Sophia Palin

Hear from Sophia Palin on her experience so far as a graduate in BT’s consumer digital team and what she’d recommend to future graduates.

Tell us a bit about your graduate programme so far…

The Digital experience graduate scheme is designed to give graduates exposure and insight into consumer digital experience through three 8-month-long rotations across design, product ownership, engineering and more. The rotations allow us to obtain a breadth of knowledge from different areas of digital and to learn how to provide brilliant digital experiences for customers. Having recently graduated from a degree in accounting and finance, I was excited to take on a new challenge, different to what I had been studying for the last four years.

How did you get into Digital Product Management?

The first graduate rotations were assigned, and I landed in Product Management. Although I had no prior knowledge of the area, I had transferrable skills from both my degree and a placement year in Project Management. I was excited to get started and learn all about it! Coming into Digital at BT, I was very impressed by the culture and the ways of working. Digital’s culture revolves around learning and failing fast as we’re encouraged to take risks while working in an Agile environment. I joined an Agile squad working with developers, designers, product owners and testers, and quickly embraced the Scrum process. I had a lot to learn about how everything worked, however I had plenty of help from my brilliant team and fantastic mentor. If you’re new to Agile, I’d recommend watching some videos on how the process works, reading articles comparing Agile to Waterfall and if you can, signing up for LinkedIn learning.

My key takeaways from my eight months in Product Management so far are:

The importance of data analytics. Not long after I started, I was assigned the task of setting up analytics workspaces. I found this so interesting as it allowed me to not only understand things like visits and conversion rates but also to dive deep into the feedback users were giving and seeing their frustrations. This insight was key to being able to suggest optimisations and improvements.

Let people know what you’re doing. What are you working on right now? Did you find anything interesting in your user research? Made a big impact? Shout about it! This is important for both your squad’s and your personal exposure.

Work with your squad. This might sound obvious but it’s so important to make sure your squad are happy. Involve everyone in setting your vision, mission, and purpose. Bring your squad members into conversations about roadmaps, objectives and key results, and backlogs. And measure team pulse and encourage participation in team meetings.

Build great relationships. With your manager, squad, other Product Owners, and especially stakeholders! When your stakeholders come to you with requirements, work closely with them and help each other to find and deliver the best solution for the customer.

I thoroughly enjoyed starting my career at BT in Product. The role suited me well and by working with the whole squad I felt prepared to take on whichever rotation was next. I’ve now moved in the Design side of Digital, working as a Product Designer within EE Mobile. I’m enjoying learning about a new brand and taking on the challenge of navigating my way through another new area.

What is the culture like at BT?

Another great part of the Digital culture at BT is the Digi-Life guilds. These are groups of people who have come together to make a difference based on something they’re passionate about. I realised the importance of diversity and inclusion in the workplace during my placement year; you can learn so much from people who are from different backgrounds and cultures to yourself, and I believe it’s so important to have that in a team and working environment. That’s why I was keen to get involved in the Diversity & Inclusion Guild. We have weekly meetings as a Guild which are filled with important discussions and guest speakers – I learn something new at each session!

After a couple of months of settling into Digital I realised there was so much I didn’t know about the culture before joining. The Reference Point Guild were forming around this time, and I was keen to get involved in this to spread the word about the brilliant things we are doing in Digital, the culture and how great it is to work in this area of BT.

Digi-Life has given me so many opportunities in just a couple of months! With the Reference Point Guild, I volunteered to help with behind-the-scenes comms and support at Digital Unscripted 2, which forms part of the Consumer Live show each year, a week-long event featuring sessions and content about who we are, where we’re heading, and how we’re partnering with our CFU’s. This was a fantastic opportunity and being on camera and interviewing helped me develop more confidence, which I’ve been able to bring into my everyday work since. If you’re in Digital and want to get involved next time, I strongly recommend signing up – it’s a brilliant experience! 

Any advice you’d give for future new joiners in Digital?


  • Ask lots of questions
  • Find a mentor in your area
  • Share your opinions and ideas
  • Join a Digi-Life Guild!

How is BT driving innovation?

With over 4900 patents and a centre for research and development, BT is constantly driving innovation. From offering 5G solutions across the UK to using their tech to break down learning barriers for people with disabilities, BT is working across many solutions and continuing to invest in R&D. 

Someone thinking about a career in digital, what would you say to them?

Digital is a very exciting area to work in right now at BT. There are lots of interesting projects going on and there is so much to get involved in. I would encourage anyone who is thinking about a career in digital to apply.

What’s the best project you’ve worked on to date?

Right now, I’m working in mobile sales in EE and I’m currently owning my first design journey. I’ve found this so interesting as I’ve conducted competitor research, designed the journey, created prototypes, tested the journey and it is now going into development. It’s been a brilliant experience working on this project from start to finish and I look forward to seeing the impact it has.

What impact does your work have in the business and/or customers?

My work directly impacts customer digital experience. Currently I’m working in product design, so my role has a direct impact on the quality of the user experience in EE mobile sales journeys. I work with other designers, product owners, developers and user researchers to ensure the experience is the best it can be for the user.

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