The Executive Experience

The Executive Experience

Zain Shahid EMBA’ 20

If there is one thing that I have learnt over the course of my professional career, and life in general, it is to never stop learning, because when we stop learning, we stop growing.

I remember when planning to do an MBA the choice of university was the paramount decision. Besides, considering the significant gap between my undergraduate & planned MBA, I wanted to get the top qualification from the best business school, period. My motivation was driven by the words of a mentor, who had advised me early in my career to always go for gold and not silver.

When it came to finding a business school with world-class facilities and recognition in the corporate sector, LUMS was the automatic choice. I connected with a few seniors and alumni to get to know about the programme and their experiences; and all I received was praise in every way. I would like to point out that despite visiting the LUMS campus and taking part in competitions during my undergrad days, I had always wondered what makes LUMS so special. I guess you can only realise the weight behind something when you get to experience it first-hand.

From day one, the SDSB-LUMS Executive MBA met my expectations to the dot! The reason it stands out in the industry is the rigorous practical curriculum which is designed to create go-getters, doers, and achievers who give their all to get the job done. On top of that, the interactions with peers and faculty help widen perspectives that have been solidified through years of industry experience. I felt that SDSB’s EMBA programme teaches you the ins and outs of practicality, as you have to juggle between work, study and family more so than the regular MBA programme. Despite the fact that the classes are conducted on alternate weekends; there is absolutely no respite in terms of the workload, required readings, projects and other related tasks necessitating dedication and hard work to get through the programme.

The SDSB-LUMS EMBA inculcates in its essence what a true corporate professional or entrepreneur embodies in the real world, i.e., to stay ahead of the curve, think out of the box, manage time efficiently, focus on finding solutions, and never settling until objectives are met. It is about the survival of the fittest. The Summer Orientation Programme (SOP) drills exactly that from the beginning until the very last day at LUMS.

On campus, I always looked forward to the Discussion Room sessions with my classmates, as a lot of learning and discussion took place before our classes. The actual classroom experience had always been next level because you were not just interacting with world-class faculty, but also getting to contribute your experiences and gain insights from the learnings of classmates. The courses in Marketing, Finance and Management really honed my overall management and decision-making skills, allowing me to see business and organisational challenges from a macro-perspective to tackle key issues and solve pressing problems. The industry tour module is another USP of the programme, where one gets to interact with industry leaders, learn first-hand the challenges they face, how they define success and how to strategise for the future. I opted for the local industry module which includes a visit to Karachi; however, the tour to Silicon Valley is not to be missed.

One course that I thoroughly enjoyed was Venture Creation. It really helped expand my canvas on entrepreneurship and learn how, as an entrepreneur, business ideas can be pitched and what exactly venture capitalists and investors look for. Last, but not least, the Final Year Capstone Project also stood out with its strong practical component. Coming up with workable solutions to address organisational problems and consumer issues in real-time through digital models over the course of eight months, I served as a management consultant alongside a senior LUMS faculty member as a dedicated supervisor, exploring the challenges and realities of business management in our country.

Towards the end of our programme, the Coronavirus pandemic unfolded a new experience: e-learning. I have to admit, I am a believer in the traditional classroom style of learning and believe that it is not replaceable. However, they say change is the only constant, so I was ready to embrace the shift to online learning. The expertise with which our online modules were delivered really helped compensate for the lack of physical presence. We were able to replicate the Discussion Room experience and participate freely in discussions during the classes. While it was quite taxing to stare at a screen for long hours, and at times internet connectivity or load shedding caused a few hiccups, it all worked out in the end. I consider myself having an edge over my classmates, as I was already using the same software for my office work and was comfortable operating it.

I could not have asked for a better journey than the one I got to experience at LUMS. I joined the EMBA programme with high hopes because of its strong industry linkages, diversely experienced class, a robust alumni network facilitating networking opportunities, and the world-class campus. I feel that the SDSB-LUMS EMBA provides a great boost for professionals in advancing their careers for leadership positions. In addition, the alternate weekend schedule of classes helps in managing the work-study-family life balance; most importantly you do not have to put your career on hold to earn the degree.

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