Welcome to the next installation in our blog series highlighting Microsoft Learn Student Ambassadors who achieved the Gold milestone and have recently graduated from university. Each blog will feature a different student and highlight their accomplishments, their experience in the Student Ambassador community, and what they’re up to now.
Today we’d like to introduce Olumide Ogundare who is from Nigeria and graduated from the University of Lagos in Nigeria recently.
Responses have been edited for clarity and length.
Hi Olumide. Thanks for taking the time to meet with us. When you joined the Microsoft Learn Student Ambassador community in 2018, did you have specific goals you wanted to reach, and did you achieve them? How has the program helped to prepare you for the next chapter in your life?
In joining the community, I wanted to be a part of people’s success story. I started actively coding in my third year in school and felt that people coming after me could be exposed to technology much earlier. I really wanted to help people to learn technology as early as possible. I also wanted to touch on a few soft skills like communication, teamwork, leadership. I wanted to grow in these areas. I was able to work with teams--people in my country, people in various regions in Africa, people from all over the world. I was able to really improve in communication. I'm better now at answering questions in interviews because I was able to improve my communication skills. I feel much, much more confident answering those questions because of the skills have gained from the program.
In the Student Ambassador community, what was the top accomplishment that you’re the proudest of and why?
That accomplishment is the MVP award--I recently became a Microsoft MVP for AI. That shows how much impact I've made in the community, both locally and globally. For me, it's really cool that I can transition into whatever profession I want to do and still impact lives just the way I want to do it. So that's one really huge achievement for me. The Student Ambassadors program really helps students reach their achievements.
Last year, I was able to work with a few people to hold the National Summit where new Ambassadors get to meet each other. For Microsoft Imagine Cup Junior, we usually don't have submissions in Nigeria because a lot of people don't know about it. We held the mentorship program to help young primary and secondary school students in Nigeria learn about AI and even submit solutions for Imagine Cup.
Another accomplishment was the Student Summit Africa. I was able to work with the African Development Center in Africa to organize this summit for Africans where you could come to learn about Microsoft technologies. I was one of the organizers for that summit where we were able to reach over 5000 students from all over Africa.
What do you have planned for after graduation? What’s next for you?
From the very first day that I joined this program, I wanted to work with Microsoft either as a software engineer or a program manager. So over the past few months, I’ve applied several times to Microsoft, and I’m applying for other companies as well. I have an offer with Bank of America this summer, which is a Technology Summer Analyst role with the Information Security Team. I'll be protecting Applications and Data for Bank of America. I'm looking forward to that internship. I would have travelled to the UK from Lagos, Nigeria. That would have been my first time travelling internationally, my first time on an airplane, but it’s going to be virtual now because of Covid, so I won't be travelling, sadly.
One thing I would love to tell you about my Bank of America experience--there were three of us in the Student Ambassadors program in Nigeria. We worked together while preparing for the internship, and we all got offers, which is beautiful, as we met in the Nigerian community.
If you could go back in time, is there anything you would have done differently as a Student Ambassador?
I could have organized more hands-on events. I mean, I did a lot of events in my school, but I think I could have done more right when I joined the program. I was the only Student Ambassador in my school, so it took me some time to organize events.
I had a very slow start to the program when I joined. There were some challenges with event support in Nigeria, so we had to get sponsors. If I was to go back, I probably would have done more in terms of getting sponsors.
I would have created a structured pipeline for students to join a community in my school and learn Microsoft technologies so that when I leave the university, that structure and pipeline would be in place and when Ambassadors join the program from my school, they could follow a path to becoming a pro at a Microsoft technology of their choice and use that structure to continue that impact.
What advice would you give to new Student Ambassadors?
I would advise them to learn first. I mean, that's the first thing in the Student Ambassador program [editor's note: completion of a Microsoft Learn path is the first requirement in the program]. You should learn first, and then you teach. Turning on collaboration is key. You should work with people. Networking is key. Collecting information is key when you organize events. Get feedback from event attendees and fellow Student Ambassadors that will help your next event to be better than your previous events. That is what growth is all about. Then be willing to help others people in the community too. Always be available today to help answer questions.
If you were to describe the program to a student who is interested in joining the community, what would you say to them?
I would say it is the best way to help people and still grow at the same time. You get to gain tons of soft skills like communication, teamwork, a growth mindset, leadership, and lots of technical skills as well from AI to software engineering to data analysis. You get to join a diverse and inclusive community. You get to work with people from all over the world, learn about their culture, and make a national, regional and global impact by organizing events and helping fellow students learn new technologies. Then there are lots of benefits from a Visual Studio subscription to LinkedIn Learning, to free Azure exam vouchers and amazing swags.
What is your motto in life, your guiding principle?
"Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier." --Mother Teresa
What is one random fact about you that few people know about?
I am a foodie and an introvert.
We wish you luck, Olumide!
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