‘MBA that came in handy’

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - EDUCATION GUIDE -

Ev­er­green Avi­a­tion Re­sources busi­ness de­vel­op­ment di­rec­tor Raja Nishah Raja Mo­hamed, 31, com­pleted her MBA from the Univer­sity of Strath­clyde this year with dis­tinc­tion. Here is her story.

tHE Strath­clyde MBA Pro­gramme equipped me with the knowl­edge, tools and con­fi­dence to stay in the cur­rent busi­ness and make it big. The MBA made me re­alise the not-sopop­u­lar say­ing that “the prob­lem with be­ing in the rat race is that you’re still a rat”. Nev­er­the­less, if I ever choose to be a rat again in the fu­ture, the MBA will come in handy.

I was par­tic­u­lar about choos­ing an MBA that fo­cuses on Cor­po­rate Strategy as I would even­tu­ally be ex­pected to lead the or­gan­i­sa­tion I am in now. The Strath­clyde MBA did just the trick – it pro­vided me with an op­por­tu­nity to learn skills across the spec­trum while ac­knowl­edg­ing the need to strate­gise for suc­cess amidst chal­lenges that the real busi­ness world poses.

Af­ter six years of work­ing for ma­jor play­ers in the oil and gas as well as IT in­dus­tries, I de­cided the time was right to kick-start my post­grad­u­ate stud­ies. So I quit my job, joined the fam­i­ly­owned busi­ness and signed up for the course. The tim­ing was per­fect. My past ex­pe­ri­ence and my new in­volve­ment in the busi­ness helped me achieve my MBA goals as it shed light on what I was al­ready do­ing well and what I needed to learn more of.

The part-time ar­range­ment suited me well as it gave me a lot of flex­i­bil­ity to man­age my own time when it came to my stud­ies, work and fam­ily.

In fact, if not for its flex­i­bil­ity, I would not have met my thento-be hus­band who was based in North Amer­ica, trav­elled around the globe for love and busi­ness, be­come a mother, spent more qual­ity time with my par­ents and still grad­u­ate with a dis­tinc­tion.

The Strath­clyde MBA taught me ev­ery­thing I needed to know at my level in the fields of fi­nance, peo­ple, op­er­a­tions, mar­ket­ing, gov­er­nance and sta­tis­tics and, most im­por­tantly, how I could ap­ply them to my work.

It gave me the con­fi­dence to de­liver a project on the tal­ent man­age­ment cri­sis faced by the oil and gas in­dus­try in Malaysia, and how com­pa­nies could lever­age on their tal­ents strate­gi­cally to de­liver busi­ness re­sults that share­hold­ers ex­pect of them. The project was well re­ceived by both the client and the univer­sity.

I cur­rently work for our fam­i­ly­owned avi­a­tion con­sul­tancy firm, which is a re­ally small but highly spe­cialised set-up. It is a stark con­trast to the multi­na­tional cor­po­ra­tions (MNCs) I am used to.

My fa­ther was about to re­tire when I agreed to join the firm. I re­branded the com­pany, in­tro­duced new mar­ket­ing ef­forts, re­or­gan­ised the fi­nances and im­proved the ser­vice de­liv­ery ex­pe­ri­ence for our clients.

Within the first year, we pen­e­trated the In­done­sian mar­ket through a joint ven­ture. All this was done with the knowl­edge I was gain­ing dur­ing the week­end MBA classes.

I am proud to be still work­ing for the same com­pany, no mat­ter the size. We have made great progress in just four years. I am con­stantly look­ing for ways to de­velop the busi­ness through both do­mes­tic and in­ter­na­tional ven­tures, in a way that the com­pany is able to con­tin­u­ously sus­tain it­self, with or without me in the fu­ture. That has kept my work ex­cit­ing.

I re­ceived in­vi­ta­tions for in­ter­views from two Global 500 com­pa­nies. Sadly, I had to turn them down.

My ad­vice to post­grad­u­ate as­pi­rants would be to choose a course which al­lows them to demon­strate their strengths while dis­cov­er­ing new skills. Post­grad­u­ate stud­ies also mean that stu­dents are ex­pected to man­age their own time in terms of work, classes, group meet­ings, as­sign­ment dead­lines and exam prepa­ra­tions, so it does come with a lot of sac­ri­fice from them and their fam­i­lies. It is worth ev­ery drop of sweat as the jour­ney is truly re­ward­ing.

For de­tails, log on to www. cdc.edu.my or call 03-7660 8950 ext 111 (Cristina Ma­gat).

Nishah seen here with her fam­ily.

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