My MBA at Royal Holloway – Flashback

The very first day I entered the classroom I was a little scared and out of my comfort zone. For a person like me, who was born in a small village in Pakistan and spent the whole of his life in that country, this was too much. I was looking at the faces from different parts of the world and ethnic backgrounds. I sat alone on a chair at the back of the class. Everybody was introducing themselves, so did I. Everyone had a unique background and varied experiences which made me think that how will I connect with these people as each one is so different from me. There were some tasks for the first two weeks so that we can become familiar with each other and then the modules started but there was still some hesitation.

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Then came the last day; we had our presentations for the consultancy project. All the students presented their best with the help of their group fellows. After the presentations everybody stood in front of Moor building for a final group photo, however, no one left after the photo. I was feeling more scared than the first day and I had somewhat same feeling on the last day but the reason was totally different. I was uncomfortable on the first day because I felt out of my comfort zone but now I was uncomfortable because I was leaving my comfort zone. Everybody was saying goodbye to each other with promises to remain in touch. I stayed on campus until late that day and then left in the evening with a heavy heart. I could not have thought I would make good friends during such a short span of less than a year, and the impact this MBA would have on me in this time period.

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I still remember the day, when I went to see Olga, our programme director. I was there for something else but during the conversation, I told her that I am a reluctant person in class who is afraid of asking questions and participating in the class discussions. She encouraged me to speak without fear as it is quite possible that you might have a better point than the others. I gave it a thought and started participating in the class not because of what I had in my mind was right but because, often, what others were saying seems not quiterelevant to the subject under discussion as I understood it. It seems a bit awkward but that is how I tackled my fear of classroom participation and presentations.

I developed and refined my thought processing through interaction with the faculty members and my classmates. I cannot express in words, the learning and experience that I gained from my MBA cohort and I am so thankful to all of them for sharing their time, experiences and thinking with me. I tried so many foods with them from across the globe. Similarly, I will remember our sittings in the Hub, Imagine and Bedford library.  Also, the group work provided me with the opportunity to learn from them and understand their way of doing things. Moreover, the study trip to Germany and Czech Republic was an amazing experience where I spent quality time with the MBA family. I know that I will definitely keep in touch with most of them for rest of my life.

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Apart from in class discussions and debates, I really enjoyed my out of the class conversations with Dr Brendan McSweeney on British history and Brexit; Dr Mathew Li on economics and financial markets; Dr Helen Tregidga on PhD and New Zealand; and most importantly Dr Olga Kravets on everything. Most of the faculty members were always helping and easy to approach in and outside the classroom. They played the role of a guide rather than strictly being teachers as they were always guiding the class debates on a given topic towards healthy thought-provoking ideas. Instead of providing answers most of them helped and steered the discussions towards the thinking and ideology behind the answers.

In the end, I would just like to say that my MBA at the Royal Holloway University of London developed me as a manager, leader and most importantly as a person. An interesting learning for me was the difference between ‘doing the right things’ and ‘doing the things right’. Furthermore, now, I am prepared and confident to face the challenges in my life with the tools acquired through my MBA. However, I do wish that I could have more time to spend with my friends of MBA and more Nigel Laurie sessions.

– Fraz Ahsan (MBA 2016/17)

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