ITMB grad set to transform private social networking
IT Management for Business (ITMB) graduate and social networking entrepreneur Harry Jawanda spoke to Tech Partnership about his career in tech, plans to break America and the secret to success at university.
Harry Jawanda, co-founder of the social networking app-builder Wambiz, has just completed the sale of his business’ intellectual property rights for the UK, Australia and New Zealand education markets to the listed education software provider, Tribal Group.
Wambiz builds private social networks for schools, colleges, universities, companies and charities. In an age of clunky group emails and Facebook TMI (‘too much information’), Wambiz offers a safe middle ground for teachers and employers to collaborate online with students and staff. With over 60 institutions now using the platform — including Tech Partnership — the company will now focus its efforts on penetrating those education markets outside of the three territories sold to Tribal, in particular North America and the rest of Europe. Wambiz also hopes to introduce its platform into new markets beyond education, including customer service industries and insurance.
The sale marks another highlight for Harry’s brilliant career in tech, which all started at his local Birmingham City University (BCU) where he studied the ITMB BSc — the course offering a unique mix of business and technology modules.
Like many ITMB students, Harry chose the course because it offered good career prospects after graduation. “Before university I was playing professional hockey — I loved it but had to start thinking about my future”, he said. “When I was looking at university courses in 2004 the graduate job market wasn’t looking great so I was keen to pick a course that would lead me into a good industry. ITMB at BCU came up in a Google search so I applied and haven’t looked back since.”
The ITMB degree is accredited by the Tech Partnership and was designed by employers to offer students the knowledge, skills, and professional competency necessary to work with technology in a business environment. Part of the Tech Industry Gold brand of industry-designed degrees, the course is offered at over 20 universities throughout the UK. In addition to normal IT and computer science degrees it incorporates networking events, special lectures from technology and business leaders, and crucially, access to top employers, including IBM, Capgemini and tech-heavy government departments — all of whom have a vested interest in the programme’s success.
Harry said ITMB played an important part in helping him to establish a successful career in tech. From programming to business management modules, it provided him with a good mix of technical and business training. He even encouraged his younger sister, Amy, to study the same degree at Keele University. She’s now an award-winning project manager at CA Technologies and volunteers in schools to teach children about careers in IT.
Work experience and developing transferable skills is a core part of the ITMB programme. BCU offered the ITMB as a sandwich course which led Harry to securing a placement year at IBM. The following summer he was at Morgan Stanley, who later offered him a conditional place on their graduate scheme before completing his finals. “It gave me peace of mind in my final year. While my friends panicked at the prospect of simultaneously applying for grad schemes, writing dissertations and preparing for exams, Morgan Stanley’s offer gave me a clear goal and helped me focus on my studies.”
Well, it worked. Harry left BCU with a First Class BSc and walked straight into an investment banking position. And he’s no exception when it comes to ITMB’s success rate. 75% of ITMB graduates gained firsts or 2:1s last year compared to 51% across computing overall. 33% of Tech Partnership degree students are female as well, double the average of computing degrees overall.
Rather than focussing purely on programming or computer engineering the ITMB was designed to train well-rounded IT professionals. Harry prefers the business development side of Wambiz and confessed that, while not a born programmer, the ITMB gave him a working understanding of computing languages and functions. This he says is enough to direct the team when developing new products for clients — something that will only become more useful as the company expands into new markets.