This is the next segment of our blog series highlighting Microsoft Learn Student Ambassadors who achieved the Gold milestone and have recently graduated from university. Each blog in the series features a different student and highlights their accomplishments, their experience with the Student Ambassadors community, and what they’re up to now.
Today we meet Aravind Venugopal, who is from India and recently graduated from Mar Baselios College of Engineering and Technology.
Gold Student Ambassador: Aravind Venugopal
Responses have been edited for clarity and length.
When you joined the Student Ambassador community in September of 2019, did you have specific goals you wanted to reach, such as a particular skill or quality? What were they? Did you achieve them? How has the community impacted you in general?
When I first joined, I wanted to evangelize Microsoft technologies in my college as well as in my state, as the knowledge and the use of them is low. After I joined, I understood that this program would help me grow a lot as an individual, technically and non-technically, as well as allow me to give back to and support the community (students everywhere).
I wanted to develop my skills in Azure. The Microsoft Learn platform and the monthly Azure credits which were available to Student Ambassadors helped me to learn and implement a lot of things on the Azure platform. I was able to help students from other states, mentor a lot of other Student Ambassadors, as well as host a lot of sessions and impact thousands of people.
The program did help me to improve both technically and non-technically. I am really proud to say that I was a part of the Student Ambassador community and was able to do what I wanted to do.
What were the accomplishments that you’re the proudest of and why?
There are few things that I am really proud of. Several of the events that I conducted were attended by many people, ranging from students to Vice Presidents of big tech companies. A few attendees also reached out to find out how they could continue with what was covered during the sessions. At this point, where my tenure as a Student Ambassador is over, it gives me immense pleasure to look back at the 10+ events that I did myself and many more in which I collaborated with others.
The mentoring of new Student Ambassadors is also something that I am really proud of and keep close to my heart, as I was able to connect with a lot of other Student Ambassadors from different colleges. It is super exciting to see how they are evolving from when they started out.
Finally, I cannot forget to mention that I was the first Gold Student Ambassador from my state. That is something that is precious. But beyond that, it is not the title or the swag, but the responsibility that matters and keeps me striving and moving forward.
What are you doing now that you’ve graduated?
I have joined the team at workat.tech, an organization that helps all those who want to be good software engineers by providing a guided learning experience and helping people prepare for their dream career. I am lucky to be a part of such an amazing organization in leading the community initiatives. Here, I can do what I always wanted to do. I connect with the team and the mission/vision, which is similar to that of the Microsoft Learn Student Ambassador community.
I am still expecting to give back to the Student Ambassador community in some way or another. Graduating from the program doesn’t mean that I am going to stop doing what I was doing. I have the opportunity to help a lot of similar Student Ambassadors who are looking to get started.
If you could redo your time as a Student Ambassador, is there anything you would have done differently?
I was kind of not very active at first. The Covid-induced lockdown also affected my plans. If I could re-do my time as a Student Ambassador, I would plan everything much more effectively and implement them in the best possible way. I realize that I could have made use of Teams chat more to gather feedback about what went wrong and how things can be improved [Editor’s note: Microsoft Teams is the platform through which the Student Ambassadors and the program management team communicate and collaborate]. Also, though I collaborated with Student Ambassadors across my country, I did not collaborate with others. That is something that I would have done differently.
If you were to describe the community to a student who is interested in joining, what would you say about it to convince him or her to join?
This is the sole community out there that focuses on providing the best value for anyone who is a part of it. It’s a platform where there are no practical limitations for you to learn and give back to the community. Beyond that, it is an amazing opportunity that has to be experienced. This is the exact thing that I share with others who are looking forward to give back to the community.
What advice would you give to new Student Ambassadors?
My first and foremost advice would be not to join the program just for the freebies or the swag. Be a part of the program to learn and impact furthermore. Be the start of the movement at your campus or community. Learn from the resources, collaborate with others, and grow together.
What is your motto in life, your guiding principle?
“Learn | Collaborate | Grow” is the tagline that I used for all events that I have conducted
I follow a few mottos or quotes, which help me a lot:
If you can do it, help others do it.
Be the change that you want to see.
A year from now, you may wish you had started today.
What is one random fact about you that few people are aware of?
Though I love to evangelize technology and promote the coding culture, I always want to be a part of something that does not make me sit in front of a computer and code all the day. I always love to be where amazing products can be connected with amazing users. I love to talk a lot with different people, learn a lot from them, and help developers make the products better optimized for the users. I believe the community aspect melts in there.
And I may be phasing out into a teaching position later in my career (I have not shared this with anyone else though).