Shammi Quddus, Google's product manager and co-founder of Bangladesh's first leadership organization- BYLC (Bangladesh Youth Leadership Center), grew up in Chittagong, Bangladesh. The mother of two has already received MBA and MPAID degrees from Stanford GSB and Harvard Kennedy School respectively. Shammi went to America to study with a scholarship and graduated in environmental engineering from MIT. She is currently living in Sunnyvale, California with her husband and children.
Her reputation precedes her astonishing contributions to the fintech industry. Ignoring the patriarchal system, she has firmly established her position as a woman in the international technology sector. Let's find out the success story of this talented woman.
Gaining the opportunity to study at MIT
MIT has opened the door of possibilities in front of Shammi Quddus. Generally, it is very difficult for any girl from a middle-class family in Bangladesh to go abroad to study. Even then, Shammi was able to overcome all obstacles due to the positive attitude of her parents who were teachers. Going beyond the so-called rules, she mastered martial arts despite being a South Asian girl. She holds black belts in Karate and Taekwondo.
By the way, she moved to the United States with a scholarship. Traveled to different big cities. After all, instead of going for a conventional profession, she chooses a profession with her own choice.
Despite the contemporaneous adversity towards women, she was able to do so because of her family's support and self-confidence, and will-force.
In high school, she passed the SAT One and Two exams. She then applied to 14 American universities for scholarships. Shammi received scholarships from most of these universities. And she immediately chose MIT, the university of her dreams.
Joining in end-user engagement
After doing a BSc in Environmental Engineering from MIT, Shammi first started working as an engineer in the multinational infrastructural engineering firm ECOM. Here she had to engage in theoretical activities like data analysis. But Shammi's desire was to involve himself in some work that directly affects people's lives. As a result, she started working with the Bangladesh team of Waterhealth International in 2011.
At that time the team was working on drinking water management in Chittagong. She then worked with Jeeon, a start-up social organization in the health and technology sector in Bangladesh. Through her, Jeeon's first telemedicine product entered Bangladesh. At this time, the Projotno mobile telemedicine service implemented by her has won the USAID M4D Award as the most innovative mobile app service of the year in South Asia.
Emerging as an entrepreneur
In early 2008, Shammi Quddus, along with her husband Ejaz Ahmed, formed the Young Leadership-Based Program (BYLC) with an aim of exchanging views of English, Bengali, and Arabic medium students and promoting active citizenship. During this time she won a highly competitive collegiate social innovation grant from MIT called the Davis Projects for Peace, which provided initial funding for BYLC. She developed partnerships and a curriculum. She ensured the participation of students in the program, 93% of whom have completed graduation. As a result, the program became the country's top leadership institute.
Based on this, Shammi has had to play the necessary role in setting up many start-ups by working in various multinational consultancy firms. She has been involved in a variety of activities, including negotiating with marginal consumers, marketing campaigns, dealing with landowners, bringing in electricity approvals, and arranging recruitments.
Journey of Shammi Quddus as a Google employee
Shammi feels a deep urge to work in the development sector. So she did MBA to gain knowledge about leadership and economic planning. On the other hand, the MPA ended up acquiring skills in policymaking in various public and private sectors. Then came the call from Google Inc.
At first, she worked for a year and a half as Customer Insights Manager. Then join as the product manager of the payment platform team. It is the responsibility of this team to complete all types of Google monetization processes. This means that all types of financial transactions of customers with Google take place through them. They have to ensure the use of Google products like YouTube, Maps, Ads, Play Store, AdSense, etc. all over the world.
As a product manager, Shammi has to advise programmers on designing technical implementations for each product by understanding user needs, technical feasibility, regulatory restrictions, revenue impact, Google's goals.
The pioneer of women leadership in the 21st century
Shammi thinks that in any organization, it is necessary to maintain equality of men and women in high positions as well as to recruit an equal number of men and women at the primary level. Gender discrimination will be eliminated if men and women are treated equally at all levels, not just in the workplace.
As in Bangladesh, women do not get the opportunity to play sports, so they suffer from an inferiority complex. But Shammi was very interested in martial arts and took Karate training in Chittagong at the age of 16 and got a black belt. She even became a champion at the divisional and national levels. As well as studying, she became more confident as a result of such outdoor activities. While at MIT, she took Taekwondo training and won a black belt in four years.
Besides career, Shammi also gives equal importance to family life. According to Shammi, the decisions have to be made depending on the situation. Sometimes after giving 80 percent, you will get 20 percent. Giving 20% again will give 80% profit. And it results to keep a balance in life.
The challenges on the way to her success
Shammi's biggest challenge was getting a full free scholarship to MIT. And even after these 15 years, she still remembers the efforts to get that scholarship. The joy of finally getting MIT's positive emails seen in the inbox never fades.
Then it was very difficult for Shammi to study in two completely different places like Harvard and Stanford in different environments. Because maintaining contact with her husband and children and continuing her studies was like crossing the Himalayas for her. Ejaz Ahmed, the founder of BYLC, was by her side at that time.
Shammi Quddus now dreams of creating new products in the financial technology industry in the future. However, more participation of Bangladeshi women is needed in this regard. Everyone should come forward to create technology-based services as much as possible from their place. Creativity can be born if a good work environment is created. And only then will welfare be achieved for the greater good.