Miracle Woman 2016

CASSLubna Tiwana studied for her MSc in Investment Management at Cass from 1998 to 1999, and has been named as one of the 100 Pond’s Miracle Women 2016. We chatted about the award, roaming the streets of London, and more.

Tell me about your time at Cass!

I did my MSc in Investment Management in 1998/99. I got a Britannia Chevening Scholarship of the British Council with the Premier Award for being the most outstanding candidate from all over Pakistan. I was already working as an analyst in a medium sized commercial bank and was also teaching accounting, finance and banking to Business Administration students. Therefore, I was looking for a good school in London to get specialization in Investment Management, and Cass gave me that opportunity which changed my professional outlook completely. Cass was hard work but I enjoyed the experience every day. It opened a world of friendships and professional development due to the mix of students coming from different parts of the world. I lived the Cass life to the fullest.

What is your favourite memory from Cass?

I made a friend in my Investment Management Program, Trias, who was also a British Council scholarship holder from Indonesia. She was staying at the City University hostel, close to Barbican Centre in London. I use to stay with her in the hostel for combined studies and assignments. After completing our work, we would go out and enjoy ourselves, chat endlessly for hours, chill out and explore the streets of London, roaming around aimlessly. This was the best part of my memory which I will never forget. Unfortunately, we are not in touch with each other anymore because I lost her contact number. I am hoping the Internet will bring us back in contact very soon.

What did you do next?

I completed my MSc in Investment Management with distinction. When I came back to my country, my employer promoted me to an executive role as an Assistant Vice President, a first executive level cadre. I worked at senior level positions for many years and eventually was elevated to the position of Chief Credit Officer and Country Head Risk Management. In June 2013, I moved from this commercial bank to the largest Microfinance Bank in the country – this being an upcoming area in Pakistan with growth and learning opportunities, so I left commercial banking to join a microfinance bank.

How did you get nominated for the Ponds Miracle Women award?

The Pond’s Miracle Journey was established in 2014 as a means of celebrating the achievements of women across Pakistan. The core idea behind the movement, designed by the global beauty brand, was to consistently highlight the accomplishments of Pakistani women who juggle with the demands of their professional careers and personal lives. The Pond’s Miracle Journey is an annual movement that commemorates women for their inner strength and appreciates them for what is often over-looked.

The Pond’s Miracle Journey aspires to create an organic movement by paying tribute to 100 outstanding women who demonstrate excellence in their personal and professional lives. My nomination unfolded on the same parameters, as they could measure professional accomplishment against the backdrop of my personal life – where the family comes first and social inhibitions are given due consideration. While I competed for the coveted positions professionally, be they men or women, the determining factor was about an individual’s commitment and resilience.

These women are bestowed upon the crown of Pond’s Miracle Women for the Year at the Grand Finale held at the majestic Mohatta Palace, Karachi, Pakistan, and attended by the glitterati and elite of the country.

The women are selected by a panel of distinguished experts on the basis of their achievement in their respective fields, demonstrating extraordinary performance. This distinctive recognition brings into light unusual talents of women in Pakistan who are role models for aspiring young women across the country.

What has been the biggest challenge?

Coming to Cass and leaving my family behind was the biggest challenge. I had a young daughter who I had to leave behind with my family and come to London for one and a half years. I knew it would be a challenge but I worked very hard, spoke to loved ones everyday and managed one of the most difficult times of my life. Women in underdeveloped countries like mine have to work twice as hard to demonstrate performance and being a woman I still managed to rise to the highest level with lots of hard work and commitment.

What advice would you give to someone looking to follow in your footsteps?

It’s important to continuously improve your education and skill level – I did a Masters before I came to Cass so this was my second one. Though I am well placed professionally in risk management yet I continuously learn further by obtaining certifications and trainings in my area of operations. I knew that if I was to succeed I would have to be committed to lifelong learning – this has stood the test of time and a challenge for a woman.

Finally, it’s the quick fire question round!

Favourite place in London: Moorgate and the Barbican. When I studied at Cass, it was based at the Barbican so it’s got great memories and I love all the high-rises!
Favourite holiday destination: Langkawi in Malaysia for all the beaches
Must-check every day website: LinkedIn. With so many professional discussions I like to see the latest developments
Dream travel destination: Spain, I want to travel all over!
Cheese or chocolate: Chocolate!