Altaf Alim, 25, is an international development manager at BT. He graduated from Brunel University with a degree in management studies in 2004. BT is a member of the Employers Forum on Belief with other organisations including Shell, London Underground, the BBC, the Land Registry, Accenture and Barclays. Altaf has been
actively involved in BT’s Muslim network for the past two years and has recently taken over the role of chair of the network.
What’s your background?
At university I really enjoyed the strategic management side of my degree and my placement year at a Fortune 100 company gave me a very valuable insight into the corporate world. My experience was quite an eye-opener and made me increasingly aware about the internal mechanics of a big organisation. Going through that process made me very diligent about deciding on the kind of organisation I wanted to work for after university. I was particularly interested in finding a company whose working culture complemented mine.
How did you handle your job hunt?
After graduating I spent a year working in a small business, as I wanted to get some experience of a different kind of organisation to my placement year. Then, after realising I wanted to work in the technology and telecoms industry, I applied for a number of graduate schemes, including BT’s. First I applied online, then went through a psychometric test and phone interview, before finally attending an assessment centre and face-to-face interview, which resulted in me being offered the position.
Did you face any barriers?
BT has a very good diversity strategy and they are very supportive of my religion in the workplace. Working for a company where I can practise my faith and feel valued and respected while doing it, has been instrumental in ensuring I stay at BT – it makes me want to give something back.
Any tips for fellow graduates?
Increasingly companies are setting up faith-based networks, which is a very positive step forward. If working for an employer who respects your faith is important to you, seek them out. There are many companies who have taken an active interest in this area and it really does make a difference.