Northern Ireland’s leading tech companies & organisations came together for the 6th Women in tech Conference.
This empowering event, sponsored by MCS Group gathered role models who innovate, challenge, and embrace technology. From inspirational women who have achieved great success within the sector, to influential entrepreneurs who shared their journey throughout the world of tech from both local and global perspectives.
The day was be filled with feature speakers and panellists, providing attendees with industry-focused learning and face to face access to a high calibre of education and development experts on the conference theme of The Climate of Change.
Hear from Folasewa
I was privileged to meet and listen to some accomplished and inspiring women at the Women in Business Tech conference at the Titanic Belfast. The journey started when I heard about and enrolled in a networking and career development event organized by my prestigious university; Queen’s University, Belfast.
This was a three-day event, and my key learnings for those three days were; organizations need you as much as you need them, putting yourself out there, how to pitch yourself within a short time, and finally, keeping the right network and always staying in touch with them. The conference exceeded my expectations as I enjoyed every part of it, most especially the session anchored by Dr. Niamh Shaw my major takeaway from her speech was nothing just happens, you have to put energy into the things you like.
overall, my striking takeaway is to Deliberately create my Brand. not to forget to mention that I attended this conference with some great minds, with who I would love to stay connected. finally, special gratitude to my university and the organizer Deirdre, whom I was privileged to share a table with. she has a very bold and eloquent charisma, worthy to emulate, and also Nikky for this highly impactful opportunity.
Hear from Chimwemwe
Why you took part in the Women in the Business programme?
It is always exciting to be in a room full of women with similar interests, encouraging each other to be better. I was hoping to understand and get an insight into how easy or difficult it is for women to enter the industry, especially in Northern Ireland. To network and learn from the guest speakers on their experiences as I am about to start applying for jobs to kick start my career.
What you enjoyed most?
Hearing all the different experiences and lessons from the ladies, I made new connections and friends, and Niamh Shaw talking about her dream of becoming an astronaut.
Any tips and tricks that previous winners have used?
The key to a profitable investing is good research. The thing to remember when working in Finance Lab is that every piece of information you receive will have an effect on the share price of the investments you hold. Don’t ignore the news feed!
Common mistakes people make?
The most common mistake investors make is thinking that price is the main indicator of how well a company is performing. But of course it’s not an indicator of how well a company is doing in its own market, with its customers, with regulators or within its sector. A share price can be high at the same time as a company is performing poorly. A price fall will come; knowing when is the key.
What makes the game exciting?
Like all good games, it is the pressure of competition that makes the process exciting. In Stock Market Challenge you’ll be competing against other investors who want to come out on top on the night. There are some exciting opportunities to win so the stakes are high!
How not to lose your nerve.
Commit to the game, invest in the process and act methodically and with certainty to ensure you are in control of your actions. You control the market; don’t let the market control you. You will only lose your nerve when you don’t know what you are doing.
What ways can you prepare (even if it’s just binge-watching Industry on BBC iplayer!)?
Binge watching Industry will do no harm. It might even give you an insight into what not to do! The main skills are understanding what kinds of factors affect share prices. The most important thing is to keep an eye on the business news.
It’s not always obvious how actions affect share prices. When Donald Trump was banned from Twitter, investors decided to sell Twitter shares and its share value took a hit. The expectation was that the hit would be temporary, and the price would recover. But was that what happened? You may think as an investor that you’ll hold on to your shares (or buy more now that the price is lower) or dispose of them. Both strategies can be correct, depending on the market context. Following the news carefully is the key to successful investing.
Phoebe Craddock-Bligh, Queen’s History and Politics student spent a year at William Peace University Raleigh, NC, as part of the Study USA programme. Here is how she got on:
I applied to take part in the Study USA programme after hearing about it at the Go Global Fair two years ago. I also attended other talks but decided that Study USA was the one for me. In a very boring and practical way Study USA was the most economical way for me to take a year out and to be honest that was my driving factor in applying (that and REALLY wanting to go to America). – Getting accepted was just the biggest rush and it just goes to show you, if you don’t apply you won’t ever know- so why not take the risk?
