Fast Track Career

Sarah Handler (Photo by Duane Zehr)

October 25, 2016

By Matt Hawkins

When Sarah Handler ’16 began her Bradley journey, she didn’t see connections between her business, engineering and political science interests. Now a Microsoft engineer, her varied passions converge on a daily basis.

Microsoft hired Handler, an industrial engineering graduate who also minored in political science, before Thanksgiving 2015 — well before graduation the following May. She discovered her diverse background as an undergrad prepared her for a career that is equally unique.

“I’m excited to be in a role that could give me a variety of experiences in the office and across the world,” she said. “It’s a great opportunity to take what I learned at Bradley and learn even more.”

The technology giant recruited Handler as an engineer on Microsoft Office 365’s Fast Track team in Charlotte, N.C. In that role, she assists business customers who use Microsoft’s cloud-based software suite and storage. It’s a position in which she navigates needs, wants, questions and concerns from a diverse customer base.

That’s where her Bradley years made a difference. Handler interned for Caterpillar, Inc. and HNI Corp., worked for the campus admissions office, served as student body president and attended the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. Those experiences shaped her abilities to communicate with people in authority, understand complex organizations, handle leadership roles and troubleshoot situations.

Handler’s college years showed her that seemingly disparate interests were complementary. She could pursue a versatile engineering degree that would give her analytical skills valuable to any setting, including her political science passion.

“I realized I could do more than engineering because engineers are like chameleons,” she said. “You can do anything, even if ‘engineering’ isn’t in the title, because it’s using a way of thinking to solve problems.”

Handler flourished in college and now in her first professional experience because both Bradley and Microsoft value personal growth.

“Bradley, like Microsoft, encouraged me to make my own journey from the start,” Handler said. “They offered many opportunities to develop myself, and that’s something I cared about when I searched for college and my first job.”

One of her most valuable lessons, especially at Bradley, was the benefit of taking risks. She learned her failures could become opportunities to grow.

“I’ve failed more than I’ve succeeded, but I kept trying until something stuck,” Handler said. “I only had success because I failed so many times.”