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Saudamini Sonalker

BSc (Hons) Computer Science (2015)
Programme Manager, DHL, Bonn, Germany

Saudamini Sonalker

Why did you apply to the University of Bradford? What was your first impression of the university and the city? What did you enjoy most about your time in Bradford?

I applied to the University of Bradford because it offered the course I was most interested in and of the rising quality of education it provides. The societies present on campus made the years I spent there more enjoyable. The STEM Society gave me an insight into the importance of promoting the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics to school children and the influence the graduates of these subjects have on our future.

Why did you choose that particular course?  What did you like and enjoy most about your course? 

My father works in the IT industry and has been fortunate enough to work with some renowned organisations. I was heavily influenced by his work and always found the projects he worked on interesting and decided to choose a similar career path.  I enjoyed working on my final year project the most as it was a great way to build up and summarise everything we had learnt so far. All the lecturers were very approachable which made the feedback and guidance process very easy. 

What tips would you give to prospective students (about the course at University of Bradford and the university itself)? 

I would advise prospective students to look into all courses the university has on offer and attend Open Days to get a feel of them before they make a decision.  The lecturers and students here were very friendly, so speak to them about the course and university to get a taste of what entails in the life of a student here.  Once you are admitted to the university, you should make full use of everything that's on offer. Get involved in societies; it is a great way to meet like minded people.  I would also highly recommend going on an Exchange Programme if your course permits it.  It is the best way to experience a new culture and an amazing excuse to travel.

How did Career Development Services support you during your time at University?

Since I spent the second year of university away from Bradford, I couldn't utilise the Career Development Services to the fullest when applying for placement. However, I made it a point to book an one-to-one appointment in my final year so we could find ways to improve my CV. These sessions were very helpful and I would recommend them to anyone seeking employment, as a new pair of experienced eyes can do wonders.

Tell us about your current job.

I work for DHL in Germany. Business Partner Management was the team I worked for whilst on placement there, and that's where I am now a Programme Manager (starting 1st August 2015). I work on projects that are run at the innovation centre of DHL. These projects provide innovative logistics solutions to multinational organisations as well as to Deutsche Post. My role involves providing IT solutions by planning projects, overlooking their financials, and conducting data and trend analysis. 

What action did you take to improve your employability while at University? 

Since I didn't move away from home for university like most students, I felt I hadn't put myself much out of my comfort zone. Therefore, I went on an Exchange Programme to California and spent the second year of university studying in the US. That experience helped me enhance my transferable skills and taught me to quickly adapt to a new environment.

Had I not spent that year away, I wouldn't have thought of applying for placement outside of the UK.  DHL was the only company I applied to and was lucky enough to get it. I believe my time away played a huge part in giving me the confidence I needed for the interview process and to make the journey over to yet another country. By gaining an insight into the working world and gathering work experience is how I improved my employability whilst at university.

My performance whilst on placement secured me a job at DHL. Therefore in my opinion, doing a placement is highly beneficial and improves one's chances of employment after university.

What advice would you give to current students wishing to enter this type of career?

From my experience, I learnt that a lot of times a career in IT is very different from what the course entails at university. That is why it is beneficial to gain some sort of work experience, whether it is a summer internship or a year's worth of placement. It gives the student clarity with regards to what they want to do after university.

Another advice I wish to give to any student is to get outside of their comfort zone. I couldn't stress enough about how much you learn from experiencing new things. Going on an Exchange Programme changed my perspective on lot of things and was an eye-opener. A change of environment will give you an alternate view on your perception of life after university.