Building her network helped Ama land her dream graduate role

by | Mar 5, 2019 | Arrival Network, Student Spotlight, Talent, Talent Talks

Ama’s profile

  • Name: Ama Ankobia
  • LinkedIn:
  • Home: Born in Ghana, now lives in Croydon
  • Joined Arrival Network: Summer 2018
  • Programmes: Skanska Leading with Purpose
  • Reasons she joined the Arrival Network: Brothers had had a great experience on The Arrival Network and she was unclear about her future after university.
  • Benefits of joining the the Arrival Network: Secured a role on the highly competitive Future Leaders Graduate programme at GSK in Finance and has much greater confidence about her future.


I’d love to be able to help other young people see that they can do it too. That companies, as prestigious as GSK, want diverse talent like them. That it is all possible.

When did you start working with Arrival Education?

Summer 2018, when I was 22.


Why did you decide to become a member of The Arrival Network?

My eldest brother had joined a year or two before, and he was really passionate about everything he was gaining from the Arrival Network programmes. He was selected for two coaching programmes with SKANSKA and GSK and had learned so much. His passion about the programme was so infectious that it led my two younger brothers to join The Arrival Network and I could see the positive impact on them. I had just graduated from university and felt really cloudy and unclear about my future. I knew I needed clarity and direction but didn’t know how to get that for myself. I figured I had nothing to lose, so applied to join.


What have you done through the Arrival Network?

Last summer, I applied for and got a place on the Leading with Purpose Coaching programme with top construction and engineering firm SKANSKA. It is a 9-month programme in which young adults, aged 18-24, from socially and ethnically diverse backgrounds are paired with a coach from SKANSKA, to work through goals, gain insight into leadership behaviours and think about purpose. My coach, Paul Williams, has been incredible at helping me figure out what I needed to do to pursue my dreams and the guest speaker at the mid-point, Toffael Rashid, was really inspiring and helped me see myself really differently.

Last Autumn, Arrival Education sent out an opportunity to apply for GSK’s graduate finance programme. GSK was running a similar programme to SKANSKA with Arrival Education and my brother was being coached by one of their senior leaders. He talked a lot about what a great company it is, so I decided to apply.

What have been the benefits to you of joining The Arrival Network?

The main benefit is that I have secured a place on the Finance Graduate Programme with GSK, starting Autumn 2019! This is life-changing for me.

Growing up I wanted to be an accountant. I decided that I didn’t want to study accountancy at university because I would have to get my qualifications after university to become a chartered accountant. Despite this, I wanted the university experience and loving sciences, I decided to study Pharmacy. Pharmacy is a vocational course so my path had been set straight to becoming a pharmacist after university, but I didn’t know how to move from Pharmacy into Finance. I was starting to think I would settle for the path I was on and give up on my dream, simply because I had no idea how to make the change. The Arrival Network has helped me make my dream a reality.

I have also become much more confident in myself. I can see that I can develop myself as a leader – rather than it being something only a small number of people can do.

I have built a network of people I can turn to for coaching and support and that makes me feel relieved. Despite the loving support of my family, growing up it always felt like I had to figure it out myself because I didn’t know anyone from the industry that I wanted to go into. And my big dreams feel attainable now. It used to feel like they were too far away and unattainable. I don’t feel that anymore.

Before joining the Arrival Network, did you think that top companies like GSK were open and keen to recruit socially and ethnically diverse talent?

To be honest, no. At University they kept telling us how impossible it was to get into such prestigious firms and so I just thought it would never be possible for me.

What do you want to do in the future?

I’d love to be able to help other young people see that they can do it too. That companies, as prestigious as GSK, want diverse talent like them. That it is all possible.  

Where are you from?

I was born in Ghana. My family relocated when I was 10 and we moved to near Croydon in South London.

How was that?

It was a big shock to the system. In Ghana, you have to work much harder and have to do a lot more mental arithmetic than in the UK!

When you were at school what did you think about your future?

I wanted to have a great career but I had no idea how to go about it. I didn’t know anyone in business who I could turn to for help. My parents work really hard but they didn’t know how the system worked. If I hadn’t got involved with programmes like those run by Arrival Education I just wouldn’t have had a clue.

Thanks Ama for allowing us to share your experiences! If you are 18-26,  from a low-income household or are ethnically diverse and want to build a great career in leading business please join the Arrival Network here.