Some reality show winners walk away with millions of dollars. Mike Kett’s big reward is a job in Microsoft’s IT department. And he’s very happy about it.
The 36-year-old e-commerce and database specialist from the Boston area was crowned the winner of “Be The Next Microsoft Employee” this morning as the Microsoft Learning division wrapped up the web-based reality series that we first told you about a month ago.
You can watch the final episode above.
The series was taped weeks ago. Kett has already moved to Seattle with his wife, and he has been working at Microsoft since the end of July as a Microsoft IT program manager. His new co-workers knew he was the winner, but the company kept it under wraps to the outside world, to avoid spoiling the ending.
So how does it feel to land a job through a reality show?
“It was a really excellent way to see how people react under stress, and a relatively realistic interview process,” Kett said in an interview this morning. “The problems that we were presented with were not 100 percent realistic because of time constraints and inability to get additional information, but I’ve been under similar situations before in previous jobs.”
He said the experience of being on the show was “a roller coaster of emotions,” with the contestants not knowing in advance what that day’s challenge would entail. ”The stress of just going through the challenges was a difficult thing to deal with. If you won, it was the highest of highs, and if you lost it was the lowest of lows. It was difficult, but overall, being able to take a step back and take a look at it, it was a really fun process.”
There was no Survivor-style backstabbing or rivalries, he said. He and his fellow contestants felt a camaraderie and would talk each night about the challenges. Also competing in the show were Alex Aguilar, of Phoenix, Ariz.; Chris Williams of Austin, Texas; and Stacy Luciani of Richardson, Texas.
The series was created by Mark Protus, a Microsoft veteran who came back to the company about a year ago to work in marketing for Microsoft Learning. The goal of was to show the benefits of training and certification in technologies such as SQL Server.
The archive of episodes is available here. No official word on whether the series will be back for a second season, but a company representative says there’s lots of interest in the concept at Microsoft in Redmond, as well as in Europe and India.