Hi Kunal! Let's jump right in and talk Squared. You graduated last summer - how would you say it's made an impact on you?
Squared gave me the confidence to challenge and encourage others within the business to think about marketing from a broader perspective and see digital as part of the wider marketing mix.
It has also given me a deeper understanding of how to activate a digital strategy and drive digital transformation.
This new confidence enabled me to start an education programme called Digital FireStarters, which led to the Head of Innovation at Kantar TNS setting me up to work with Group M to use our research to activate a new client's programmatic efforts.
This development has also been noticed by my CEO and his boss, who have asked me to collaborate and spread my knowledge and passion across business. So it's also raised my profile within both the business and WPP more widely.
Before you started, what where you looking forward to on the course?
I didn't know what to expect! There were lots of challenges and opportunities to work with all kinds of different people and brands. It really opened up my thinking and my knowledge - I didn't even know there was a personal leadership development part - this was incredibly powerful. It changed the way I spoke, how I came across and helped me focus in on my career goals.
How did it feel after you finished up?
All the Squares developed strong bonds and become a network within ourselves. We were like a family and although we were excited to be going back to our daily lives equipped with this new confidence and knowledge, we also walked away with a broadened network we could reach out to.
Today I still speak to everyone who attended the course. We regularly keep in touch and always help each other out.
What have been the stand-out moments for you, before and after graduating?
Aside from the overall experience and opportunity to meet so many inspirational speakers, a humbling experience was when the other students nominated me Inspirational Square, an award for someone who has displayed exceptional levels of collaboration, enthusiasm and excelled throughout the Squared programme.
I've since been invited to take part in a day hackathon at work, simply because I had done Squared and was now the digital 'disrupter' - which was awesome.
Squared is no ordinary course. How did you find the learning experience?
I'd not really experienced anything like it before! But because of the way it's taught I've been able to use what we learned a lot at work. I’ve been running my Digital Firestarters sessions and had great support from Googler Niamh Mahon, who went through my ideas for training and said I was right on track! Now people think I'm a programmatic expert!
What about the group work?
It helped me understand different personalities that come together when you're working as part of a team and how to manage people in different ways. My group were quite collaborative and we made use of everyone's different skills. We got to an end result quite quickly a lot of the time but there were certain points that were more challenging, however we worked together to overcome these barriers.
Someone's thinking about doing Squared - what do you say?
Do it! If you want to be able to understand digital and be a confident person, you're going on the right course.
Any advice for Squares on the course right now?
Fully embrace it, no holding back. Immerse yourself in the whole experience. If you go in with an open mind and an open approach to how you come across, it's only going to help you grow.
Did it surprise you that Google is doing something like this?
Yes, it did. I didn't expect it to be so open and that was really cool. You're getting access to lots of information that you'd think might just be kept for agencies or clients. Knowledge sharing is powerful and now I am a brand advocate.
Good to hear! Last one: how would you summarise Squared in a sentence?
I've gone into a secret world of knowledge and I can share it with everyone.
Squared grads are special. Find out the sort of things they go on to do - watch and read more Squared Online student stories here. To learn more about Squared Online you can give us a ring on +44 (0) 20 7173 5938, or download the brochure to read about the course and the Squared experience.