automatically work in your favour, and you will advance. Simply enjoy this community. Make a plan, or simply journal about the things you should do in this community so that you can have an impact and set an example for others. Simply be consistent and always be willing to assist others. Trust me, everything will go pretty smoothly!
Do you have a motto in life, a guiding principle that drives you?
"Don't become a football of others’ opinions and enjoy being in this moment."
I always keep this in my mind. Do those things that you like, don't be bothered by what others will say, and the future will be great if you focus on your present!
What is one random fact few people know about you?
I can write/read with my eyes blindfolded :p
I am a Thangka artist as well (Buddhist painting).
Good luck to you in all your endeavors, Prnika!