Meet Julianne Best, a Civil Engineering student at Loughborough University, originally from the London Borough of Waltham Forest. In this OneTech Story, Julianne shares how the incubator sharpened her employability and unlocked the world of tech start-ups.
How was your experience on the Talent Incubator?
I found it really amazing. I really looked forward to it each week. I learnt so much about entrepreneurial skills and how to develop an entrepreneurial mindset. It was a really great network of like-minded students, all looking at similar areas, and it was a really positive space to be in.
Has it improved your understanding of tech?
Yes. I didn’t know that much about the tech landscape or about the different companies, different names and the different styles and cultures within that. It was an aid in helping me to gain a more in-depth understanding of the space and understand the tech jargon.
Do you think you might want to work in tech?
Yes, the culture and values seem like something that is in line with mine and I like the fast-paced nature. From everything we have learnt it’s something I could see myself going into.
What did you learn about marketing yourself as an employee or as a business person?
One of the tasks was to create a LinkedIn 5 star profile. Through this I learnt about creating a personal brand and implementing this on Linkedin. We worked together as a team to endorse each others’ skills and create a stand out profiles. That’s something I continue to use.
Have you had the chance to market yourself to employers?
Over the summer I applied for an internship in a sales role with a small health care company. During the interview, I spoke about the programme and was able to talk about business resources such as CRMs and give examples of when I had used them as part of the challenges on the incubator. I could say ‘I’ve done this and I’ve looked for clients in this way’. They loved that – it made me stand out and I was offered the position.
What did you enjoy the most on the Talent Incubator?
My most favourite thing was producing the final video about my experience of the programme. That gave me a chance to reflect on everything we had learned. The whole experience. It was also quite a big task to create a 2-minute video. I was quite proud that I created that high-quality work and could celebrate being part of the programme.
Tell me a bit about your background and how it has influenced your journey and career choices so far?
I was always good at maths and physics. I really love innovation and learning so I think it was quite clear from secondary school I would go into engineering. My parents were really supportive of my decision, also attending a small all girls’ secondary school that had a focus on STEM was advantageous to the choices I made.
Going to a sixth form college was helpful as I had the opportunity to meet lots of different students who shared my interests. I took part in lots of extracurriculars in the STEM and tech field throughout my studies as I found them really interesting.
Have you faced any particular challenges in your studies in your journey so far?
I sometimes feel the imposter syndrome. However, knowing that I have and can demonstrate my skills and knowledge proves that I am more than capable of achieving my goals and doing whatever I put my mind to.
Did the Talent Incubator help you with any of those challenges?
Talking to other students with similar experiences was encouraging. Hearing about how they overcame challenges and sharing advice and information was really impactful. Kay was a great inspiration for us – her extensive knowledge and strong presentation skills were evident and could be aspired to.
What are your dreams and plans now for your future?
I am very open to gaining as much experience as I can. I have a keen interest in finance, engineering and tech. I am doing more coding outside my university course because that’s an increasingly important skill to have in any industry. Being open and taking every opportunity is where I am right now.
Do you have a business idea?
I’m trying to create something right now. A digital media outlet focussed on people’s stories as there are lots of positive stories that could be shared with others and celebrated.
What is your message to inspire other underrepresented founders?
Take every opportunity going, no matter how small! They all help in developing your skillset and you may meet really interesting people, which may lead to other great opportunities. Also, believe you have the skills to be there and surround yourself with others that reaffirm this.
Thank you to OneTech. I gained a special insight into the tech industry and the tasks gave me the opportunity to action the skills I learnt. I became more rounded with so much more knowledge about different areas that will help me in my future.