Asma Aejaz

Programme: Global Online MBA

Nationality: Canadian

Undergraduate education: Bachelor of General Studies, University of Calgary

Asma Aejaz works in Planning & Progress - Climate, Emerging Risks & Policy at Aramco. She completed her Global MBA from the Business School in 2019.

Professional background

I currently work as a Diversity Advisor for an oil & gas company based in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

I have been associated with the oil & gas sector for the past few years. An extremely valuable lesson that I learned while working at Shell Canada has been that for a business to be effective, Human Resources must be at the heart of a big business.

A humbling experience I had after graduating from University was when I got to assist one of my favourite Economics Professors with his investment portfolio. I also feel extremely proud when a programme I have developed and/or facilitated manifests in a positive, noticeable impact on the audience members.

In my personal life, I feel proudest in knowing that my parents are happy and proud of the path that I have chosen for myself.


Choosing Imperial and the Global Online MBA

I decided that I needed to pursue an MBA for a number of reasons. From a career perspective, I wanted to be at the heart of a business and accelerate my career. From a skills perspective, I wanted to gain some cross-functional expertise and an appreciation of the bigger business picture.

Having studied my undergraduate degree in North America and with the bulk of my work experience in the Middle East, I wanted to gain some European experience. I felt as if my knowledge and experience would be incomplete without that European experience. London was the perfect place to gain this as it is the centre where everything merges. Once I had decided on London, Imperial was an easy choice due to its prestige and strong brand. Imperial is well-known for its research, innovation capabilities and alumni network.

I decided to study online due to the advancement of online technological innovation. I think people underestimate what is available. Studying online enables me to continue my life and fulfil my commitments. Studying online is globalisation and technology combined in its most effective form!

I think the Global Online MBA is unique in that it takes the expertise of the best faculty and having it readily accessible to Global Online MBA students all over the world is truly unique. Being directed to research papers and trends and tying them to real-world cases has been useful, it is one of the ways the programme is made relevant to the world we live in, another way the programme is unique.


Experiences of the Global Online MBA so far

I was very sceptical initially about the online programme as I prefer face-to-face learning, but The Hub has been amazing. The way the sessions are designed has helped overcome my scepticism, they are very interactive and you don’t feel like you are in a different time zone.

The programme content is dynamic, it is aligned to what is happening in the world, right now. The programme is great at linking academic principles to real-world examples. It provides the capability for a different perspective. The programme gives insight into the big picture. For example, during our sessions on Global Marketing, we learned the intricacies associated with brand images etc. and this has broadened my understanding of brand management.

Induction Week was fantastic. It was just the right mix between networking, delivering a flavour of real-world business and explanation of programme expectations. It was truly inspiring to hear from external members of the business and political world.

It was amazing and humbling to meet my cohort. We have a diverse cohort including business leaders, engineers, doctors, journalists – and the diversity of the cohort enables us to look at things through a different lens. The faculty is great too, the knowledge, experience, research and business acumen they bring to the table makes for an enriching experience.


The online learning experience and The Hub

The liberation that I can study at any time and the fact that the content is accessible whenever I want is amazing. If I am on a break or travelling, knowing I can download programme information and make use of it is great. It allows me to incorporate a great academic degree to improve my knowledge-base and unlock opportunities in my spare time. The flexibility of study and ability to connect to people virtually in a meaningful way means I can study effectively in my own time while continuing my day to day.

The Hub allows me to do this and is such a great tool. I’ve worked with a few different online education platforms and I believe The Hub has created a whole new league for itself. It is well designed, the ability to replay lessons, closed captioning, availability of lecture scripts and clickable links within the resources ensure you understand the content. The Hub is very interactive, you can see your class members’ comments on questions and assignments which is helpful to review. It is just like a class discussion setting but everyone goes to class at their own time.


Juggling the work-life balance

It’s been a busy few weeks and I’m actually looking for advice myself! On a serious note, you need to develop a routine and be consistent in upholding your routine. Even if you are very busy, ensure you do a bit of studying each day, even if it’s half an hour a day. The timetable on The Hub is useful, you can merge this with your work and personal calendar to keep track of all your commitments. This helps me stay on top of things.


The Global Online MBA cohort

My cohort is lovely, they are so diverse. We represent almost every industry – healthcare, oil & gas, media, fashion, marketing – these are just some of the industries members of our cohort represent. The Recruitment team did a great job recruiting candidates who are so diverse, committed and driven.

We really connected as a cohort during Induction Week, it definitely feels like the start of meaningful friendships. The cohort is always willing to help – they are extremely knowledgeable and resourceful. My syndicate group is also great. Not only do they help with the programme, they are also more than willing to help with non-MBA stuff. Being able to have access to this worldwide input is phenomenal.

We use a range of tools to stay in touch. We use WhatsApp a lot for the day-to-day communication between ourselves and email when collaborating on assignments. The Hub is also useful as we use this to comment on programme material and ask/answer questions. We also use LinkedIn and Skype occasionally.


Using the Careers & Professional Development Service

I have already started to utilise the Careers & Professional Development Service. I have had my introductory session where I undertook the strength scope activity which was useful regardless of what your ambitions are. It highlights your strengths and how to build on those and identifies any blind spots which you need to work on. This is a scientific and data driven method to help you accelerate in your career.


Building a global network

The connection with my cohort, access to learning resources and the access to business leaders allows you to build a global network. We met some of these business leaders during Induction Week, we were encouraged to contact them, and some of us did. I think the opportunities to construct a global network will increase as we go. Coming to London and the Global Experience Week will open so many learning and professional opportunities.


Favourite places to study

During Induction Week in London, I took to studying in a range of cafes. I like to study in quiet coffee shops where I have access to lots of coffee and am able to take a break to people watch then study again.


A comprehensive recruitment experience

The recruitment experience was professionally managed. The Recruitment staff were approachable, helpful and knowledgeable and the process was well-structured. At one point I was contemplating whether I should actually apply or not, and a long discussion with a member of the Recruitment staff sealed it for me. He was very encouraging and convinced me to apply. He was available to help me every step of the way.


A scholarship really helps

An MBA degree is a major financial investment, and we live in a world of finite resources – I wanted to pursue an MBA, but I wasn’t keen on getting student loans. The scholarship certainly gave me a head start and enabled me to seize the MBA opportunity. The Business School uses scholarships to ensure an even playing field for everyone to have access to the best, world-class education – kudos to Imperial College London for that!


Tips and advice for prospective students

If applying for the Global Online MBA is one of your goals, just pursue it. The time now is the right time. It is a commitment, but it will pay off academically, career-wise and it will grow you as a person. Find a balance. Follow a routine and transform your goals into reality.

Programme: Global Online MBA

Nationality: Canadian

Undergraduate education: Bachelor of General Studies, University of Calgary