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Microsoft worldwide business strategist

Sandeep Misra, '93

Sandeep Misra’s climb through the ranks of the 40,000 employees at Microsoft’s Seattle, Washington, headquarters is structured like a ladder chart that demonstrates his belief in following your passion to get ahead: senior finance manager, senior program manager, senior business strategy manager, senior business development and marketing manager, director of worldwide customer strategy.

Twenty-five years ago, Misra was earning a degree in business administration at Mesa and only dreaming of such a career. He landed at Mesa because his father, Prasanta Misra, was a physics professor and the head of the Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences.

“I thoroughly enjoyed college there. People ask me about attending a small college and I tell them that you don’t necessarily have to attend a Top 10 college to make strides in the world,” Misra said. “The professors were very well credentialed and the smaller classrooms were better for having direct contact with professors.”

Misra went on from Mesa to earn an MBA at the University of Denver. He gravitated to the telecom industry. With the dot-com boom in full swing and work in anything to do with the internet was the place to be for an up-and-coming business major, Misra made his move to Seattle.

For the past 14 years he has been with Microsoft steadily climbing, but zigging and zagging some, as he followed new interests that earned him promotions from finance to marketing and to building business development strategies for some of the 79 million worldwide businesses Microsoft partners with.

“You need to understand the industries and figure out where the industry is headed. We think through what Microsoft can offer them and what is the latest trend,” Misra said of his current on-the-job duties.

Misra said if he has any advice for CMU students wanting to make it to the top echelon of companies like Google, Apple and Microsoft, it would be the same thing he would tell himself as a college student 25 years ago, “Don’t worry about finding that perfect job right after you graduate. Don’t worry about your mistakes. Be a learner every day. Don’t be a know-it-all. Just figure out what you are truly passionate about and double down, triple down, on that subject. That is how you will get noticed.”


Written by Nancy Lofholm