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Student Spotlight: Umair (Pakistan, Rice '23)

Jul 08, 2021

Umair Hammad - Pakistan

Electrical Engineer  - Rice-Business Full-Time MBA '23

Umair's Q&A with B-Speak! Director Christina Ball 

Umair, tell us about yourself?

I am originally from Pakistan, and an incoming Full-time MBA student at Rice Business. I am an Electrical Engineer by profession and currently working for a Global Port Operator - DP World - as a Shift Manager, Engineering. When not working, I enjoy teaching and counseling young students. I love spending time with children and have been volunteering my time on weekends to teach underprivileged students of a Pilot School Project.

What motivated you to undertake an MBA in the U.S.?

My premier objective in undertaking an MBA program in the US is that it enables me to study in one of the top ranked business schools in the world and I'll be able to benefit from the well-developed research and academic techniques along with state-of-the-art labs and renowned academic faculty. These are a few things which, unfortunately, are not available in an underdeveloped country like Pakistan. US MBA programs will afford me the research and analytical skills which I should possess for being able to solve the wide-range of problems at the national and provincial level. I strongly believe that completing an MBA degree from United States in Social Impact Investing & Consulting will be instrumental to my future career with Non-Profit Organizations (NGOs) and Intergovernmental Organization (IGOs).

I truly believe that the education and knowledge that I will get from prestigious U.S. institutions like Rice, the analytical and management skills that I will develop and the network and relationships that I will build within Global MBA Community will assist me in achieving the above-mentioned goals.

What appealed to you most about the Rice-Business MBA?

The desire to be the best must have a beginning and I couldn't imagine a better way to start this everlasting journey that with Rice University's Jones Graduate School of Business. Rice’s strong focus on experiential learning became the main pull factor for me since it provides the missing piece in my jigsaw puzzle. The Rice MBA program is built on significant experiential learning components - Global Field Experience, Corporate Consulting Projects, Offsite Electives, and International Exchange - that will enable me to apply new business concept and classroom learning to solving challenging real-world business problems.

Lastly, I am attracted to Rice Business because of its location (Houston) which is an Entrepreneurial, Tech, and Energy hub as well. I believe Rice has a very good reputation in Texas as well, and I can leverage the concentration of Fortune 500 companies and a well-knit alumni network, through which I can put myself on a strong footing to become a successful Management Consultant.

How did your B-Speak! lessons help you build confidence as you prepare to start your MBA?

B-Speak! lessons really helped me elevate my overall English communication skills. The one-on-one sessions also helped me enhance my enunciation, intonation, listening skills, and understating of common American phrases. The initial assessment by my coach, Leslie, helped me identify weak areas so that I could work on them and be clearly understood by my professors and peers.

I believe my fluency and pronunciation have improved significantly within a short span, and now I can articulate my thoughts well and speak at length without having to worry about the sentence structure and thinking in my head beforehand. After going through lessons like small talk, elevator pitch, critical reading, and listening to podcasts, I feel more confident while communicating with native speakers, and can express and defend my opinions in a concise and coherent manner. I am glad I took some B-Speak American-style business English lessons before embarking on my MBA journey!

What are you most looking forward to experiencing in Houston and at Rice?

Beyond the classroom, I am quite fascinated about the Global Field Experience at Rice, which will allow me to learn about different opportunities and challenges faced by other fast-growing economies and have an in-depth insight into cultural and business dynamics in an international market.

Since Houston is one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the U.S.,  I'm looking forward to experiencing different cultures and foods as well. I also plan to explore the beautiful city of Houston and I am particularly excited to visit the NASA Johnson Space Center during the summer break.  Lastly, I am most excited to connect with my cohort and make new friends. Being the only MBA candidate from my country, I am really excited to share my country’s traditions and culture as well with my fellow classmates.

A Word from Umair's B-Speak! Coach, Leslie:

Umair has a very high level of English fluency and is always curious to learn more. He brings a lot of energy to class and is very social. Our primary focus was on accent- namely slowing down, inserting pauses, and adding intonation. In our 10 sessions he made great progress- always making a concerted effort to use new skills. Umair will do very well in his MBA program at Rice as he is driven to learn new things and has much experience to bring to the table as well. The thing I enjoyed most about working with Umair was his positive energy and enthusiasm.

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