Monju Meah, Graduate Software Engineer at Capgemini
By Monju Meah
During my school years I was not the most academically successful. My GCSEs were quite poor, scraping Ds, Es and Fs. I was not able to progress onto A-levels because of my poor grades. I wanted to continue my studies so I completed a GNVQ intermediate course and then a year later completed my A-levels in IT and Business Studies.
After a tough period with things going wrong at home and school, I began to focus and became determined to do something with my life, anything, just to have a little success. So I focused and worked hard during my A-levels and got AAB; not record breaking A-level grades by any stretch but for me it was a huge achievement for me, and the first As I had ever got. Something had clicked and throughout it all my digital skills, no matter how rubbish I was at a particular subject matter, kept my head above the water and eventually helped me excel.
What happened next? A regional newspaper awarded me £1,000 prize for A-levels young achiever of the year for most improved. I got into university to do Business Studies (first person in my family to attend university) with a focus on entrepreneurship and IT. During this time I interned with Accenture and even set up my own design agency. I went on next to complete a Masters in Strategy and Finance.
But the best was yet to come! I hopped off down to Peru for 3 months to volunteer on the International Citizen Programme, again using my digital skills (a key reason I was successful in the recruitment process along with the regular soft skills). When I came back, I took part in an assessment centre with Capgemini for a graduate Software Engineer role having completed the application process before I departed for Peru. I had been rejected a year earlier at the telephone interview stage but I was back and determined to get in this time because I believed I would fit into the culture and values of this company. I did significantly more research into the company and the industry this time round and my knowledge must have impressed because I got in!
And what a journey it has been over the last 3 years working for Capgemini. I worked with some amazing global and UK companies, and even spent time in San Francisco, where I came back as a trained SAP Business Intelligence Software Engineer, which in a nutshell is how a company uses its data to make better decisions right across the business. I’m now working on UK-wide and some global projects in Capgemini’s Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability team, and I can’t quite describe just how incredible it is to be part of – combining my digital skills and passion for CSR.
If there is a pattern you notice from my story, it’s that failure came hand in hand with my success. Learn from your mistakes, forget the setbacks and let what you are passionate about drive you. The tech industry has helped change my life around, took me around the world and to where I am today with so much on the horizon.
So as I finish off writing my tech story -sitting on the veranda of my lodge in Arusha, and the day before I climb Kilimanjaro – I say good luck to you and don’t give up on your dreams.