One of the unique experiences that helps deliver Tech Industry Gold accredited degrees’ outstanding results is the Tech Industry Gold student/employer event. Twice a year, leading digital employers come together with around 200 undergraduates in a day of development activities, team competitions and inspiring insights. These events also offer an opportunity for employers to talent spot and for students to impress employers.
This year, Colin Bannister VP at VMware was impressed by undergraduate Mihaela Roman’s networking skills, so he invited her to be the boss for the day at VMware’s HQ.
We caught up with Mihaela, who is studying at the University of West London and about to start her placement year, to find out how she got on.
Could you tell us how you landed the opportunity to become the “boss’ boss” for the day as VP, Solution Engineering, EMEA at VMware?
Honestly it was a surprise to me! Colin Bannister announced this prize at the event, but I did not understand clearly what it involved, so I did not even think about the possibility of winning. Apparently, I was the first one who connected with Colin on LinkedIn and I had made a lasting impression through my networking throughout the day, which led me to win the prize.
What made you stand out from the other students? What did you do?
I do not feel like I did something special. Usually, when I go to Tech Industry Gold Student/Employer events I am trying to search on LinkedIn for the names of people who are on the agenda for that day. I picked up this tip from the Tech Allies Summer Institute. You will never know who can help you in the future!
What happened straight after the Tech Industry Gold event? Who actually organised the logistics for your day’s experience?
After the event, Colin Bannister contacted me to congratulate me and also to tell me that his assistant, Christiana, would be in touch with me about the day. I received an email from her with available dates to choose from and then I received a programme of the day and all the necessary details.
Tell us, step by step, what the day was like? Who did you meet? What did you talk about?
My day was wonderful – and I’m not exaggerating. I was told that in the morning a car would pick me up from home and take me to VMware. Once there, Christiana greeted me at the reception and guided me to ‘my’ office for the day. I felt that everything that happened to me was unreal. The programme included many meetings which comprised a breakfast and lunch meeting. The day started with an introduction about the company, information about Colin’s team, the company’s structure and the most important aspects to remember during the day. After that, I had meetings with Colin’s team and also with people from other departments with whom I talked about their career journeys, their roles in the company and I asked them what advice they could give me about my future career. At the same time, I was told about the values of the company and what they entailed. I also attended two meetings where a decision had to be taken and Colin helpfully explained the detail to me every time he saw me looking confused, so I could contribute.
How did you prepare for the day? Did you carry out any research beforehand on the people you were going to meet?
Yes, I did carry out research about the company – it’s history, what it does, the projects in progress and its different office locations. I decided not to carry out any research on the people I was going to meet.
What three things did you learn which you hadn’t considered before?
The most important thing I have learned is that your work environment has a huge impact on you and your development. I learned to trust myself more. I was always afraid of the unknown, of new things, because I didn’t know how I would react. However, the way I was treated on the day together with the advice and encouragement I received from the people I met, helped me to believe in myself. Another important thing that I learned is not to be afraid to ask questions. It’s the best way to learn and to accumulate knowledge.
Has the experience given you a better insight into the working world?
Definitely. Whilst studying at university it is hard to have an insight about the kind of job that you will have after you graduate. That’s why it is important to get involved in the opportunities Tech Industry Gold has to offer. Without taking part in the opportunities available, I wouldn’t have had this fantastic opportunity.
Has the experience made you consider what you would like to do when you have finished your Tech Industry Gold accredited degree?
So far, I wanted to focus on a career related to the business studies aspect of my Tech Industry Gold accredited degree. This experience has shown me that technology also has its beautiful parts, which do not necessarily require hours of coding and most of the time it is combined with business. Moreover, you have the chance to travel a lot! Certainly, after this experience, I changed my thoughts regarding a future job.
What else would you like to say/add?
I would firstly like to thank Colin Bannister, Christiana and all of the teams I met at VMware for making me feel so welcome and making the time for me. Secondly, I would like to thank the team at Tech Partnership Degrees as they organise the opportunities like this to help me, and my fellow students, build our careers of the future.
I would recommend to all Tech Industry Gold accredited degree students, studying the ITMB and Software Engineering for Business, to get involved in as many activities and events as possible and for those who are thinking about what to study next, choose Tech Industry Gold accredited degrees.
Find out more about Tech Industry Gold accredited degrees.
Find out more about IT Management for Business BSc (ITMB) at the University of West London.