Like millions of young men across the United States, Albert Rocker dreamed of a career in the NFL. Although there’s a better chance of getting struck by lightning than playing professional football, Albert’s ambition, discipline and dedication brought him within striking distance.
As Albert reached his final year of college football eligibility, he found himself at a crossroads: take his last shot at pro football stardom or move to California for a promising career opportunity at Microsoft. "It was probably the most difficult decision of my life," Rocker admits.
This enviable but gut-wrenching choice did not just appear out of the blue. Albert had always treated his academics in the same way he approached football.
He reflects, “As a football player, you learn a lot about teamwork. You live with your teammates, eat with them, lift with them and study with them. If one guy misses curfew, he lets down the whole team. You learn a lot about collaboration and you really come to understand accountability.”
Albert believes that football is good preparation for the challenges of a career. He says, “You learn to deal with adversity. It’s all about using your attitude to never give up a fight and to keep investing time and hard work until you overcome your obstacles.”
At Georgia Tech, Albert played in a total of 38 games, including all 13 games of his junior season in 2010. Around his grueling football schedule, which Albert says could take “up to 60 hours of work per week,” he studied management and landed on the ACC Academic Honor Roll in 2009-2010. During his summer vacations, Albert balanced preparation for the next football season with internships to build his business knowledge.
Early last year, Albert attended a Georgia Tech career fair in search of a new summer internship – something different that would give him broader experience. It was at that career fair that Albert happened upon Georgia Tech alum and current Microsoft program manager Irwin Dolobowsky.
Irwin recalls, “I’ve attend lot of career fairs and sometimes speak with up to 500 students per event. Almost all of them have good grades and good experience. Albert had the background, but he also had exceptional social and leadership skills. He was able to showcase those abilities to me immediately.”
Irwin passed along Albert’s resume to Microsoft recruiter Trish Lincoln. Albert had reconfigured all of his football experience as work experience on his resume. Trish says, “Albert’s resume was really unexpected and special. He showed a breakdown of his hours on and off the field. He had been a leader with younger players and demonstrated not only his management skills, but he had come up with team-wide stats to quantify improvements over time.”
Irwin adds, “Things move fast at Microsoft and you can’t wait around for stuff to happen in this work environment. Albert was clearly the kind of guy who makes things happen.”
Albert’s search for a summer internship soon became the opportunity to take on a fulltime role at Microsoft. However, Albert had never imagined himself at a large company and always considered himself a budding entrepreneur.
But Trish worked to find the ideal role for Albert’s talents. She points out, “Microsoft has a strong entrepreneurial history and is a great place for young employees to build their networks and take risks while benefitting from the stability of the company.”
Albert agrees, “Trish pointed me toward the technical account manager role where I’d work for Microsoft, but most directly interact with clients. There’s a lot of independence and your success is driven by you and you only. It’s like having your own little business with the backing of a major company.”
In the end, Albert decided to go pro… at Microsoft.
It was a painful decision to forsake his final season of college football, but one that Albert knew was the right way to maximize his success over time.
As Albert shrewdly notes, “Success is not about money or the glory of being on the cover of a magazine. Success is about being happy and you get that true happiness by giving yourself 100% to a given endeavor, whether that’s playing football, being part of your family or working in technology. I make sure to take that approach to all I do in life.”
Albert Rocker took the skills he learned in life and on the football field and found a place at Microsoft. How about you? Interested in learning more about technical account manager positions and what they are like? Then see what we have to offer and apply for the job of your dreams!