Second Microsoft Student Partners Event – London 2007

Wow what a great weekend I had last week (Monday 18th – Sunday 19th February 2007), probably one of my best in London yet!

Because not only was in London for the second MSP (Microsoft Student Partners) Event to take place this academic year 2006/2007 but I was also there to have the chance to celebrate the first day of the Chinese New Year (The Year of the Pig) in style by watching the Chinese parade and attending the Celebrations in central London’s Leicester Square and Trafalgar Square.

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The Chinese festivities started at 11:00 a.m. with a grand parade of dragons, lions and dancers along the Strand, Charing Cross Road and Shaftesbury Avenue with an official opening ceremony followed in Trafalgar Square, with music, dance and martial arts throughout the afternoon, while Leicester Square hosted two fireworks displays.

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And though I didn’t get to see the fireworks as I was in Trafalgar Square I did get a pretty good position, pretty near to the front of the stage, which was pretty good considering there were in the near of 300,000 people attending the Chinese New Year celebrations in London. (check out the photos here)

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However at around 2:30pm I decided to make a move towards to Hilton London Metropole Hotel, which was the Hotel Microsoft had booked for us Microsoft Student Partners (MSP’s) that Sunday Night.

I made it to the hotel at around 3pm and checked in, so I could wait for Ryan Maxwell my MSP Buddy who would be sharing the room with me that night.
Eventually Ryan turned up as his train was unfortunately delayed and we went in search of some other MSP’s who wouldn’t mind coming out to get something to eat before Stuart Leddy and Matt Duffin from Microsoft came to take us from the Hotel to the Namco Station at 6pm.

Anyhow we found another 4 MSP’s and we headed down the street in search of a place to eat, and guess what we ended up in McDonalds, not before checking further down the road for anywhere else though.

Once we had got some food/drinks we decided to make a move back to the hotel, back there we ended up checking out the Hotel facilities like the Gym and Pool, that of which we decided we would visit tomorrow morning at 6am for a good morning swim. Great idea then but when you try and get up for that time after drinking quite a lot the night before it’s not such a good idea.

So yeah we checked out the facilities and in no time at all did it reach 6pm which meant it was time to head down to the reception lobby of the hotel to meet up with all the other MSP’s who would been coming to the social evening/night out at the Namco Station.

We (MSP’s, Matt Duffin, Stuart Leddy and Matt McSpirit) waited a while just in case anyone else turned up and then we all started making our way to the tube station to catch the tube to Waterloo Station from which we could walk our way to Namco Station which just happens to ne next to the County Hall and the London eye.

On the way there we took a group photo next to the London Eye, maybe at the next Microsoft Student Partner Event we can get a group photo of all the MSP’s plus Stuart, Matt and Dianne Terry plus everyone else who’s been a part of this year’s MSP programme as there always seems to be at least someone missing in the group photos.

This of course gave us the opportunity to take a pretty cool group photo right in front of the London Eye, shame not everyone was in it though, so maybe at the next Microsoft Student Partner Event we can get a group photo of all the MSP’s plus Stuart, Matt, Dianne Terry and everyone else who’s been a part of this year’s MSP programme as there always seems to be at least someone missing in the group photos.

On the way there we took a group photo next to the London Eye, maybe at the next Microsoft Student Partner Event we can get a group photo of all the MSP’s plus Stuart, Matt and Dianne Terry plus everyone else who’s been a part of this year’s MSP programme as there always seems to be at least someone missing in the group photos.

This of course gave us the opportunity to take a pretty cool group photo right in front of the London Eye, shame not everyone was in it though, so maybe at the next Microsoft Student Partner Event we can get a group photo of all the MSP’s plus Stuart, Matt, Dianne Terry and everyone else who’s been a part of this year’s MSP programme as there always seems to be at least someone missing in the group photos.

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Anyway a few minutes later we arrived at Namco Station and started making our way down to the bottom section in which Microsoft had booked out an entire seating area for us to enjoy, one of the first things I noticed while we all made our way down to the bottom area was that there were some signs which said (Microsoft UK) which was pretty cool, and guess what it wouldn’t be the last time we would see these signs would serve a purpose!

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Once we arrived at the bottom one of the first things that people did was of course get a drink, kindly provided on Microsoft’s Tab which I must say stretched pretty far that night considering most of us were there for nearly 4 hours and there were about 20 of us.

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After we had all had some drinks and used up some of our Arcade Tokens given to us at the start, we all made our way to the Dodgems (Bumper Cars) to have some great fun, especially as the Dodgems seemed to be faster than normal, or it could just be that the alcohol made them seem more like killers than they really were, whatever the case if you got hit, it wasn’t a good thing. *ouch*

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After a go on the dodgems we all went back down stairs where some nice tasty food was being brought out on trays and after eating as much as possible we made our way to the Bowling Lanes which were conveniently situated just to the side of where we were sitting.

