It’s an exciting time to be in business in Houston. More and more companies are moving to the area for the cost of living, the mild winters, and the oil and gas sector. Microsoft recently created a Gulf Coast District for its business software and it operates out of Houston.

(Photo Courtesy of Craig Hodges)

(Photo Courtesy of Craig Hodges)

Craig Hodges, General Manager of Gulf Coast District Microsoft, discusses his education and how it has helped him be successful in business.

What degree program did you study?

“I attended Texas A&M University where I earned my bachelor’s degree in business administration and accounting, as well as a master’s degree in computing science.”

What does your current job entail?

“As general manager for Microsoft’s newly created Gulf Coast District, I am responsible for sales and marketing to Microsoft’s largest enterprise customers in the area (including Houston, Austin and San Antonio) and also lead our engagement with the broader Houston community on issues including economic development, technological innovation and STEM education.”

Do you feel your education prepared you for your current role

“Yes, my education has helped me understand the business issues that companies face and how to create solutions that can help address these issues. Higher education most importantly helped me develop relationships with others that are collaborative in nature as this is vital to the way that most companies work today.”

Have you participated in any form of continuing education?

“I continually educate myself to better understand business and technology trends in the marketplace. I have taken executive classes throughout my professional life at leading universities throughout the U.S.. To enable yourself for success, you must be a lifelong learner. Otherwise, you will be left behind as the landscape of business changes rather quickly.”

Do you have any advice for people wanting to pursue a similar career

“Become a lifelong learner. Become technology savvy. Be a good listener. Seek to understand before being understood (“7 Habits of Highly Effective People” tenet). Take the opportunity to live other places and to learn other cultures. I lived in Singapore for three years, and the experiences I had there have proven extremely valuable to me.”

Gillian Kruse is a freelance writer living in Houston. She graduated from Rice University with a great love for all performing and visual arts. She enjoys writing about arts and cultural events, especially little-known ones, to help Houstonians learn about what’s going on in their city. Her work can be found at