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Giving back: in the Strathclyde DNA

By Mamta Singhal - Posted on 6 December 2018

Strathclyde MBA alumna Mamta Singhal talks about how giving back to Strathclyde not only helps others but benefits her own learning journey.

I believe Strathclyde has a key philosophy of ‘Giving Back’ and I view the mentoring and general charity work that I have done over the last decade as aligning with this thinking.

It was the Strathclyde Business School Marketing Department that approached me in 2007 and asked if I would give a speech to an audience of 300+ at the Hilton in Glasgow about my Strathclyde experience that made me realise, firstly, that I enjoyed public speaking but secondly how fulfilling ‘giving back’ can be.

I have subsequently been a Management Today Inspiring STEM Mentor, a spokesperson for Strathclyde Business School, the Institution of Engineering and Technology, and the Women's Engineering Society - so in short giving back to Strathclyde also allowed me to move forward too. 

One contact that I gained through my student day was when I was finalist for the MBA Student of the Year awards. I was a rather terrified and naïve 28 year old - I was the only female in the global finals but had the business school supporting me all the way. I know I wouldn’t have had the strength and courage to get through the interview process had the SBS team not called me and emailed me to make sure I was ok.

I recall the judging panel asking me what I found the toughest thing in my career - I replied that I was following my dream to become an engineer and being part of global team in manufacturing amazing global products. Engineering is a male-dominated world and, as a female and an ethnic minority, I was never sure if I would succeed in that sector but I had a vision, passion and a fighting spirit that kept me going. Often I would work 15 hours days and 7 days a week just to stay ahead but I refused to let anything hold me back.

Moreover, my MBA was 100% self-funded so at 26 it was a high price to pay but I knew it would eventually pay-off. Indeed it did - just four years after graduating from the MBA, my salary doubled; moreover, I had the network to back me.

It was the mentors at the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), Women's Engineering Society (WES), Management Today (MT), and Women of the Future (WOF) Awards that held me up during those formative days so I feel it only fair that I give the same support to the next generation. 

During those MBA Student of the Year awards the Association of MBAs (AMBA) introduced me to the inspiring Pinky Lilani OBE. Pinky runs the Women of the Future awards and I have been fortunate enough to be a finalist twice for her awards but also been part of her mentoring/ambassadors programme. I am thankful for my time at SBS as I wouldn’t have gained these connections otherwise.

Over the years Pinky and I have worked together on kindness and collaboration programmes in London – mentoring young women at events at the US Embassy in London as well those at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office. It is wonderful to be able to assist the youth as there so many challenges out there and I truly know how I benefited in having someone to talk to during my younger years.

It is wonderful that there are people like Pinky at WOF, SBS, the IET and MT supporting me but also wonderful to see them do such meaningful work.  As a former tutor of the Strathclyde Engineering Department I am keen to see more people flourish in the fields – since winning the WES Young Women Engineer of the Year (YWE) award in 2007 (thanks to a Strathclyde engineering staff member who put in my application) I have been supporting the cause of women in engineering but equally stressing why as a nation we need to keep showcasing the STEM talent that we have in the UK. I have been a judge twice for the Young Women Engineer of the Year awards and equally I do return to Strathclyde to give talks to new students to provide them with career advice and general support.

As a twice graduate from Strathclyde I truly believe that ‘Giving Back’ and mentoring is part of my DNA as it should be for anyone who sees business as a holistic process. I learn so much about myself by helping others but equally know that I might be able to inspire, encourage and uplift someone in their career. Give Back - be a true Strathclyder!



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