Aisha Apps

UK, MBA 2019

“I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.” – Albert Einstein

I studied at The University of Kent for my Bachelor’s degree and I was impressed with both the quality of the teaching staff and the course material. The Kent MBA programme specifically has strong international partnerships and opportunities for engagement which was a huge selling point for me.

My first taste of work was on my year in industry at Cisco’s headquarters in Silicon Valley California. It was a fantastic introduction to the world of technology and truly opened my eyes to the opportunities that exist within it.

I joined Cisco officially after I graduated in 2015 as a database engineer, however, I changed managers a couple of times and didn’t truly find my place until I moved into project management a couple of years ago.I am currently Release Train Engineer, which is akin to a project manager who looks after teams organised around a particular value stream. There is a strong focus on coaching both teams and management and I enjoy this job immensely as it is collaborative and fast-paced!

Achievements

  • I think the most pivotal achievement, in my opinion, was my decision to pursue further education in the first place has come for a non-academic background and very average grades in school. It was a leap of faith and I doubted myself along the way but it was an incredible journey and I learnt a lot about what is really possible if you put your mind to it.
  • Fresh out of university I was sure that I was going to be following a technical path, as time went on I got more involved in different projects and realised that my passions lie elsewhere, and I enjoyed business and analytics much more. I ended up getting the role of Release Train Engineer which considered to be one of the more pivotal roles in our organisation. This is a transformational role which focuses on leadership and coaching and I had never considered myself as a leader so that felt like an enormous achievement to be recognised in that way.
  • I also took STEM ambassador training and organised a STEM Day at our UK headquarters, with around 50 students who came to the office for tours, tech talks and a ‘Dragons Den’ style event. It really motivated me to see young students so engaged in STEM activities, I am passionate about inspiring young people to consider STEM careers, especially young girls who are often discouraged at an early age.

Aspirations

In the short term, I want the Kent MBA programme to be a vehicle for me to bridge my understanding between the worlds of IT and business. This is crucial in order to form effective strategies and ultimately move into leadership. In the long term, I would either like to own my own business or transition to a leadership role in a company that leverages technology for wildlife conservation.

Advice

Something that I have learned that speaks specifically to me is understanding the importance of alignment. Learning how everything is connected and how to leverage those connections and making sure that you have a strong strategy that everyone is aligned to.

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