Senior computer science major Arturo Lucatero won’t graduate from George Fox University until May, but that didn’t stop him from lining up his dream job with one of the most recognized companies in the world: Microsoft.
This summer, Lucatero, an Act Six scholarship recipient, will begin work as a program manager at the company’s world headquarters in Redmond, Wash., where his duties will include testing consumer products to ensure a user-friendly experience. “One of my favorite parts of my job is that I become the face of the customer,” he says.
Recently we sat down with Lucatero to learn more about his new job and his time at George Fox.
Q: I understand you’ve already got a job lined up after college. Tell me what the position is and how it came about?
A: I will be working for Microsoft as a program manager on their business intelligence team. Growing up, it was my dream to work at Microsoft. After arriving at Fox, I pursued an internship with [the company], and though it didn’t initially work out, I managed to land an internship with Intel. Still, my dream was to be a Microsoft intern. One of the things I learned was that Microsoft prefers computer science majors as interns, so I switched from information systems to a computer science major. Thanks to that, I was able to be a Microsoft Explorer intern last summer . It really helped me decide what I wanted to do, which is program management, so this summer I went back as a program manager intern working on a self-service business intelligence project.
Q: What will your job entail?
A: One of my favorite parts of my job is that I become the face of the customer and look at a new project and ask, “How can we validate it against the user’s needs so it’s truly a user-friendly experience?” I’ll help put the pieces together between the discovery, development and delivery phases of a project. It’s hard to give a definition for my role, since there are so many different parts to it. I plan to start in late summer up at Microsoft world headquarters in Redmond, Wash.
Q: Briefly tell me about your background. How did you end up at George Fox?
A: I moved to Oregon as a junior in high school after growing up in Mexico. I came here to live with relatives in Tigard and was just trying to figure out what to do for college. Initially, my plan was to keep working at my Burgerville job and attend Portland Community College. But my counselor advised me to look into scholarships. That’s when I heard about the Act Six program [a leadership and scholarship initiative at George Fox], and I applied and got it.
Q: What drew you to this school?
A: One of things I really liked was the smaller community. Growing up in Mexico, I had always gone to schools that were smaller, with small student-to-teacher ratios. That’s something that really drew me to Fox – that smaller aspect and the fact I was able to get to know the people around me so well.
Q: How did George Fox prepare you for your new job?
A: Fox helped me understand what it was I wanted to do. Part of that was just the process of going through classes and my internships and figuring it out as I went. The other part was the curriculum I had. I was able to apply what I was learning in the work environment. I also worked in the Associated Student Community as a tech director, and from a practical standpoint, worked on my English skills since English isn’t necessarily my first or strongest language.
Q: Were there any professors who stood out as mentors in your college experience?
A: Robert (Bob) Ellis, a former adjunct professor here who just retired, was one of those who really helped me understand principles of management and provided me with great advice as I got ready to interview with Microsoft. Also, my advisor Brent Wilson has helped me along the way, making sure that I am on track to graduate.
Q: What advice would you give to other students who are thinking about what they want to do post-college?
A: Start early. For me, it started as a kid when I was thinking about working at Microsoft. When I got to Fox, the first thing I decided to do was to find out what it would take to get that Microsoft internship. At this point, going into my senior year, I have a good understanding of what I want to be doing for the next five to 10 years. If I had waited until now, I wouldn’t have this job lined up and I would be concerned with what my future looked like. As it is, I have a good job and am excited for this next phase of my life.