The bowling lanes were just as much fun as the Dodgems especially when our lane stopped working, we got it fixed once but as soon as someone fixed it, it happened again, the problem was that the pins were not being reorganised automatically after each throw, damn strings. It was all pretty funny when one of the bowling balls came shooting of the shoot and rolled straight towards us!

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After the bowling had finished it was time to yet again hit the dodgems by which time we were pretty tippsy, and then after that we basically just had more fun, which of course included using up our arcade tokens and the Tab at the bar. 🙂

It was now 22:45 so a small group of about 10 of us hit the road in which we had as much as fun as we did back at the Namco Station, especially with them Microsoft Signs we had erhh… borrowed! :p

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After taking some great pics along the way, we eventually ended up back the hotel, where some of the other MSP’s were wondering where we had got to. By this time it was pretty late but that didn’t stop us from going to the Hotel bar where we found two American girls, or better said one girl and her stepmother. The step daughter was trying to get her stepmother drunk which was pretty funny.

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It was now 1am in the morning and there were only 5 of us left (Me, Ryan, Grant and the 2 Americans) so we decided it was time to head back to our rooms, though it was obvious that the stepmother couldn’t hardly stand up so we ended up helping her with her step daughter back to their room, in which we were invited in, and well I’ll let the photos explain the rest… It’s fun letting you all guess!

I beileve myself and my MSP Buddy Ryan ended up going to sleep at around 3am, and set our alarm for 6am to head to the pool with some other MSP’s, haha well we woke up at that time but didn’t get out of bed until much later, just in time for breakfast.

After we had all had breakfast and joined up in reception we set out for the Microsoft/MSN London Offices which isn’t too far from Piccadilly Circus. Once there we were split into 3 groups and told what workshop we would attend first.

The first workshop session that myself and my group attended was by Darren Strange who is the UK Product Manager for the 2007 Microsoft Office system, in this session he talked about how we can give good answers to both easy and difficult questions different people like the press and students might ask us. He also showed us some of the new features in Office 2007 and why they were chosen. All this information would be of great use for our Microsoft Office 2007 Campus Launches.

The second session that we had was by Matt McSpirit who gave us a talk on Windows Vista. This included what new features to show the Student Audience at our Windows Vista Campus Launches. He defiantly showed us some interesting parts of Windows Vista that I hadn’t noticed before.

The third and last session of the morning workshops was by Mark Johnston, who gave us a talk about how to build a timed schedule that we could put in place to show our audience the basics of what WPF is and what they can do with it. He also talked about some other interesting stuff too but as I’m under NDA (Non Disclosure Agreement) I’m keeping my mouth shut. Well at least until I’m told otherwise.

After this last morning session is was lunch time, Dominos Pizza all round!

Our first afternoon session was by Eileen Brown, who nearly put us to sleep as she welcomed us all in a very slow drowsy voice. Off course I knew something was wrong and that this wasn’t what she would do normally as I’ve seen her presenting before and it’s much better than that. And then she confessed that she was just demonstrating what not to do, after that she speed up and it was much livelier. She talked about how to perfect your presenting skills. This was great as she got out of the audience Steve Workman an MSP and Stuart Leddy + Matt Duffin our Microsoft guys to come out and present to the audience, she would then stop them talking if they did anything wrong. I learnt quite a lot in this session.

After this session it was time for our second afternoon session that being a Campus Launch Overview talk by Dianne Terry, here she talked about our Windows Vista/Office 2007 Campus Launch Kits and how to run a Campus Launch Event. Which was pretty cool.

After a short break we then had a presentation by Paul Kiddie who talked about his Imagine Cup 2006 Experience and what we could do for the Imagine Cup 2007. Unfortunately I’m not entering the Imagine Cup this year as I just don’t have the time, but I’m sure those of you that will, would have picked up some useful information here.

The next two sessions by Stuart Leddy, Matt Duffin and Dianne Terry, were basically questions and answers sessions in which they asked us about our experiences as a part of the Microsoft Student Partners Programme and how they could improve it. Always great to let them know our feedback.

And then it was Swag/Freebie time, got myself some cool stuff:

  • Windows Vista Ultimate
  • Microsoft Office Standard 2007
  • MSN Lanyards
  • T-Shirts
  • Mints
  • Putty
  • Pens

And here it ended what a great weekend it was. Like I said at the beginning of this post, it was probably one of my best in London yet!

A big shout out goes’ to all the MSP’s (Microsoft Student Partners) that attended, if you would like a link to your website/blog or photo album let me know, and I’ll add it below! 😀

Ian MacGillivray (blog post) | Amin Islam (photos) |

And hey on another note if you can find a photo or video of me at the Chinese New Year in London this year let me know, it can’t be that hard as I was at the front. Maybe I’ll have to think of something to give the winner! 😉

Update: Uploaded some videos to Soapbox on MSN Video:


Video: Microsoft Student Partners Bowling London


Video: Microsoft Student Partners at Namco Station London

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