University Relations Lead

Last updated 26 days ago
Location:Atlanta, Georgia
Job Type:Full Time

This position, based in the new Microsoft Atlanta Engineering office, will be responsible for driving partnership with six Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in the Southeast region. You will be part of a small team within Microsoft’s Corporate and Legal Affairs group that works across Microsoft to drive relationships with key universities in North America.

This is an exciting opportunity to help surface areas of opportunity and develop best practices for how we ‘show up’ with, and support, a selected set of institutions.

You will play a key role in engaging directly with diverse stakeholders within Microsoft and at the universities. You will work closely with existing Microsoft teams to help them achieve their goals; you will develop deep insights into universities’ needs through on-the-ground presence, and will be responsible for clearly documenting and communicating these audience insights back to the University Relations team, which consists of a director, three additional leads, and a program manager.

You will report directly to the Senior Director of University Relations and will help coordinate Microsoft’s strategy with 6 HBCUs. An ability to operate independently, proactively, and intuitively in a shifting environment is essential. 0-30% travel is required throughout the Southeast region and travel to Seattle Headquarters as needed. Note – Microsoft is currently limiting travel to essential travel only and this role will not resume travel until this company restriction is lifted.


  • Engage directly with department heads, student groups, start-up labs, CIOs, Provosts, and Deans on 6 campuses. Serve, as needed, as a point of contact to direct university stakeholders to the right internal Microsoft stakeholders. Provide systematic input back to the University Relations team on Microsoft’s engagement with these campuses.Document current best practices with universities that should be amplified and elevate opportunities for improvement back to the University Relations team.
  • Surface and elevate university needs and opportunities that do not fit into current Microsoft outreach back to the University Relations team. Based on this information, propose new strategic initiatives to the University Relations team and internal stakeholders.
  • Lead virtual internal Microsoft stakeholder communities aligned to these strategic universities; facilitate the sharing of information and best practices within these internal teams, encouraging creative new ways to work together to achieve Microsoft goals. Find ways to incentivize out-of-the box thinking and help steer collaborative efforts among team members to completion.
  • Highlight successes from these new v-teams; help invent effective ways to share information between teams and practically document and scale best practices across other universities.
  • Help implement overall University Relations strategy across your university teams.
  • Provide technical expertise to broker Microsoft’s connections with university students, developers, and academic research communities.
  • Demonstrate exceptional people capabilities, ensuring diverse perspectives throughout.


The ideal candidate will have strong customer-facing skills, executive presence, the ability to think broadly, and the presence to help bring all of Microsoft’s assets into one integrated agenda with universities. They will have the ability to understand cultural normal at all levels of the university community – from Presidents and Provosts to professional staff and students, and the ability to navigate, engage, and influence a broad constituent base within Microsoft.

Qualifications include:

  • 7 years of proven thought leadership and results working with academic communities is required
  • Experience with Historically Black Colleges and Universities is required
  • Understanding of the university environment and the current dynamics of the tech sector highly preferred
  • Experience presenting strategy and results to executives
  • Experience working in a technical field a plus
  • Commitment to developing, communicating, and executing against a shared vision, gaining support from a wide array of internal/external stakeholders
  • Ability to think strategically, intuitively, empathetically, and to solve unstructured problems
  • Ability to analyze complex issues and work effectively across teams
  • Ability to plan, develop, and articulate strategies for engaging with key audiences and to bring customer insights back to internal stakeholders in a useable form
  • Strong ability to represent Microsoft and build trusted external relationships
  • Demonstrated ability to facilitate an effective virtual community; track record of excellent teamwork and collaboration in a large organization across multiple teams
  • Strong verbal, written, project management, and time management skills
  • Willingness and ability to travel to the extent necessary to accomplish objectives
  • Good judgment, strong interpersonal skills, and a good sense of humor
  • Bachelor’s Degree is Required - Masters or Ph.D. a plus.

Microsoft is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to age, ancestry, color, family or medical care leave, gender identity or expression, genetic information, marital status, medical condition, national origin, physical or mental disability, political affiliation, protected veteran status, race, religion, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, or any other characteristic protected by applicable laws, regulations and ordinances. We also consider qualified applicants regardless of criminal histories, consistent with legal requirements. If you need assistance and/or a reasonable accommodation due to a disability during the application or the recruiting process, please send a request via the Accommodation request form.

Benefits/perks listed below may vary depending on the nature of your employment with Microsoft and the country where you work.