Ambah Simpson, Class of 2013 is currently an Account Manager at Google
What was your experience at Manchester High like?
Manchester High was all that I could have wished for from a school experience. It’s crazy to think that I was at the school for the majority of my childhood. I remember joining in year 1 mid way through the year due to a place becoming available. I’m pretty certain that there was quite a long wait list for the prep school at the time so I still to this day count my blessings that I was able to gain a place so young. From that day on I never looked back and Manchester High gave me an array of opportunities to help me develop myself as a person.
I thank Manchester High for supporting me both academically and in my sporting ambitions which allowed me to achieve success nationally. From the age of 7 - 16 I was racing competitively in swimming where, at the height of my career, was training up to 9 times a week. All my teachers were extremely understanding of this and I even had permission to sneak off to the nurse’s office beds for a quick power nap at lunch if I was ever tired! This just highlights the lengths that the school will go to when supporting every individual that studies there.
How do you feel it helped to shape the person you are today?
Without the support system at Manchester High I would not be the outgoing, confident and driven woman that I am today.
Were there any teachers who made a particular impression on you?
Dr Poucher was such an inspiring teacher to me - she had such a calming presence. She was always there to pick me up when I was down and probably isn’t even aware of how much of an impact she had on me in my last few years of high school and sixth form. Biology was always a subject that I loved but just couldn’t quite grasp. After some disappointing AS level results, I nearly gave up on my passion for the subject. However, Dr. Poucher had so much faith in me that she guided me through my final two years to achieve great results.
Mrs Wells, Mrs Annis and Mrs Haves were my English and Drama teachers who allowed me to always be myself. I was fairly outspoken at times but luckily in these classes this was encouraged! Mrs Haves actually directed a play that I was the lead in, Nought & Crosses, which was easily one of the best but most challenging experiences of my life so far and she supported me all the way.
Are you still in touch with anyone from your time at School?
I am so grateful for the friendships that Manchester High gave me. There is a group of eight of us that still have a WhatsApp group called ‘Man High Girls’ where we chat daily. We will always have a strong bond due to being Ivy girls which means even though we are dotted all over the world at the moment; when we get together it is as if we were never apart.
What did you do after Manchester High? Tell us about your journey in your own words.
In my final year of school, I had the opportunity to visit Silicon Valley in San Francisco which then had a domino effect on all the stepping stones in my journey to where I am now. After the visit, I was determined to work for a company such as Google as I love the culture that they bring to employment. They also empower women to be leaders in technology which echoed what I had been taught to strive for whilst at Manchester High. I was heavily involved in many sports during my time at Man High and when I combined this with my passion for business and technology, Loughborough University was a perfect fit for me to continue my studies. I studied International Business where I conducted internships every summer and worked at IBM during my placement year.
During my time at Loughborough I also continued with my sporting hobbies where I played netball and captained the team for my final year. The long summers of work placements and gruelling study regime paid off as I received an offer for a job at Google before I had even graduated! I have been based in their European Headquarters in Dublin for two years now and I couldn’t be happier. I work within their Global Marketing Sales team as an Account Manager for digital agencies across Europe (specialising in the Finance sector). This allows me to work on the marketing plans for some of the largest Finance partners in the world.
What has been the highlight of your career?
I recently achieved a position on the board of the Women@ Google steering committee. This will allow me to continue driving a pathway for young women, not only in Google, but also in the technology sector. I’m so excited for this opportunity as it will allow me to brush shoulders with some of the strongest and most inspirational women within the industry.
What advice would you give to girls considering your career?
Always believe in yourself. Self-belief really is the key to success and without it you will never achieve your full potential. If you had told me 10 years ago that I would have achieved some of the milestones that I have I probably would have laughed in your face. I used to always compare myself to other girls that I considered more intelligent or driven than myself. However, when I started to believe in myself, my goals began to get actualised.
Who are the inspirational figures in your life?
I know that almost everyone says this but it is definitely my parents. Both my parents have worked incredibly hard to give me the opportunities and life that I have. My Dad was a Jamaican immigrant in the 60s and I can only imagine how tough it was for him growing up. His determination and success inspire me always.
What are your ambitions for the future?
I want to continue leading the way for women in the digital sector. My dream is to relocate to New York or San Francisco in the next couple of years to work within our YouTube team where I will be able to plan the marketing strategies for some of the biggest brands in the world.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I’m a bit of a foodie and love visiting restaurants with exotic dishes on the menu. I recently visited a restaurant in Ireland called Hang Dai where I tried Pig’s ear. It’s a must-go-to if you are ever in Dublin! I also enjoy travelling around the world. Fortunately, my job is fairly flexible so I have the opportunity to travel regularly. My next trip will be Canada in a couple of weeks where I can’t wait to finally visit Niagara Falls.
What achievements are you most proud of in life?
One of my biggest achievements would be gaining my role at Google. As I mentioned previously it was an ambition of mine from being a teenager. Therefore, when I received the phone call with my offer for a position on the team I was ecstatic. It felt as though all the hard work that I had put in for such a long time had finally been worth it.