Learning a new subject
I was placed by Study USA in William Peace University in Raleigh, NC with the primary goal of studying business classes and gaining an understanding of American culture. As a History and Politics student I was initially nervous about taking business classes, especially as I hadn’t taken a maths class since 2016! There were moments where I did struggle (especially in micro and macroeconomics) but I quickly realised that it wasn’t just me who was finding the content hard- the whole class was, which was quite the relief.
Through some hard work, a bit of mentoring and wonderful and caring teaching staff, I ended the semester with a distinction from the Dean and a 4.0 GPA! I was also pleasantly surprised at how interesting I found the business classes, plus I was able to take 1 elective per semester, so alongside organisational behaviour and marketing, I tried out completely new classes such as creative writing and women’s studies. In short – don’t rule out applying for Study USA just because you’re not a business student. The business skills I gained made me feel stronger in my position going forward into my career, and I’m grateful I had the chance to learn more about business in such a unique way.
A taste of the USA
Now for the fun stuff: living in the States was amazing! I loved every second, even when I wasn’t loving it. When I was presented with the reality of returning home pre-lockdown, I was distraught to be leaving so soon and not getting to finish the year on a high. Of course, I’m still incredibly grateful that I had the opportunity and the experiences I did. I got to visit NYC, explore Washington DC, take a Spring Break road trip to the mountains, and even a 9-hour drive to Florida (and back- we should have flown). And, of course, explore plenty of North Carolina. One of my favourite parts of being in The South was the BBQ! I can’t even write this without thinking about North Carolinian chopped BBQ, coleslaw and vinegar based hot sauce – and then there was the Mexican food! Sorry Boojum, but I’ve seen the light.
Joining the frat pack
Ultimately though, my favourite memories of my time in the States are less to do with all the cool places I got to see, and more to do with my friends and experiencing American college life. I thought I was prepared for the ‘American college experience’, I’d seen the films I thought I knew the craic. One thing I was not ready for was the sheer level of enthusiasm I was met with. From day one I became a Pacer, embroiled in college tradition and part of tight knit, caring community. I loved all the free merch we got to show off our ‘Pacer pride’, the welcome dinners on the front lawn and the events put on for students. Weekdays were always so busy with sports games (I’m now an avid basketball fan), ice cream socials or movie screenings, not to mention several failed Zumba classes. It was great being so involved.
My friends made my year though. I met some of the most fantastic people (and of course some not so great ones – but that’s just life!). I got particularly lucky with my suitemate Shawntez though. We met in the bathroom, where so many great female friendships begin, and were pretty much inseparable after that. What I miss the most from my time on Study USA is the people. It’s cringey but it’s true. It was my friends who made 8am classes bearable, or broke up the tedium of cafeteria food with weeknight trips to Wendy’s for burgers. My favourite memory with Shawntez was the NC State Fair. We accidentally parked 2 miles away, refused to wait for the shuttle bus so walked down a highway in the rain only to queue for 40 minutes just to get inside. But you know what, we still had the best time. Our night ended at 1am with a giant turkey leg, chocolate dipped cheesecake, and an entire deep fried onion. An initial disaster turned into the best memory.
Your main reason for studying abroad might not be to meet amazing friends you will inevitably have to leave, but it’s these people who end up making the day to day life, classes, homework and missing home enjoyable.
Sometimes I scroll though my camera roll looking at my photos from last year, and it still doesn’t always feel real. The experiences I had genuinely changed how I look at and approach the world in the best possible way, and my resilience has increased 10 times over. It wasn’t all plain sailing. Naturally there were times when I longed to go home and see my family, but I would do the whole thing all over again in a heartbeat if I could, the bad and the good.
If you’re even the tiniest bit considering that you might like to spend some time studying abroad, I would encourage you to take the plunge and apply. Start the process and you never know how far you might get.
Find out more about Study USA by joining our information session on Oct 20 and Nov 3
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