When Samira started out her International Business degree at UWE Bristol, she resolved to take on all the opportunities she could – both in and outside of the classroom. It has taken her to places and experiences she’d never have imagined.
From tennis to TEDx
“From the outset my degree programme had great connections with the outside world,” says Samira. “So many organisations would come in to deliver skills-based sessions, talk about the qualities they look for in employees and answer our questions.”
But it was a year-long sandwich placement in London that really took her work experience to the next step. As IBM’s Wimbledon game supporter and devices manager, and subsequently part of the Match Analysis team, Samira led presentations and talked tech with players, coaches and delegates, including Lord Coe.
A subsequent trip to Dubai provided a valuable insight into overseas operations, while an interest in languages saw Samira and a fellow intern co-found their own Learn a Language Scheme for IBM staff.
On returning to uni, Samira soon took on a new challenge in the form of organising UWE Bristol’s second-ever TEDx event. “It was a lot to do in my final year!” she says. “But I learned a lot about leadership and project management, and it opened some amazing doors.” The event attracted noteworthy speakers and sold out on the night, receiving a 96% ‘delighted’ score from TED as a result.
An international perspective on business
Wanting to hone her leadership skills further, Samira decided to stay on at UWE Bristol after graduation and study for an MBA. “It was one of the best decisions I ever made,” she says. “It was 12 months of very intense work, but it was eye-opening in the sense that it elevated everything I’d learnt in my degree.”
The course attracts students from all over the world, making it an ideal setting for sharing new ideas and practices, which Samira found particularly valuable. Her hard work and commitment were recognised when she was presented with The Bristol Business School Award for Best Performance in the MBA on graduation.
At the beginning of 2018, part-way through her MBA, Samira received a message on LinkedIn. A recruiter for Just Eat, a leading global marketplace for takeaway food delivery, liked the look of her profile, and wanted to see if she was interested in a graduate role based at the company’s tech hub in Bristol. Samira jumped at the opportunity.
Now several months into her new job, she’s learning fast. “As a graduate associate product manager, I’m the person who has to understand the product inside out,” she explains. “It’s a really varied role – I have an overview of what the whole team’s doing, ensuring we’re all working together and making the right decisions to ensure we’re delivering the service that customers expect.”
Since arriving at Just Eat, Samira has been given the opportunity to learn how to code with CodeFirst:Girls, and has also joined Just Eat’s Women in Tech group – an internal employee network which aims to promote and encourage diversity.
Outside of her day-to-day job, Samira also is also helping to inspire the next generation of tech talent as a Just Eat STEM Ambassador. As part of the programme, Samira is one of 80 Just Eat Ambassadors, working with young people across the country to encourage them to consider a career in STEM.
“Right now my focus is discovering what kind of product manager I want to be,” she says. “It’s a world I didn’t know existed till recently, but I’m very happy to start my career here and see where it takes me. Helping inspire others to do the same is really important to me. This industry is really exciting, and so long as you work hard, the opportunities are endless.”
Meanwhile, she’s accepted an invitation to join the Bristol Business School Advisory Board, so UWE Bristol looks set to continue to be an important part of Samira’s life for a long while yet.