Mitul Vadgama – The Data Leader who keeps learning and adapting

Mitul Following a BSc in Business Computing Systems in 2009, Mitul Vadgama went out on a mission – to apply his considerable interest in and knowledge of technology to the benefit of businesses and organisations by helping them solve problems with the aid of data and innovation. In a career that has, so far, spanned consulting to private and public sectors and deploying analytics in numerous sectors such as financial services, tech, pharma, government and more, he has learned to lead and adapt on a constant basis. These are just two of the qualities that have seen him appear recently in CDO Magazine’s illustrious 40 Under 40 Data Leaders for 2023.

How do you feel about this recent accolade and why do you think you were selected?

I’m very proud and honoured to be recognised. I think it’s a reflection of a broad body of work throughout my career, starting from building servers and computers using custom hardware during my one-year university placement back in 2008 to leading organisations today in interesting arenas such as the cloud, data and analytics, and Artificial Intelligence. From 2009 to today, I’ve gained a whole range of experiences in data and technology specifically, some technical, some non-technical, and also in leading companies in transformation projects by learning about the businesses. I think these were all contributing factors to appearing in the 40 Under 40 list.

What professional skills have served you the most in your career to date?

It is difficult to single out one skill as every situation may require a specific skill or range of. However, I would say that communication has been key throughout my career. My natural curiosity has also helped me along the way. For example, after I finished my first year at uni, I enjoyed getting hands-on with technology. I also loved learning about business, people, and processes. In short, I needed a career offering a great variety of tasks and responsibilities. Curiosity was the driver behind that.

How did your time at City contribute to this?

The beauty of the programme was in the number of different areas you got exposure to – programming in Java, networks and operating systems, database theory, etcetera. It was a pleasant surprise to learn about things like mathematics or computing, Artificial Intelligence, entrepreneurship, business, and organisations. The broad body of knowledge I acquired no doubt informed the direction my career took, which was helped along the way by City’s professional liaison unit, the work search tips I picked up along the way, and the one-year work placement as part of the programme.

Did the student experience meet your expectations of City?

After studying IT at college, I gravitated towards the field of computer technology in businesses and how organisations can leverage technology to become more efficient. This directly influenced my choosing City, coupled with the very relaxed culture and open environment I encountered at the Open Day. What’s more, the university comes with a reputation for graduate employability, and I must say the opportunity of doing a sandwich course was key to being industry-ready at the time of graduation.

What initial steps did you take into the industry?

I have always been a big believer in the idea that luck comes to those who are prepared. I have been quite proactive in my career and while still at City I was very lucid about what I wanted to do after graduation, which was to go into consulting. Lo and behold, I got a role in consulting as a software product consultant for Pitney Bowes in 2009. The next move was to the education team at Qlik, a world leading data analytics company where I was teaching customers from the private and public sectors how to get the most out of data by sharing a range of best practices on the subject.

More recently your career has been concentrated in the banking sector.

After Qlik, I pursued my desire to deliver longer term objectives for organisations, requiring greater dedication by becoming an independent consultant. Some of my career highlights have included working in the UK, Europe, and America playing a pivotal role in leading cloud migrations for HSBC and Zurich Insurance to the likes of Google Cloud Platform and Microsoft Azure. More recently I was the Head of Business Intelligence for a FinTech startup focussing on how to leverage modern technology, data visualisation and AI practices. Now I am at Lloyds Banking Group delivering varied and interesting work as a Senior Data and Analytics Strategy Manager – on any given week I could be working on defining or communicating data and analytics strategy, meeting people, or exploring the latest innovations in the data, tech, and financial services world.