22 April 2021
Azeezat Periola, who completed her LLB Law degree in January, tells of her recent experience as part of an ARU team working on an exciting business challenge…
The EDI Business Challenge sponsored by Microsoft BAME Network was an extra-curricular activity that has enhanced my skills and I believe it has prepared me for future career opportunities. Making it to the finals out of 36 teams from universities across the UK – and winning second prize – is a reflection of effective collaboration and teamwork. I am now interested in knowing more about tech-related industries.
The EDI Business Challenge lasted six months, from the launch in October 2020 to the finals in March 2021. Partaking in this challenge exposed me to the business world, focusing on the effective use of technology. I was able to work on projects, demonstrating practical and transferable skills from my degree (LLB Law) and network with leading industry professionals.
I worked in a team of five, meeting tight deadlines and delivering live presentations. In making it to the finalist stage we had to create and pitch three business ideas:
- Using artificial intelligence for good using Microsoft technology (HoloLens). Here we used AI to promote Cultural heritage in Africa. Our project was titled “Africa Through My Eyes” We captured how HoloLens would project and preserve the rich cultures of Africa by creating a video.
- Social good campaign for ASOS using virtual reality to engage the audience. Our Social Good campaign was in response to the Covid-19 Pandemic, and we decided to celebrate the NHS. The title of the Project was “#ScrubUP”.
- Identified a programme to improve gender diversity in technology. Here we created a mentoring program and a campaign that will facilitate the education of women which will create role models for females to enter the technology industry. We titled the project Tech For All, to project an industry where there is equal opportunities for all.
The last project was extremely time constraining as we had to deliver a live presentation within 36 hours. This was a stretch to my resilience and a testament that things can be done within a very limited time. In short, no time is little to get things done!
The three key things I learned from this challenge are:
- Develop a passion for research and learning. None of us in the team was pursuing a tech related degree, but we were prepared to research and discover new things. With this mindset we were able to come up with different ideas to create fascinating and innovative solutions to the tasks we were given.
- Harness your strength. It was a team project, and everyone had different strengths, By, leveraging on our strengths we were able to delegate tasks and collaborate effectively. This helped in saving time as we all knew where we were skilled at.
- Practice. Practice. Practice. It was a timely challenge and we had to pitch within the timeframe – without practice our points would not flow and we could lose track of time. Also, practicing brings a certain level of confidence.
Overall, this experience brought me outside of my comfort zone and I highly encourage any student to partake in extra-curricular activities outside of their degree because it will bring a different perspective and serve as a way to demonstrate and enhance your skills for the professional world. I am also grateful to Kim Holbrook and Khrieu Healy from the Employability Service for being our cheerleaders and to ARU for providing us with this opportunity.
By Azeezat Periola, LLB (Hons) Law graduate