BIPOC of Ubisoft – Fatim Aissatou Diop
There are many personal qualities that can help someone get into the videogame industry. For Fatim Aissatou Diop, one of those, undoubtedly, is persistence. As an immigrant from Senegal, Diop spent a long time in academia and working as a contractor. It took her more than 300 applications in the span of a year and a half to secure a full-time job working in videogames. Now, as a media planner at Ubisoft Canada, she’s here to stay, and telling her story so that others can follow their dreams.
How did you come to the realization that you wanted to work in games? When did you realize it was even possible?
Fatim Aissatou Diop: I often thought about working in the entertainment industry, anywhere in the world, but it seemed like an inaccessible industry. But the gaming industry seemed even more out of reach.
I didn't even think about it, because I had the idea that all of the industry’s activities were centralized in countries other than Canada, like the US or Japan. I only understood that working in games was a possibility once I received the job offer. And it became real when I sat at my assigned desk at Ubisoft Canada, and there was a giant picture of one of our games in the background.
What struggles or hurdles did you encounter along the way?
FAD: What was the most difficult was to actually get a job after university, when you do not have any contacts nor experience. I managed to get two unpaid internships that lasted a few months each, but at the same time I was actively looking for a stable job. The last one led to my first full-time job, at a digital advertising agency.
Who or what helped you get to where you are?
Especially writing; it's a passion that makes me feel good, that allows me to escape from everyday life and to organize my own thoughts. I am the person who knows me best, and I constantly do my introspection through writing in order to continue to evolve in all areas of my life. My life goal is evolution, and I try to go to bed every night having learned something new.
What do you like about your job?
FAD: What I like about media planning is that it's the perfect mix between analyzing data and acting on real facts while following your own intuition. There is a lot of analytical work and strategic thinking that I find fascinating, since it is necessary to understand each brand to better define the target market, to understand the target well in order to choose the right media to use, etc.
What do you wish you knew when you were first starting out?
FAD: I wish I had known in advance how difficult it is, and how much you must hang in there. The advertising industry is a world where everyone knows each other, where you must know how to make contacts. When you are a foreigner, and have remained in an academic world with contract and part-time jobs to respect the conditions of immigration, it takes damned perseverance.
What advice would you give to people who are looking for similar jobs, or are in a similar position?
FAD: I would tell them not to hesitate to contact people in the positions they are aiming for to discuss it. You have to know how to prepare, to have an idea of the day-to-day of the targeted job, and you cannot know it without having been exposed to it. Studying in a field is one thing, getting into it is another, and working in it is also different.
Oct 09, 2020 at 19:23