Varaidzo Mapunde (nee Mayowe), BSc (Hons) Technology & Management, 2003
Programme Manager, National Institute for Health Research
- From Harare, Zimbabwe
- Graduated with BSc (Hons) in Technology and Management 2003
- Currently a Programme Manager, National Institute for Health Research
Tell us about what you are currently doing.
I work for the Colorectal Therapies Healthcare Technology Cooperative based in Leeds, and this involves supporting SMEs, academics, clinicians and patients and the public to collaborate on the development of medical technologies that improve patient outcomes. This includes identifying any unmet needs, prototype development, as well as product and clinical evaluations that could ultimately lead to the successful commercialisation of a novel device. I really enjoy working on projects that will directly benefit the patients and increase their outcomes positively - it makes me feel like I've done my bit for society.
How has your Bradford degree and University experience helped you get to where you are now?
My degree helped by instilling the importance of research into everything I do. All the modules required us to view a particular challenge from a variety of perspectives, and to identify the critical success factor for each situation. This means challenges in my working environment are actually exciting to tackle as I'm more open to other theories and views. As an international student, the University was home and the access to relevant material and down-to-earth academics was brilliant.
Why did you decide to come to study at Bradford? What were the most memorable aspects of your experience at the University?
Most of my peers studied the usual subjects like Business or Law, however I wanted something more exciting and something that would really challenge me. The Technology and Management degree did just that, and exceeded my expectations, and at that time, Bradford was the only place offering this course. The best things about the course was that you studied subjects that directly related to the world outside, you could test actual concepts, develop prototypes, play around with materials - so it was all very real and not hypothetical. My most memorable aspect was realising that I was actually good at public speaking - that was such a confidence boost.
What advice would you give current or future students hoping to work in your profession?
My advice would be to actively listen - you do not need to know everything, you just need to be interested and people will usually support you and help you fill in the blanks. Do not be afraid to admit you got it wrong. Try everything within reason, at least once - if you had told me at 16 that I would be achieving top marks for a statistics module, I would have laughed myself to death. But the University has a way of making scary topics understandable, and you need to capitalise on this. Also know your limits .
Tell us about yourself and your ambitions
I was born and educated in Harare, Zimbabwe and spent a lot of time growing up in different parts of the world, due to my father's job as a diplomat and peace maker. This has shaped me in that I always seek new and different experiences, and I am passionate about doing work that directly helps others to lead a fulfilled life. This is probably why I ended up where I am, as I get to interact with people from all walks of life, and listen to their stories without judgement. In terms of personal ambitions, I just want to help others make informed choices that benefit them in the long term.
Published April 2017