AND Beginnings: A partnership event with UCL
02 February 2022 • 5 min read
In January, AND Digital partnered with UCL to give students a taste of what it’s like to work in the tech industry. The event - called AND Beginnings - opened up AND Digital to young people who may be considering working in digital but not quite sure where to start.
To find out more, organiser Annem Shah gave us the lowdown…
Where did the idea for AND Beginnings come from? How did it, er, begin?
AND Beginnings was a random idea I had after seeing alumni from my old school- University College London visit Amazon for a random event. Even though they had a selfie booth, I thought ‘C’mon! AND could do way better than that!’ That was it. It was just this spontaneous idea.
Where did the name come from?
I can’t take credit for that - I wasn’t even sure if we needed an actual name. The credit goes to Stefan Okolo who came up with such a catchy name. In true AND Digital style it had the word ‘AND’ in it!
What’s the importance of AND Beginnings?
Because of Covid, a lot of final year university students have a massive hole in their studies. That’s annoying for lots of reasons but it’s particularly problematic when it comes to getting a graduate job, which is often a bit of a numbers game. I remember in my final year, which was in 2018, I spent a lot of time visiting companies for insight days, The Bright Network careers fairs, and assessment days. I had opportunities to meet people and find out about roles that this Covid cohort doesn’t.
After joining AND this August I really started to recognise the importance of working somewhere that aligns with your values. We wanted to give students a taster to life at AND, our visions, goals and why we differentiate from other consultancies.
Learn more about our graduate roles.
How did the day go?
I was hosting. It was absolutely nerve-wracking to stand up in front of students and colleagues - fellow ANDis - but everyone was so supportive, so that put me at ease. We heard from graduate talent recruitment, Cloud South Exec Mairead O’Connor (who explained AND’s unique club model and our big strategic goals for the next 5 years), along with a range of associates who talked about the exciting client work they’ve embarked on.
As well as a fascinating lightning talk on AND’s AI and machine learning capabilities, we even managed to reenact the famous bootcamp paper plane activity! Towards the end of the day we heard from Ebe about the amazing AND She Can Network, our first Cloud Academy cohort, and finally finished with a Kahoot quiz, which included the chance to win a £50 Amazon voucher up for grabs, and relaxed networking over pizza.
"AND Beginnings was an evening of sharing. We gave our attendees a breakdown of our goals (aka BHAG) as a digital consultancy and showcased our diverse pool of talent. It was interesting to hear about the wider business, I enjoyed the AI/ML presentation by Jared and Tej who spoke about the complex algorithms and models they have developed for their clients in Fashion and Biomed. It was also cool to hear about Dan's journey to AND, he went from being a DJ to a UX/UI Designer! AND is truly a place for all. I thoroughly enjoyed speaking to our attendees throughout the day and during the networking event.”
- Anas Aboungab, Associate Cloud Engineer
Do you have anything which you thought could have gone better?
I don’t think it could have gone better but it was a real gamble having a face-to-face event in the current situation. We were adamant that the real selling point of this event was to open our office doors and let students see it; something which hasn’t happened before at AND. We were careful, and made the decision to monitor current news only finally confirming that it would be a face-to-face event a week before!
Oh - there was one particular moment where we were talking about AND Titles and I was calling out the AND titles of some of the ANDis in the room (from the same club) and got none of them right.. *painful smile meme*.
Why it matters
Why are events like AND Beginnings so important?
Good question! When I graduated, I didn’t have many females in tech in my network that I could look up to and who were ‘relatable’ or I knew them personally. The women in stem movement has moved so far ahead since then and there’s some amazing trailblazing women in tech right now. A lot of them I know from AND! I see an importance of us not being gatekeepers and being the women that we may have needed whilst we were at university or upon graduation. AND gave us the perfect platform to put such an event in to fruition.
“Experiences such as these are so valuable for our students and I’m certain there will be some IMB applications to AND Digital coming through.”
- Ally Hawley, UCL School of Management Careers
What was your favourite part of the day?
I’m a bit of a nerd, so the talk given by Jared and Tej about our Ai and Machine learning capabilities was really interesting to me. I’m trying my hand at wrangling with PyTorch using a python library; they really cut through the jargon!
What’s next for AND Beginnings?
I am really not sure! I’m sure this will be the first of many. AND has so many university partnerships thanks to Tenzing’s Graduate Talent Recruitment Team.
Any closing words?
Yes, a mahoosive shoutout to our Cloud South associates who did an amazing job with organising the event; Mairead for listening to my rants and constant asking for advice for a solid week before! Thanks as well to Sharan from Graduate Recruitment who has a wealth of experience in this area, and Adina for just being amazing with logistics and all the moving parts that were needed to make it happen..
For now - time for a rest!
Annem is a Cloud Engineer in Cloud South, you can find her on Linkedin.
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