City University London has seen many generations of students coming through its doors and, in some cases, they have been family members. Vaseem Ahmed, BSc (Hons) Aeronautical Engineering (1989) and his daughter Naila, BSc Management (2014) share the love and commitment to City in different ways.
Studying at City: two generations aiming to be the best
Vaseem has great memories of its time at City including: playing cricket for the University’s team, enjoying life at the Northampton Hall, and learning how to overcome adversity when having difficult times as a student.
He said: “I didn’t have a great 2nd year and could easily have coasted along with an average degree result. However, I decided to really give it a go and, in my 3rd year, if I didn’t understand a topic (there were many – have you tried Aerodynamics?) I would bug the class genius and lecturers until I did understand. The effort paid off and when I finished 2nd in our final year exams I was over the moon.”
Vaseem told us how all those factors were important when advising Naila to follow her path at City; however, her decision to join Cass Business School was primarily driven by the excellent reputation of the School and, although she was also inspired by her father’s tales of City.
Naila also talked passionately about her time at City and how her lectures and tutors gave her the confidence to tackle her dissertation and advised her to think carefully about her future when leaving City. She said: “My dissertation tutor was amazing, she was extremely warm and friendly and very reassuring. She shared ideas and gave me tips that helped me to come up with the perfect dissertation. Other lecturers also encouraged me to do my best, and aim to get the maximum skills and experience for the real corporate world.”
They would both recommend City to others because they think is a great place to study and people would benefit hugely from its facilities and the quality of its teaching.
Vaseem has helped City generously for a few years not only by sponsoring the Human Computer Interaction Department, as he thinks that facilitating the way we interact with technology is vital, but also by supporting the Olive Tree programme, which encourages young Palestinians and Israelis to build leadership skills.
He says: “There is, and has been, much doom and gloom for the prospects for a peaceful and lasting solution to the conflict in Palestine. The only workable solution is one based on justice and bringing together the younger generation. That can only be a positive move.”
Naila not only agrees with her father about it, but also thinks that the best option for this conflict is to coexist. The Olive Tree programme is a small step in working towards that objective, not only by giving young students with great potential a chance of a bright future, but also an opportunity to put their energy elsewhere in a creative manner.
“The foundation can help change mind-sets, to focus on the similarities of their neighbouring communities rather than their differences, to actually view them as their neighbours rather than their enemies. Ultimately that is the only thing that will ever stop the conflict in the Middle East, especially the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” She says.
It’s been 25 years since Vaseem graduated from City. He now works in the recruitment industry, running his own headhunting company, Capumen International. Vaseem’s best piece of advice for young graduates is to start looking for jobs early enough and treat each role as a career, not just as a job. Naila, on the other hand, is starting to apply for roles and is also thinking about doing a Postgraduate Certificate back at City.
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