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Bodam Taiwo (BEng Electronic Engineering 2006)

Biography

I started my career as an Engineering Assistant at Huawei Technologies Co. Limited. After a year, I was promoted to Assistant Commercial Engineer. However, I soon discovered my love for Business Development, Marketing and client relations and a made a career change and the rest is history! A lover of all things planning-related, I formally registered and started my Events Planning Company – Events By Bodam – in 2011 and ran it for a couple of years, before closing its doors (temporarily) in 2014. I value my time at the University because not only did I get a solid degree, but I also learnt a number of soft skills which are vital in my current career path and business.

Why did you choose to study at the University of Reading?

I didn’t quite choose Reading, but Reading chose me! I applied for University and was having quite a bit of difficulty getting admission on account of my age (I was 16). Reading however, took a look at my grades, offered me admission AND to my course of choice! It was simply the stuff dreams are made of!

What was the best bit about living and studying in Reading?

In my opinion, it was the social life! Fast-forward 9 years later and whenever my friends and I remember our Uni days, we still talk about the social life. There was something happening every day of the week. It was a great way to make friends and to unwind after working so hard during the day.  I was also the Secretary of the Reading University Afro-Caribbean Society (RUACS) and that helped my social life immensely!

What top tips would you give to students who are beginning their studies?

Hit the ground running and don’t pile up work till the very end. Study regularly throughout the year – it makes revision a lot easier. Learn financial management as this is a skill that you will need forever! Make lots and lots of friends and from many different cultures too! Make very good use of Fresher’s fair – sign up to almost everything and try everything at least once!

What are you up to now? How did you get there?

I’m the Reserve, Customer Marketing Manager at Diageo Brands Nigeria (the parent Company of Guinness Nigeria Plc). In my “spare” time, I am very active with a number of charities, Church and a lot of social engagements. It took a while to get here – mind, I’m still a work in progress – and I attribute a lot of it to sheer hard work, singleness of purpose and my faith.  Career wise, getting here meant sometimes taking a lower paying job for the experience it could get me, getting a career mentor I could discuss my goals and ambitions with and who could advise and encourage me especially on down days.  It also meant putting in a lot of extra time training myself and establishing myself as a professional in whatever I was doing.

What would be your top tips for students interested in working in this sector?

Even though I obtained a Bachelors in Engineering degree in Electronic Engineering, I have chosen to develop a career in the field of Marketing¸ Sales and Business Development. The number one trait I would advise anyone in this sector to develop is “self-motivation”. When you’re developing a business, or selling a product, you’re going to hit many brick walls and come across obstacles; you need to motivate yourself to keep going and to reach the end goal.  A lot of the time, especially in new businesses, you’re going to be charting new territory and creating processes.  Some days will be fun and others will be frustrating.  You need to have the self-will to get through the low days and focus on the end game!

How has the University of Reading and the Careers Centre helped in your chosen career path?

It instilled in me the knowledge and realization that I could do/achieve anything I set my mind to – small wonder I picked a career in Marketing, Sales and Business Development and a side-career in Events Planning. In my second year at University, I contested for and won the elections as the Secretary of the Reading University Afro-Caribbean Society (RUACS), a position I held for one year. In that same year, I also participated in and was crowned Miss Malaika UK 2005, a position I also held for one year. Balancing all those balls in addition to the glass ball that was my academics shaped me in a way I can’t even begin to express.

What are your top tips for students graduating this year? What should they be doing to secure the job they want?

Start early! Map out a plan – what do you want to do after graduation? What kind of industry do you want to work in? Be purposeful in your job search and job application process.  Applying for jobs is really stressful in addition to projects/thesis and finals but make a firm slot for it in your time-table. Tailor CV’s and Cover letters specifically to certain vacancies – make yourself stand out.  Make use of all your great experiences at university to show employers what an asset you’d be to the company. Most of all, make very good use of the career centre, the workshops available and the helpful staff.

What does the University mean to you and what is your favourite memory?

The University means a lot to me – Thursday Lab Days, Cider and Tuna Salad in Mojo’s Bar, Wednesdays – Saturday nights in the Student Union, Yearly visits to Alton Towers… So many amazing memories. My favourite memories – there are two of them – would have to be the day I got my result – I graduated with a Second Class Upper Honours Degree – and the day I graduated, I was filled with so much emotion, lining up with my classmates – the only female at the time – walking into the Great Hall with family and friends around me, collecting my certificate and having that sense of accomplishment… Yes, I’d finally done it! I passed through Reading and Reading had passed through me.

 

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