Do Not Underestimate Yourself – Ayda Abdul-Majid Kagambo

 

Ayda and I are part of the AIMS Alumni family, but I personally got to know her through LinkedIn, after part of her story was posted by AIMS. Here is our interview about her STEM journey:

Hi Ayda, it is nice to have you join us today. Thank you for accepting to be part of this
Hi Winnie, thank you for reaching out! Congratulations for your remarkable work. I looked into the link you shared and I am happy to share my story.

Thank you! Kindly introduce yourself to our audience
My name is Ayda Abdul-Majid Kagambo from Tanzania. People mostly know me as Ayda Kagambo. I am an Experienced Senior Associate or you can call me an IT Risk Consultant at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

Please give us a brief history about your life journey, from childhood to where you are now
My journey is not so different from any other ordinary journey. I did Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics (PCM) for my A’level at Marian Girls’ High School and a bachelor science degree in Actuarial Sciences at the University of Dar es Salaam. In October of 2014, I was privileged to join the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) program under a full scholarship. After my studies at AIMS, I worked with Kilimo Trust as a Support Technical Staff for about 1 year and 6 months.

In 2017, I started my journey with PwC and it has been a very fulfilling one since then, funny thing is I got accepted at PwC as part of the graduate recruitment immediately after my bachelor’s degree but I turned the offer down and pursued my master’s degree with AIMS. Fate had other plans I guess and years later I became part of the PwC team. With PwC, I have met so many people from different backgrounds, countries, and cultures.

Being part of the solution for clients, understanding weaknesses in their controls environment and giving them pragmatic recommendations has been an amazing experience for me. Knowing that I can enable my clients to have confidence and trust in their information systems and the data that is being processed through those systems is very fulfilling to me. As part of this journey, I have pursued 3 certifications from ISACA; CISA, CRISC, and CISM and have excelled in all my examinations. Juggling work and studies hasn’t been easy, but God and a good support system have played a crucial part in my excelling.

What are some of the challenges you faced along the way?
Mathematics, ha-ha. As much as I love Mathematics, my A’level wasn’t very easy! Maybe it was because of the school I went to; excellence is at the core of that school hence the pressure to be the best was not a joke. This translated to long study hours which was a bit tough sometimes. I had to wake up very early and sleep very late, plus many sleepless nights to ensure that I got good grades.

There are also other life challenges; I have made a lot of mistakes! Most of these were because of poor decisions. I don’t want to go deep into these but I am very grateful to God who restored, redeemed and lifted me. I honestly wouldn’t be where I am now without God; he means so much to me!

What has inspired you to move forwards amidst all these challenges?
My family; my mom, dad, young brother and sister. Also, wanting a better future for myself and my family has always been my greatest inspiration. I have always believed that I am destined for greatness and this usually fuels me to rise up against any setback and move forward.

What is your greatest achievement so far?
Getting the AIMS full scholarship was such a big thing for me. I had always tried getting fully funded scholarships for my studies abroad; I had placed applications to schools in different parts of the world because I wanted a chance to experience diversity in terms of culture, environment and just be exposed to the endless possibilities of what the world could offer. I unfortunately didn’t get full scholarships just partially funded and my family couldn’t afford paying my tuition as an international student then. The AIMS scholarship was some sort of validation for me because it made me believe that I was worthy to be called one of the brightest in the continent and dreams can truly become a reality.

My other great achievement is having my certifications as mentioned earlier. The fact that I have paid for some of these on my own and passed them on my first attempt blows my mind! Juggling my type of work with busy seasons plus study hours and excelling at both of them was not an easy thing but I did it, ha-ha.

Who is Ayda outside work?
I am a very chilled person; I love TV series, music and taking pictures. I love fashion and unique hairstyles, ha-ha; I once had a dream of being a model! I still think I am going to pursue that dream. I really want to be on billboards, I just love it, ha-ha.

What quote resonates with you most at the moment?
With God all things are possible~ Jimmy Mastronardo

Please give a word of encouragement to a young girl who is just joining the world of STEM
Do not underestimate yourself! If you believe in yourself and in God, nothing said by other 1,000 people should pull you down. All these STEM subjects and careers can be tough sometimes but trust me, you are bright and there’s nothing in there that you can’t do. The world is full of opportunities and STEM will get you through those doors of opportunities. Just believe in yourself, work hard and pray to God, it will eventually pay off.

Thank you so much, Ayda for being flexible with me, and for accepting to add your voice to this project. I look forward to more interactions in the future and wish you more success.

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