Our students say...
Chief Human Resources Officer, Pakistan Petroleum Limited
Getting admission to the Durham DBA Programme for me was a dream come true. After my MBA and MS from Pakistan, I always wanted to pursue a Doctorate from a prestigious, top-class global University, and Durham provided me with that platform.
It’s a great honour to study the Durham DBA because of its well-recognised international reputation. The modules are offered at Fudan University in Shanghai and taught by professors from Durham University Business School which is providing me with a strong platform to move forward in my career. It’s a stimulating, multi-cultural programme, which is helping me develop leadership skills; enhance my knowledge and its practical application at work; and perhaps most importantly develop my independent thinking. You don’t just get taught the answers. You’re encouraged to analyse, investigate and probe.
Studying the Durham DBA at Fudan University is a highly valuable and totally unique experience for me, as it has enhanced my analytical and critical skills to a great extent. I have ambitions to be a change agent in the public sector in Pakistan, my home country and transform the mindset of people through transformational leadership. Currently there aren’t many studies conducted in change management in the oil and gas sector in Pakistan and new ideas haven’t yet been tested and verified. Therefore, the challenge will be implementing new concepts within an environment of recession and security issues.
I’ve been committed to education – and the benefits it brings – all my life. My mother was a Professor of Economics, which has been a huge influence. After studying a degree in Pakistan, I progressed to an MBA in Finance, then an MS/MPhil in Management Sciences, concentrating on Organisational Development. I have been associated with various business schools for around eight years as a visiting lecturer and supervisor.
In brief, the experience is phenomenal and the cultural diversity at Fudan has facilitated me to learn about other cultures and to communicate with people from various spheres of life. So as well as the learning experience, I also got the opportunity to make some wonderful friends on this programme, representing various countries like USA, Austria, Hong Kong, Bahrain, Vietnam and of course China. This programme has certainly expanded my international outlook, and the benefits of that are far-reaching. I am very enthusiastic and committed to complete this programme in the stipulated time and make my family and organisation proud.
When I came to Fudan everyone asked me why I hadn’t chosen one of the many good schools in the United States. The reason was that I did my undergraduate and masters study in the States and wanted a different experience and to broaden my horizons. I particularly wanted a more international experience and I get that from both the faculty and the cohort. We have eight different nationalities represented in a cohort of 13 people, which is about as diverse an experience as you could get in any school in the world.
Academically, the programme is challenging and rigorous, but manageable. It is well taught and the professors are accessible, so it’s easy to exchange information even though I live in the United States, classes are taught in Shanghai and the Durham University Business School professors come from the UK.
The people at the school are great and the representatives from Durham who are there to meet us see us through everything; which makes it very straightforward. And the fact that Sarah (deputy programme director) is from Shanghai is really useful.
One of the most valuable things I have gained so far are the friendships with other members of the cohort. Those friendships are very deep and based on trust, and I’m amazed that such relationships have developed over such a short period of time. I consider some of them among my best friends anywhere.
An advantage of studying part-time is that you can put what you have learned into practice immediately. I have my own company; I am a coffee wholesaler. We give a significant portion of our profits away. Last year we started a coffee co-op through a partnership with www.friendsofhas.org in Haiti to help the people there learn how to grow coffee that we then import to the United States. They have 90% unemployment and 99% deforestation in Haiti. This year, the initiative will employ many families full-time and help with the Haiti Timbur Reintroduction program which is sponsored by the Friends of Hopital Albert Schweitzer. This type of project does a lot of social outreach; we try and do as much as we can for the community. In the 1980s their coffee export business was the third largest in the world and they exported about 7 million lbs of coffee a year. Last year the figure was 60,000 lbs; their coffee business has been decimated. But the worldwide demand for coffee is growing so it’s a great opportunity for Haiti. The idea is that those families teach other families and it keeps growing.
Professionally, my long term plan is to become a professor and the School’s AACSB accreditation and world-renowned mentors will allow me to apply with confidence to any elite university in the United States.