About you: Monifa Walters-Thompson graduated from Kent in 2013 with a first class degree in Law. She spoke to BrighterBox, a graduate recruitment platform working with high growth startups, about her time at Kent and how it was the perfect springboard for kick-starting her career.
What were your first impressions of Kent?
I was apprehensive before arriving at Kent in 2010, but from my first day, and the Keynes College Pub crawl, I was hooked. That’s when I met my first friends at university, some of whom even studied law, like I did and those relationships continue today.
Law must have been an intensive course. What did you enjoy most about it?
I really enjoyed course work and had the freedom in third year to do two dissertations. The tutors were supportive and of course, the opportunity of working in the Kent Law Clinic was invaluable.
How much of a factor was your time at Kent in your career?
A huge factor. I am a barrister now, so without my education at Kent I’d be nowhere. I got a 1:1 in my degree, giving me that springboard as a BME student trying to get to the bar. I don’t know if I would have achieved as much anywhere else.
You have also had experience working at an innovative background-checking startup called Onfido – what was that like? What was the best thing you did there?
Onfido was a big start up (3 countries, 100-120 employees). Everyone was kind and friendly and I had a lot of opportunities to take on different work. The best thing I did on a personal development level was travelling to the US and working with the team out there; helping to set up compliance in that office; and assisting Onfido in inter-country office communications. I had the chance to do and see so many new things during that time because I was given that opportunity. For Onfido, I think the best thing I did was honing in on communication between the customer success team to ensure everyone knew how to access information they needed to perform the role effectively. I worked with other team members to create a knowledge base of foreign documents which I hope is still in use today (!)
Sounds like a varied role! Can you tell us a bit about what you’re doing right now?
I’m now a self employed barrister working in family law. It’s pretty busy, lots of reading and taking on board new information. Each day is definitely a challenge!
As someone with a range of experience, what advice would you give to a graduate looking to get into the startup world?
Just make applications and be ready to start from the bottom and work your way up. Use what you know and what you’re interested in to take you that step further and make yourself stand out. Creating a niche for yourself is really how to progress in a startup so always look for opportunities.