As a program manager at Microsoft’s bustling headquarters just outside of Seattle, Alvin Mok says he’s under less stress now than he was as an engineering student at U of T. Mok (BASc 2003) isn’t slacking on the job; in fact, since starting full-time with Microsoft last year, he’s developed software for booking the company’s conference rooms that has saved Microsoft $10 million US. During his years at U of T, Mok attended classes by day and managed a software company by night. “While everyone went home to watch TV, I went home to work,” he says. “Having a full-time job at Microsoft is actually relaxing.”
Mok, 21, founded IntelliGENE in 2001 while attending U of T. The company’s software helped department stores optimize staff around peak periods of the day. Within a year, he grew the company to a staff of 40 and opened sales offices in New York and Tokyo before selling it for a tidy profit.
Mok’s expertise in computerized scheduling earned him a summer internship at Microsoft in 2002. He then returned to U of T and founded the Microsoft Student Consultant Group to assist and motivate university staff and students to make the most of their Microsoft software. One of his biggest projects with the student consultant group was creating a Web site for students to buy and sell secondhand textbooks, a service that has since gone Canada-wide.
A U of T lab is working with actors, writers and directors on how they could harness AI and other emerging technologies to generate new ideas and – just maybe – reinvent theatre