A rising star within the field of technology
Tulika Agarwal, Assistant Manager at KPMG, recently won the Rising Star Award at the everywoman in Technology Awards. Electronic Specifier’s Paige West spoke to Tulika about her career and the work she is doing to encourage young girls into the industry.
Tulika has been working in the tech industry since she graduated from Warwick University in 2018 with a degree in Economics. She works within the Technology Strategy practice at KPMG and is building her specialisation to become an Operating Model SME.
Why did you decide to pursue a career in technology?
In all honesty, as a graduate, I wasn’t too sure of my career path. During a panel discussion at Warwick, organised by Warwick Women’s Career society, I heard multiple women speak about their experiences of working in technology.
What I loved was how their careers were creative, futuristic, and tailored to their personal interests, instilling in me a curiosity. When learning more about this sector, I was fascinated by the plethora of opportunities and that’s when I decided my first role would be in tech. Little did I know I would grow to love working in this industry!
What is KPMG’s ITs Her Future programme and how are you involved?
The ITs Her Future programme is dedicated to tackling the issue of gender diversity within KPMG and beyond. As part of this programme, there are 15+ workstreams tackling the issue in different ways.
I am a co-lead within the Juniors workstream which offers work experience for girls in years 9 and 10. Through this initiative they learn to code, hear from our technology experts, and are paired with a KPMG graduate mentor. My role is dedicated towards building this mentoring programme.
We have been running these programmes in London since 2018, with a vision to expand across the UK in 2022. Our programme has inspired an initiative within KPMG globally to empower girls and young women and, in 2021, our team broadened the scope of mentoring by collaborating with the Enablement workstream at ITs Her Future. This is to build a mentorship dedicated to supporting students with learning disabilities.
I understand you’re passionate about improving opportunities for women in tech. Why do you think women are so underrepresented in this field?
In my opinion, there are two parts to the problem: the first is a lack of understanding of the different career paths within technology – there is still a stigma attached to the fact that technology jobs are more data or coding-focused or that you would have to study computer science/maths in university. However, this is not the case anymore: the world is changing rapidly, and technology is a part of every job. We need to work towards spreading opportunities in technology so people can approach this field with a more open mindset.
The second part lies in encouraging colleagues, irrespective of their gender, to provide equal opportunities as they progress within their careers. In my opinion, fighting both sides of the problem will help us deal with the underrepresentation of women in technology.
What has been your experience as a woman in this field? How has KPMG supported your career growth?
Thus far I’ve had a great experience. I haven’t felt like I didn’t have access to any opportunities because I was a woman. If anything, my team has always been supportive of my career choices and motivated me to pursue them.
Congratulations on winning the Rising Star Award at the everywoman in Technology Awards! How did this make you feel?
Thank you so much! I was certainly very excited and honoured to receive this recognition and hearing such inspiring stories at the awards ceremony has just pushed me to work harder and create a bigger impact.
How important do you think role models are in inspiring future generations?
I do think that role models play a critical role in allowing people to believe that they can achieve similar things in life. I think there are a lot of women around me working tirelessly towards building improved opportunities for women, and I want to be able to make my contribution towards the cause.
I have seen several strong, independent women around me who are excelling in their respective fields and in that process, have inspired me to do better and push myself further.
Tulika is now taking a break from her corporate career and heading to school for her MBA. Alongside her career aspirations, she has a personal goal to build a non-profit organisation that supports women in achieving financial independence.