Arrival Education Student Profile: Biko Agozino

Over the last 12 years, we’ve been fortunate to support the development of thousands of brilliant and ambitious, socially and ethnically diverse young talent. This week, we caught up with Biko Agozino, one our graduates who was selected for AE’s Four Year Social Mobility programme, Success for Life, back in 2010.

Where did you grow-up/ go to school? What was it like?

I was born in Merseyside but moved to East London when I was 18 months old with my Mum and older brother when my parents divorced. Some of my earliest memories are those of the Hackney flat, where the three of us were squatting at the time.

 In 1996 my father moved to America and my brother and I were sent out to join him in Indiana, Pennsylvania. 3 years later, as a secondary side effect of the 9/11 attacks, my father was without a job. Because of the uncertainty of where and when he might get a new one my brother and I were sent back to London to live with my Mum in Hackney (where she now owned a house).

Originally the expectation was that we would return to live with my father once he had settled down somewhere but due to the years of disruption that affected my education, it was decided that I would stay in London to complete primary school.

 Later, aged 12, we moved to Tottenham, North London, where I went to secondary school. Drugs and gang culture were very prominent in the local environment, and the school I attended was pretty rough. At the time I believe as little as 35% of students achieved 5 GCSE's including English and Maths.

 I can't say I knew anybody that worked in the corporate world but I was very fortunate to have two parents who really valued education as a means for success. My father is a Professor of Criminology who was in the first generation of his family to graduate from primary school in Nigeria, while my mother is also a University educated teacher. I also have a grandfather who had a successful career as a civil servant. All of these people, among many other great influences, instilled the importance in education, and continuous learning in me which I still hold to this day.

 How old were you when you started working with AE?

I started working with AE when I was in year 10 (aged 15) – at the start of my GCSE's. I took part in all 4 stages of the ‘Success for Life’ program and was even given the opportunity to have paid work as a Peer Leader and Assistant Talent Development Coordinator.

 What has been the impact on you/ your life of working with AE?

At 15 years old I thought I had life figured out. I thought all I had to do to succeed and attract opportunities, was to keep my head down in school, get good grades, and not get into trouble. But as soon as I started with AE I recognised just how naive this view was. 

Within the first two sessions, I learnt that I would continue to hold myself back if I attempted to passively engage in life. Arrival Education taught me that if I wanted to achieve anything significant I would have to actively chase that dream.

If you hadn’t worked with AE, what do you think the difference would be?

While I am sure I would have achieved good grades, I don’t believe I would have put myself forward to nearly as many opportunities without AE's guidance. The biggest impact was taking me from a shy, reclusive, introvert kid who was scared to get involved in anything public or competitive (such as public speaking, business, or sport) and helping me to set up the framework to change my perception of what success means.

 As a direct result of AE's support I had the confidence to apply to, and graduate from, the University of Cambridge where I studied Computer Science and played on the University’s Basketball First team. These are things that, looking back, I wouldn't have attempted to achieve without that support.

Looking back, what was it about working with AE that helped you most?

Arrival Education really helped me with setting future goals along with tangible steps towards making them happen. Through picturing myself in the position of success I hoped to achieve, I was taught to work backwards and really break down the steps it would take to get there.

AE has a welcoming culture of success. It actively encourages students to share their stories of success and rewards them for doing so. This is not something that I saw growing up. Instead, it was my mentality to be humble – to the point of refusing to accept that I had been successful at anything. I found that as I started openly sharing achievements, the milestones that I had laid out suddenly felt as if they were getting exponentially closer. This further enhanced my confidence in my ability to succeed.

 What are you doing now? What are your hopes for your future?

I’m currently in the second year of the 2-year graduate scheme in Technology at J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. where I have been working as a Software Engineer, working on data analytics platforms. Moving forward I intend to continue to specialise in Data Science/Machine Learning, and it's applications to finance, with a focus in Algorithmic/E-Trading.

What would you say about AE, to someone who had never heard of us?

Arrival Education specialises in personal and professional transformation of underrepresented demographics in business. They excel at establishing links between companies wishing to widen their recruitment pool and the young professionals that can enable that. As someone who’s had an 8-year relationship with Arrival Education, I can testify for their ability to change the lives of the students involved.

 

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