As a first year Management student, I have always been open to new opportunities presented to me to explore different career paths for me to understand where I want to go with my degree. I applied for the SPRINT programme with a flatmate aiming to understand more about being a woman in any workplace and any desirable characteristics I could work on during my time as a student.
This experience took me by surprise with how much self-reflection one ends up doing. I would describe myself as someone who likes to keep her thoughts to herself, but SPRINT created such a secure environment that I was speaking my views and feelings to fellow female students who I had never met before. I learned how sharing my own concerns is so beneficial with not just receiving advice but also discovering how I truly felt towards certain situations. Being able to listen to others with similar problems also gave me confidence to accept the help given to me to take steps forward, instead of distracting myself or avoiding the situation.
The guest speakers of SPRINT all had valuable insight in their respective sectors and also with being a woman in general in a professional setting. A talk about the stigma of the “expiry date” or short timeline of women’s careers in business due to having to balance time between work and family really made me question my own views of women I know in my life and their own experiences. Additionally, there was a discussion on how to position oneself in an organisation, pushing me to reflect on my own relationship with hierarchy in groups and part-time jobs.
Another great opportunity I came across due to SPRINT was the Talking Tech: Girls and Women in ICT series. I had always been interested in taking the Digital Business pathway of my course and found this initiative a great chance for me to get more insight into the sector. The project was launched by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and four founding partners and was introduced to us by a guest speaker of SPRINT, Dr Isabel Fischer, who is a module leader and Associate Professor of Information Systems and Management at Warwick Business School during her slot.
Through Talking Tech, I was able to meet Kathleen Murray, principal of McMorran Strategists, LCC and Co-Founder of Tech Up for Women. Through Kathleen, I was able to learn more about how women in tech push the shift towards a more gender balanced sector, and how its never too late to change to do what you like, therefore took pressure off my shoulders as a student who didn’t have clear goals of future roles.
Both experiences have truly pushed me to be more confident towards interacting with new people and showed me how much you could learn from others, no matter the age or position in life. Being able to talk freely without the fear of judgement and also meeting new friends with similar mindsets and experiences at SPRINT really helped me settle further at university as lockdowns had left me feeling isolated from fellow course mates and people I could’ve met at cancelled social events. All the women I met on SPRINT were extremely insightful, giving advice and solutions from perspectives I hadn’t thought about. This includes not only the fellow participants and students, but also the guest speakers. Interviewing Kathleen was not only a great discussion, but hopefully an opportunity to meet a new friend with rich experience and insight to life.
They are definitely new networks I’ll treasure and work to maintain. I highly recommend taking part in the SPRINT programme as you never know how much you could capture from it if you don’t participate!
The next Sprint programme starts on September 1st and applications close on 22nd August – further details are available here