One of my very first experiences as a Cambridge MBA student in 2019, was participating in the Women in Tech Challenge: Microsoft, GSK & Amazon. Having spent six years working in the consumer internet space in India, I was passionate about the role of technology in improving people’s lives. I was even more passionate about the role of women leaders in shaping the tech landscape, so I jumped at the opportunity to solve a real-world problem with a diverse group of women.
The Women in Tech Challenge was held at Newnham College, and senior executives from Microsoft, GSK and Amazon joined us, offering their mentorship as we worked through the challenges. I was selected for the Amazon Think Big Challenge, as part of a group of five women with various backgrounds in business, engineering and psychology. Our challenge was to create a solution that picks up data from sensors in towns, and uses Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning capabilities to improve the living experience in that town. We were encouraged, as the challenge suggested, to ‘think big’ and we were asked to present our solution in the form of a press release to ensure that we stay focused on the benefits to the end user and customer.
We presented a solution that was an add-on feature for navigation apps to help pedestrians find the safest way to reach their destination. The solution was targeted at primarily female travellers, but also tourists, the elderly, those with mobility and sensory challenges, and anyone else who prioritised safety while navigating urban environments.
The Women in Tech Challenge was one of the most rewarding Cambridge MBA experiences for me – I had the opportunity to work with a group of highly accomplished women with diverse backgrounds and perspectives. Each of us looked at the problem with a different lens, and used our unique capabilities to add value to the solution. The brainstorm session was the most exhilarating, as a group, we could challenge each other, break down a problem, and come to a solution in a way that was more considered, reflective and collaborative than we had experienced in many male-dominated discussions previously, in the workplace.
It was inspiring to experience first-hand the true potential of women in tech. Having received the Technology & Innovation Scholarship to do my MBA at Cambridge Judge Business School, I was enormously grateful for the opportunity to work on an exciting challenge with a company I admired, alongside inspiring mentors and a group I could learn from.
I look forward to creating and participating in many more such groups empowering women in tech in the future.