Conrad Ma ’15 may have changed coasts, but a big piece of his heart will always be in North Carolina. Conrad said he often misses the people and the food – Christ School was not only his introduction to the Tar Heel state but American culture in general. A native of China, Conrad endeared himself to many fellow students and faculty during his time as a Greenie with not only his intellect but skill for beatboxing. Conrad was a Morehead-Cain Scholar at the University of North Carolina and has been a Product Manager with Microsoft out in Seattle since May. On a personal note, he was also recently married.
Question: I know it’s been nearly a year since you started work for Microsoft, what has that opportunity been like for you?
Answer: I’m grateful and fortunate. It really all goes back to Christ School. That was my first tie to North Carolina. I was born and raised in China for 16 years and decided to go to Christ School for high school (Director of College Guidance) Kirk Blackard nominated me for the Morehead program, and from there I got to meet the mentor of life and my career. I got into product management at about that time and really have to thank all the great mentors I’ve had.
Question: What does a Product Manager do?
Answer: As a Product Manager, I am responsible for a team’s overall success from a business sense. The morale from a teammate’s standpoint, and from a customer’s standpoint, I am looking to give them the best possible experience. A Product Manager is responsible for balancing these three things as well as compliance with rules and regulations. Day-to-day, it involves a lot of meetings, trying to hear as many perspectives as possible, and balancing the pendulum.
Question: How are you enjoying Seattle?
Answer: I’ll be honest, I miss North Carolina. The winter time here is mild. I’ve only seen two days of snow and it was gone like it never came. The summer time is beautiful though and I would welcome anyone from Christ School to come and visit in the spring and summertime. Like North Carolina, there are a lot of trails. I ran cross country in high school and still run the trails here. When I do, it reminds me of North Carolina and Christ School.
Answer: I am grateful for the people – Mr. Krieger, Mr. Mohney, Mr. Martin, Mrs. Dillon, Mrs. Wheeler Mrs. Mahoney, and Mr. Embler. Mr. Mohney is my advisor and I still remember the first time we went to Advisee Lunch, we went to Five Guys. Best burger ever still to this day! I’m very thankful to everyone at Christ School.