By Mohammed Al-Sharifi
Mohammed Al-Sharifi, Global Shaper Ambassador for the UK, gets an exclusive insight from Bhavesh Patel a day after he received news that he was selected as a Generation 2018 Global Shaper!
1. What’s your name and what do you do?
My name is Bhavesh Patel. I have been with Arcadis for 3.5 years primarily working on transport modelling jobs, whether it be local junction modelling or larger schemes in city centres or on motorways. My work is mainly for Highways England and local authorities, although there are many opportunities to work for private sector clients in the near future. The main outcome of our work is to provide solutions to traffic problems. It’s not always about making it easier for cars to travel through congested areas, there is a lot of work going on to ensure that facilities are available for vulnerable road users and non-motorised users to promote a more sustainable eco-system between different modes of transport.
2. How did you hear about GS and what inspired you to apply?
Since joining the company, members from my team have applied to Global Shapers and have been successful. I have seen first-hand how this has created opportunities for them and broadened their scope of what the company can really offer to clients. This year the topic was also closely linked to transport planning, so it was an unmissable opportunity! (Also, I’m on the threshold of a maximum of 5 years’ experience so this was my last chance!)
3. How did you find out your results?
I found out my results by email – I was working from home that day. I was trying to keep myself distracted with a deadline but really, I checked my inbox every 5 mins. When the email came, I was literally jumping up and down in my house, luckily there was no one else in the house and don’t worry, I didn’t break anything or injure myself!
4. How amazing was your application? Out of 10, how much would you give it?
It was pretty good. Out of 10, I’ll give it a solid 8 – but of course everyone will have an opinion on that (Bhavesh later messaged me after he has sent his application to me saying “let me know if that should come down to 7/10, I might have been a bit too excited when I said 8”).
It was a very interesting task. I chose to do a one pager because I did not think a 50-second video would be enough to present my ideas in a systematic way and certainly not the best medium to display my personality.
The challenging part was that I had never done graphic designs before. I used new applications and graphics – I was pleased with the final version, particularly compared to what I started with just a few days prior. I must confess, I did sign up to the premium service for https://www.easel.ly/ to produce my one-pager, then I cancelled it before the 7-day cooling off period!
5. Now that you are successful, what advice would you give to future applicant to GS?
Don’t overthink it. It gets easier when you put pen to paper – make it a personal message and be sure to address the application question. Plan your time and talk to people within the company. I personally spoke to cycling experts, colleagues working on a pilot model for autonomous driving and BIM Managers to understand how the digital transformation is taking impact within the business. It was staggering how little I knew about what other people are working on! I also took time to speak to previous Global Shapers to get their views on my application and lessons they learned during their process.
“This is the best chance to see the world through someone else’s eyes who has lived a different life from me.”
6. What are you most excited about for the face to face programme?
I am excited about meeting people and networking with such a wide and diverse group of people. This is the best chance to see the world through someone else’s eyes who has lived a different life from me. My aspiration is to incorporate any ideas I learn from Global Shapers and apply it to my everyday working life and deliver better solutions to my clients. My vision is to be more proactive and provide cutting edge solution to our clients even before they ask us.
7. What is one thing you want to gain/ learn from this experience?
It is an opportunity to network with people that you would otherwise never meet and get a diverse array of perspectives. I want to learn how people really do things in other countries and their route from problem to solution. I want to expand horizons to see other people’s point of view. Sometimes solutions can become repetitive in their delivery when we are working for the same clients on similar projects, does this mean that if something has worked before, it works now and will work in the future? We need to challenge our current solutions and look for more innovative outcomes. Solutions for cycling in Amsterdam, for example, may be very different from cycling solutions in another global region and the breadth of knowledge available within the company should help in providing improvements.
8. What is your message all your future fellow global shapers?
Work hard, play harder. In my opinion, people work better together if they have more amicable relationships. This is an opportunity to get together and build those relationships whilst also working on challenging tasks that will affect our everyday lives when we go back to our home offices. Physical/geographical boundaries should not deter us from making the most of such an opportunity to come together and share knowledge.
9. What’s your Twitter handle so people can follow you?
It is @bhav11111 – there is not much there at the moment, but I will start to use it more frequently!
10. Shall we take a selfie?
If you want to. I actually need a haircut and beard trim!
Any last words?
I’m just excited and a bit overwhelmed. It is an opportunity that I cannot miss or underestimate.