Name: Swati Anand
Program: Masters in Business Administration
Year of graduation: 2011
Company name: Dusit Thani Dubai
Position: Learning & Development and Quality Assurance Manager
Q1. What made you choose Middlesex University Dubai?
I was seeking an MBA from a UK based university. From the applications I sent out, the Admissions Team at Middlesex responded promptly. Throughout they were most approachable and I did not have to think twice when they offered me a place.
Q2. What aspects of your course did you enjoy most?
The entire faculty was most supportive and they provided great insights from the practical world. Coursework was balanced and all facilities such as the library, classrooms and lounge were exceptional. However, it was our field trip to Paris and Milan that impressed most of all. We explored the retail and fashion industries while touring both cities, learned from experts and presented our findings in groups. There was also an experiential learning session at the very start of the program which has stayed with me over the years. These 2 aspects also influenced my approach to learning and development, as it was evident that most learning comes from what you experience and reflect on, not from what you hear or read.
Q3. What is your fondest memory of life at Middlesex?
We had 18 hour days for 2 years, which included our jobs, classes and coursework. There were no weekends per se. MBA is an intensive course that tests your limits. Strangely, I did not feel any exhaustion at the time, nor recall it today. What I do remember is how engaging the experience was and the sense of purpose it provided. Interacting with peers from across industry lines revealed just how little we know and how cocooned we are in our own world. At the end of the course, you wish there was some way the routine continued.
Q4. What one piece of advice would you give to a prospective student interested in studying at Middlesex?
Stay clued up and at pace from day one. Cherish each moment because you will miss it when it is over. Also value the overall learning and don’t focus on small failures, because it is not so much about what you learn in class, but what you can apply practically. Someone rightly said that you think the world is waiting for you and all doors will open at the end of the course. They do not. It is all about what you gain as an individual rather than the degree itself.
Q5. Where has your professional life taken you since graduation?
I quit my job immediately after graduation and began working again only in 2014. Today I manage Learning & Development and Quality Assurance at the hotel Dusit Thani Dubai. During the break I focused on some personal priorities and learned more about management in the 2 years of not working than I did during 10 years of work experience. This was also the time where all the theory from the program was put to practical use.
Q6. Can you give an example of a time when you put the things you learned at Middlesex to practical use?
Dr. Lien Els taught the practice of reflection with great passion. At the time it was a bit abstract for most of us, but now I use it each day for self-development. Oddly it is the single most important topic to take away. It might be difficult to grasp at first, but once you get it, you will evolve as a person. You learn to understand your own actions, see from others’ perspectives, resolve conflicts, and generally become more effective.
Q7. What made you choose the industry you work in and what are its pros and cons?
Hospitality was not a chosen career path, rather it happened by default. I was a qualified pilot, although not a trained one, and failed to meet a medical requirement to apply for a commercial licence. I then took up the first job that came my way and have not looked back since. There are no regrets as the industry has a great working environment that invests in its people like no other. We place great emphasis on teamwork, diplomacy and respect.
Q8. What are the top three tips you would give to current students and recent graduates who are looking for a similar career to yourself?
Passion goes a long way in keeping you engaged and getting others to value your contribution. Take an interest in everything that comes your way, look at opportunities in each mundane task, and you will be surprised how doors open for you. I cannot emphasise enough on the benefits of positivity.
Q9. What one piece of advice would you give to the 17/18 year old you?
Education and skills give you the edge over others. So invest in it now and you will reap rewards for years.