Future Leader Spotlight: Arsalan Siddique, 2021 MBA Candidate at UMass Boston

All Bad Things Must Come to an End...

On a cold night of December 2011, we had a party at our home for my older brother, as he had gotten admission to college to start a journey in the field of his passion. We had his teachers over as well - one of them, who was our neighbor too, came up to me to talk in front of everyone, to show how happy I was for my brother, and how did it impact me as a student. As you know, I had to be on the same journey soon too!

So? What happened? - I locked myself up in a room and decided not to be out at the party when the speech-session could go. Why? Because since childhood, I always had a problem with socializing with people and adapting to new surroundings and settings. Moreover, I never really liked meeting new people, and I didn't talk much to the ones I already knew. I was known as the less-social member of my family, which was stressful. As I grew up, I realized this was going to be problematic as it prevented me from communicating confidently. That day my life changed! And I made a promise to myself that I would do anything to overcome my fears and continue to be the best version of myself every day.

As I started my journey of conquering my fears, I realized that I was a great problem solver, which led me towards securing an admission in Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Electronic Engineering at Pakistan’s top engineering institute, Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute of Engineering Sciences and Technology (GIKI), that served as the first-ever platform to make myself better. During the exploring of various streams of electronics, I was in a constant search of other ways to make myself better. In this pursuit, I equipped myself with wide-ranging skills through a multitude of various activities at student-run societies and covering various events by photographing them – which helped me a lot in socializing and making myself a damn good photographer - at GIKI

After graduating in 2017, I joined Kia Motors Pakistan Limited (Kia) - a South Korean automotive multinational company - in October 2017 and worked there for about two years. At Kia, I worked as a Production Engineer in Assembly Function in the Production Engineering Department. At that time, Kia was one of the new entrants in the auto industry in Pakistan, and I was one of the pioneers of the company. Therefore, the project experience of setting-up an automotive plant for Kia provided me with a challenging and a highly-learning experience with various opportunities to add value that broadened my perspective, enhanced skills and made me realize that all this time, I was not only a great problem solver but also a great manager.

When I looked behind, I saw how far I had come and the thought of how one event changed me completely, amazed me to see the change that I had adapted over time - from being a person who had a hard time interacting with people, to someone who was now a problem solver, a potential manager, and a person that started mastering adaptive skills and wanted more opportunities to excel from and meet new people. It was at that point I realized that; first, I needed leverage my experience, realizations, and aspirations to land opportunities to enhance my managerial and people skills even more, and since I was already problem solver, the idea of an MBA-touch to my career seemed like the best mix like none other. Second, I targeted Boston – the destination for international students – to make the most of the student cohort that comes around here from all over the world by mutual learning, adapting the environment, involvement in educational activities, learning, experimenting, and growing as a leader and a team player.

So, this is how I came to Boston to start my MBA-Journey at the University of Massachusetts Boston, where I realized that as I already had an Engineering background with interests in Data and Analytics, an extensive technical project experience; Business Analytics as a specialization for my MBA would be the right decision because, the mix of Data with problem-solving and management skills will enable me to look at business processes entirely differently and add desirable outcomes for both the organization as well as the customers effectively.

Now being on my MBA-Journey, I am looking for an internship in Consulting, Product or Business Development, and Business Operations. However, Consulting is my top priority. To me, an ideal internship would be a highly competitive workplace in one of the busy markets, where the program utilizes my existing diverse background as well as prepares me more as a problem solver and analyst, which would help me grow by developing hypothesis, collecting and analyzing data, drawing conclusions, and making recommendations. Moreover, I consider company-values as the most imperative factor when looking for an internship. I believe that it is beliefs, people, and culture that drive organizations, which helps the organization figure out employee needs as well as the ways to properly nurture and train them.

To make my internship experience memorable and enriching, I aspire to learn by looking at things from different perspectives that I have never looked from before. Through such interning exposure, I look forward to polishing my technical, problem solving, and management skills. I attain to achieve my goal of building professional connections, network with people, and learn and make the most of the opportunities that will ensure a successful career-journey as well as help me add value and contribute to the society.

My strategy to ensure alignment with my goals during internship would be to have a better understanding of the organization as a whole, networking and mutually empathizing with people, involving myself in events, and making sure that I develop traits and skills that meet the concepts of the company that it stands for.

Last but not least, as an international student, I feel there are tons of challenges when it comes to looking for opportunities. It can be - well, it is – hard to see some of the limiting factors that sometimes start to gag on you. But I keep myself motivated and give my best at anything that comes my way as there are still thousands of opportunities out there. I am sure a few of those are in reserve for me too! I will definitely won’t let these challenges to lock me up in my room again as my 2011-version would do! My suggestion is don’t give up, network with people, learn from them, and keep trying and something will be on its way over soon. After all, all bad things must come to an end.

Thanks for reading our piece on Arsalan. To connect with him on Linkedin, please click here, and please follow Intern Masters!

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