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Engineer builds upon skills with an MBA
Balancing responsibilities, managing time and meeting competing deadlines are challenges that students often face, and many wonder can it be done? Master of Business Administration student Mohammed Shamia is proof that it can. In addition to taking classes for his MBA, he works full time and takes care of his parents, wife and daughter. At the end of the day, he says the challenges are worth it.
“Honestly, it’s tough,” Mohammed said. “At work, coworkers asked me, ‘How do you do this? You’re crazy.’ I believe in myself, and know what I can and can’t do, and I feel it’s going to pay off later.”
Transitioning from engineering to an MBA
After working as a civil engineer for five years, Mohammed realized that his experience supervising people and ensuring projects stayed on budget and on schedule were management skills that could be applied to any field.
“Management is kind of an umbrella that all industries fall within,” Mohammed said. “Being a manager, it doesn’t matter where you are, as long as you have the skills and knowledge of how to manage people you’ll be successful.”
He transitioned out of the field of engineering to pursue other management positions, but eventually hit a road block.
“I reached a point where knowledge and education was the only way to get me into an advanced job and meet the requirements,” Mohammed said. “The market is very competitive, and [hiring managers] saw my years of experience, but lack of education was a weak point.”
He credits his father for the inspiration to go back and earn an MBA with an emphasis in project management.
“My dad is a Ph.D. graduate, and that really made [earning a graduate degree] a goal for me,” Mohammed said. “I’m glad I did it.”
Mohammed is currently working as a department specialist at the Safeway/Albertson’s Seattle division office. The classes he’s had through the MBA program have bolstered him in his current role.
“The core courses of the MBA were all about business, so I was really focused on applying what I learned,” Mohammed said. “After I was done with the finance class, I was able to read reports better and understand the numbers, percentages, gross profits, etc. and it made me a better contributor in meetings.”
Finishing up and looking forward
Mohammed is in his last quarter and nearing the finish, looking ahead to the future.
“When I receive my degree, my plan is to apply for a promotion,” Mohammed said. “Eventually, I want to get into the construction industry and project management – that’s more related to my engineering background. As soon as possible I want to get the PMP certificate.”
He initially came to CityU at the recommendation of his friends, and how he says he’d recommend the university to others.
“My friends graduated from CityU, and I remember we were talking,” Mohammed said. “They are really successful in their jobs, and I asked how they got to that point, and they said they got their degrees from CityU… [If someone else was interested] I would tell them to go for it. I’d be a mentor and tell them where to go and what to do, it’s been a really great experience for me, and so it should be for others too.”
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