Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Returner to Work

Returners stories: Neha Agarwal

John Smith

Our Returners Programme is tailored to help men and women who have taken time away from the corporate field get back into the world of work. With centres around the globe, our programme is always open and ready for new applications. Neha Agarwal spoke to us for Fearless Friday about her career journey, and taking the brave leap of moving to and working in a new country.

How did your career start?

I graduated university in India with a Bachelor’s degree in technology and engineering. I went on to work with IBM as an SAP Basis Consultant where I regularly worked with global clients and internal cross-functional teams, where I was responsible for all technical aspects. I’m a very technical person so this role went hand in hand for me. I then moved to Hewlett-Packard into a management role, managing a huge team and multiple projects. After spending about two years away from the active corporate world and moving to the UK with my husband, I struggled to get my foot in the door of a technology company.

Searching for a job on my own had become really tough with companies only seeing the two-year gap and not the potential that I had. I came across FDM’s Returners Programme while searching for jobs online and I liked how it offered an opportunity to connect me with clients that hire FDM consultants. I attended FDM’s assessment day and I felt like I fit in instantly. The team was incredibly supportive about the break I took, and I managed to land a place in the FDM Returners Programme in April 2017.

What did you experience during your time at the FDM Academy?

From day one, FDM’s training was a refresher for all the skills one needs in the corporate world. I’d previously worked as a Project Manager but didn’t have any certifications, so I sat my PRINCE2 exam and it really helped me get my foot in the door. I realised how I could pick up from where I left my career in India. I worked on financial industry awareness, business analysis, project management tools and even a SCRUM agile workshop. Everyone on my course had taken a career break and some gaps were bigger than others, but we all had the same goal to get back into the world of work. Being able to work with people who were aiming to reach the same goal and who understood what I was going through made such a difference.

I recently found out that I am pregnant and I was worried about having to take time off for maternity leave, but FDM has been extremely supportive. I’m due in October, and when I’m ready to return to work, the team behind the programme will help me apply for jobs once again.

Best advice for someone who is keen to return to work?

Don’t ever doubt yourself. I wish someone told me that earlier on! You don’t realise how easy it is to pick up from where you left off – and you’ll do so well.

Are you looking for a route back into the corporate world? Our Returners Programme is always open and looking for new consultants