Dami Ayeko (MSci Mathematics 2011) always knew she wanted to study mathematics and chose Imperial in order to challenge herself. Having previously worked at Goldman Sachs and the Bank of England, Dami is now working at CDC group

Dami reached out to share her story with current Mathematics students as part of a Black in Maths initiative. The programme is designed to inspire, inform, and provide role models for current students in the department, to support their equality and diversity efforts and to raise the profile of opportunities for students from all backgrounds.

Why did you choose Imperial as the place to follow your interest in STEM subjects?

I had always wanted to study mathematics at university. So much so that I had to persuade my parents to allow me to do it, as they had wanted me to do something more vocational. I knew I wanted to study the subject somewhere I could push myself and Imperial offered me that challenge.

What did you learn during your time at Imperial, in class or out?

I learnt that your peers are often wells of knowledge, and you can learn as much from them as you can from your tutors and tutorials. Your peers can help you to better understand any problems you may be facing and get you through some challenging times of the course.

What is your fondest memory of your time here?

Graduating in the Royal Albert Hall.

Why do you feel it’s important to participate in initiatives like the Black in Maths programme? 

There are many routes after university and employers are looking to hire smart and talented people. Participating in the programme will help show Black students what types of opportunities are available to them, and highlight a range of options off the beaten path.

What advice would you give to those from underrepresented backgrounds who are thinking about studying a STEM subject, particularly at Imperial?

Go for it - it’s not easy, but it’s worth it. No one can take your knowledge away from you and having it will open up so many doors. Don’t be afraid to demand time from your lecturers. Go to all of your tutorials. Make friends on the course to commiserate and celebrate with.

Most importantly, take time to look after yourself – go back home often and recharge so you can come back at your best. You’ve done well to get this far, remember that.

Please tell us a bit about the work you’re doing now.

I work as a risk manager. I started as a market risk manager at Goldman Sachs and then went to the Bank of England. My current title is Risk Governance Manager at CDC Group. CDC Group is the UK’s development finance institution.

How has what you learnt at Imperial helped you in your career so far?

The discipline of self-study has been the most helpful thing I learnt at Imperial. The ability to sit and take the time to really understand and solve a problem.

What has been a career highlight so far?

Working on the risk management of the Bank of England’s Quantitative Easing portfolio.

What are your plans for the future?

Having recently started in a new organisation, I would like to really learn what the business does and how to add value in my role.

What’s the most difficult decision you’ve ever had to make, or challenge you’ve had to overcome?

Taking the risk to leave my job at Goldman Sachs to pursue new opportunities. I was doing really well and could have made a lifelong career there, but I chose to try something different and it worked out.

What makes you proud to be an Imperial alumnus?

Imperial is doing cutting edge science and is often in the news. However, what has made me the proudest is Imperial’s plans for a STEM focused secondary school, which will aim to improve social mobility and diversity in STEM.

Do you have a favourite quote or saying?

“A rising tide rises all ships”.