First-class honours UWE graduate reveals how she went the ‘extra mile’ for her ITMB degree
This summer, ‘rising star’, Sanaya Khambatta, graduated with a first-class honours ITMB degree and earned the Consultancy Project Outstanding Contributions Prize from UWE Bristol. During her undergraduate years, she was nominated for the Future Stars in Tech, spent her summers working for IBM at Wimbledon and now wants to ‘give back’ by promoting the tech industry to other young women. We caught up with her before she starts her graduate job at IBM.
What made you decide to study for the ITMB degree course?
I always knew that I wished to study business and combined with my growing passion for technology, the ITMB course was just right for me.
The more I researched into this degree course, the more I felt that it fitted with exactly what I was looking for. It combined the best practices of business and technology together with employability skills.
I loved the employer engagement and endorsements that ITMB offered, providing so many opportunities.
What were the highlights?
The North and South events, organised by Tech Partnership Degrees, have been a highlight for me over the past four years. (The events take place yearly and bring together employers and students). The events which comprise employer networking and competitions were great fun, and I enjoyed competing in a team.
In my first year, I won a prize from Intel for my networking ability where I was awarded an ‘insight day’. I visited Intel’s offices and IoT labs to find out more about the products they were developing. It was a truly fascinating day which helped me apply my studies to everyday work situations.
What were the challenges?
I felt that due to the variety of modules taught, it meant that I had to learn new technical skills, which is what employers are looking for from new graduates. Although I am not the most technical individual, I found I had to quickly learn new skills, such as coding languages. I certainly enjoyed the challenge of developing these new skills.
What was it like working at Wimbledon for four consecutive summers?
Wimbledon is an amazing opportunity and I loved every moment of my role there! It was great to learn and see what goes on behind the scenes in the run-up to such a prestigious event.
You’re surrounded by broadcasters, press, the public as well as players. The employees from IBM were fantastic to work with. It is extremely interesting to see just what technology is being used ranging from WIFI and security scanners to Wimbledon Information Systems (WIS) to provide stats for players, broadcasters, press and the public. At the end of the Championships, you do have an overwhelming sense of pride that you have contributed to the event.
Tell us about how you came to be short-listed for Future Stars of Tech and why you were invited to the IOC Launch at the House of Lords – both amazing accolades?
I was initially approached by the Information Age who run the Women in IT Awards. They mentioned that they had been following my career and felt that I would be an ideal candidate to showcase my achievements. I was nominated as a ‘rising female star’ to watch out for in the technology industry. Once this nomination had been made I then received the exciting news that I had been shortlisted within the Diversity category.
I was invited to the House of Lords for the launch event of the Institute of Coding (IoC) where I was representing my university and the ITMB degree programme. I am now working with the IoC – which is an initiative to develop digital skills nationally.
Congratulations on your first-class honours degree and for being awarded the ‘Consultancy Project Outstanding Contributions Prize’! What did you need to do to go the extra mile to achieve these amazing results?
Thank you! I had a one-year consultancy module to complete so in my final year I was given an external client to work with which was a start-up company run by an ITMB alumnus from UWE Bristol. Throughout this project, I maintained a professional working relationship and went above and beyond my duties. I would carry out additional tasks which I felt would be of benefit to our client, coordinate a team of ITMB students to carry out this project and deliver various deliverables. I constantly put my client first and was proactive in the project to suggest alternative methodologies to carry out tasks efficiently. These core deliverables were used as part of their InnovateUK funding application.
What was your year placement like at IBM?
I was one of two members on the business operations team and got to work with the UK CIO on Innovation, working on various accounts.
The great thing about IBM is that they actively encourage you to ‘Give Back’ and do more than just your role. As a result of this, I was able to take part in a national cross-site hackathon – which I won! I got to use my technical skills and explored the services and technologies IBM offers.
Overall, I made some great friends, took away a whole host of experiences and learning points. And, as a result of my experience, I have decided to work for IBM after I graduate.
What would you suggest to someone thinking about studying for a Tech Industry Gold degree course?
DO IT! I cannot gush about a Tech Industry Gold degree enough to those who ask, and even those who do not! If you are like me and enjoy both tech and business, then this is the ideal course for you. It will not only help you to develop these skills professionally but also your interpersonal skills – which is invaluable and widely sought after in the tech industry.
I feel the opportunities are fantastic. The Tech Industry Gold degree has truly opened doors for all the graduates, from networking events such as the North and South event to guru lectures and masterclasses, as well as selective internships. These degrees really do provide you with the ‘unfair advantage’ so why wouldn’t you choose to study for a degree that can gear you up for an exciting, interesting and rewarding future career?
Why would you specifically recommend UWE Bristol to someone wanting to study ITMB or SEfB?
I would recommend UWE Bristol to a prospective student and after receiving my offer I have never looked back. Kevin, the course leader, truly is phenomenal. He encourages students and actively pursues every available opportunity for them. This includes attending both the North and South events and arranging days out to attend other events such as the Women in Tech conference. The course itself is perfectly split between business, information technology, and interpersonal skills. Overall, I think UWE Bristol is an excellent university.
How have Tech Partnership Degrees helped you in your journey?
Without Tech Partnership Degrees, I would never have had the professional network that I have today as events such as the North and South allowed me to establish relationships with many companies. The exclusive Wimbledon placement has really drawn attention when my CV is given to prospective employers.
I feel Tech Partnership Degrees promotion of Women in IT has also meant that there’s been the positive promotion to women. For example, they arranged for successful women who work in tech to meet with students and share their career stories – something that I aspire to follow. The support of the staff at Tech Partnership Degrees has been fantastic. They welcome ideas from students and do whatever they can to support them.
What are your summer plans?
Having just graduated from university, I have returned to Wimbledon for my fourth year with IBM and then I’m taking a holiday to India and Dubai.
What will you do when you get back from your summer break?
In September I shall begin my graduate job at IBM working on the ‘Consulting by Degrees’ scheme as a technical consultant in Interactive Experience. My role will cover digital strategy and e-commerce. I also hope to pursue more initiatives and even run my own events promoting Women in Tech – to help promote the industry to more women.