(This is the first time i'm writing a personal statement as my bachelors degree in Pakistan didn't require one so I would appreciate any help to improve this)
"Global History and Creative Industries" pathway
Born, bred in Pakistan- a third world country with a colorful history ranging from the British India times to the Mughal era to the current day. A state that has continuously been struggling to attain political stability and a sustainable socio- economic development. It lies at the core of OBOR - One Belt, One Route and the Maritime Silk Route initiative. Rich in culture, full of color, diverse and unique in its own ways; the location of the country has allowed it to be a means to integrate individual economies with slowly but gradually improving infrastructural facilities in the region: aiding to increased Globalization and adding to the overall value chain leading to promised advantages in overcoming economic, social, technological and developmental changes. However, an overall atmosphere of positivity and hope comes with its fair share of challenges for a country like Pakistan that is still struggling to understand its space.
Living my entire life in Lahore, Pakistan whilst seeing most of my family move abroad due to better financial opportunities and better standard of living; I have had little to no regrets. If nothing, viewing the changing dynamics of my country has made me feel better and motivated me to contribute to my country at any level possible.
For this reason, I am applying for the Global Markets, Local Creatives - "Global History and Creative Industries" pathway after intense research on a Masters degree that would fuse the learnings from my Bachelor's degree in Marketing and Media Studies along with my passion to pursue and implement aspects of creativity and innovation in my home country. During my Bachelors, I was not just exposed to the marketing coursework but also extensively on Entrepreneurship, Communication Studies, Business Management, Economics and Environment giving a holistic learning experience. The multidisciplinary course structure provides a rounded approach to deal with and contribute to the society providing alternatives and solutions pertaining to its contemporary issues and how each aspect in its own capacity impacts the Globe as a whole.
As compared to most areas of the world, Pakistan is a relatively young country which has struggled through its existence to achieve a particular status- with the population comprising mostly of Youth; I believe I have an extremely important role to play which a Master's degree in Global History and Creative Industries would help me achieve. During my undergraduate studies, one course that spoke to me on a personal level was on Entrepreneurship and Small Medium Enterprise- the case studies and research projects during the duration of the course made me realize how Pakistan, despite being a youth- oriented country lacks on enhancing basic potential due to the lack of opportunities available; especially for the females wanting to be a part of the workforce. The difficulties faced by the female entrepreneurs or generally by those women who want to be an active part of the workforce are immense- in terms of not having a proper environment, social and cultural restrictions, lack of networking skills and opportunities.
Females account for almost 48.54% of the population in our country. Unfortunately, due to the unfavorable socio- cultural environment, most of this percentage is not given the opportunity or facility to grow in the society. This has been the situation ever since the inception of Pakistan, little to no women, especially in the slightly underdeveloped areas are allowed to have their own individual identity due to the cultural barriers placed by the society.
Most women are denied formal education especially if they are from a relatively poor background and even those who attain proper education eventually tend to stay at home and are unable to contribute to the economy. This not only leads to a waste of talent but also a lack of good human resources- the World Bank has repeatedly pointed out how Pakistan has low participation of the females in the workforce, little or no progress in job quality and productivity despite there being a youth majority that can actively add to the development and progression of the country's economic potential. In my personal capacity - I decided to pursue a path that would help me urge women to be a part of the workforce, take more practical and creative decisions within the work environment and change the overall historical and cultural perception that a woman is only supposed to take care of the household.
Currently, I'm employed at a content creation/ digital agency that is largely dominated by women, it not only provides a sense of empowerment but an ease of discussion on topics from various realms. Since the past six months, I have been a part of the transitional phase where the general policies and the ways of companies working have evolved dramatically due to Covid- 19. The environment has become and is becoming more and more creatively and digitally conducive. Covid-19 may have hit the global economy in the worst way possible but the digital and creative economy has largely expanded, giving third world countries a push into "becoming global, acting local" by being on the internet more actively than ever before.
I work as an Account Manager which means I am the main point of contact for every client that comes through, while communicating with the clients and coming up with strategies on how to go about various developmental projects at a government and private level; a realization of the lack of female Heads of the companies came through immensely. For most companies that I interact with, the CEO's or Marketing managers are men; usually they aren't open to diverse opinions as compared to the women in their companies; this acts as a barrier to understand one another and gives less room to experiment. It has been six months since I've joined the workforce and I noticed the hiring policy of our company as compared to my colleagues in other companies. Having a woman- centric top management allows room for more creativity and openness to understand people from various realms of life as compared to a male- dominated one. In my case of the full-time job, part time work and several internships; I consider myself lucky, the women in the workforce have always been powerhouses, understanding work and sentiments better, being more rational and creative with their ideas.
While working on different projects, I have been given a chance to look over and develop strategies on projects involving the USAID and UNDP separately, this gave me a clear insight on how these global organizations are trying to keep Pakistan in the loop- working towards allowing the women the progress in the society at the same pace as men. These international projects allowed me to be a part of the thought- process that goes behind these programs and how they work. Due to the work from home policy because of Covid-19, I was able to sit in on meetings via Zoom and contribute as much as I wanted to.
This is just one example of how important it is to have females be a part of the workforce and be allowed to flourish, it is the idea that I want to be able to implement and work through immensely due to which I believe GLOCAL is the right place to learn from and progress further in my career by bringing about a change starting from the smallest point. Unfortunately for Pakistan, due to the challenges it has had to face from the very beginning, there is a need of proper implementation and execution of plans; to make use of resources in the best way possible without having to be dependent on external funds in order to pull through tougher situations. Pakistan has strong- headed individuals who can work together and make the country more progressive if the resources are allocated and put to use effectively and efficiently.
During my undergraduate studies, I worked at an NGO as part of the Corporate Social Responsibility campaign at my university- which required me to work on finding and managing talented men and women at a local level, in underprivileged areas. At first it sounded odd to me since I had never thought about extracting talent from areas which barely have any proper education but once I got into the process, I found that these people, despite not gaining formal education have skills, that if enhanced and used in collaboration with proper innovative technologies would do wonders. All they needed was a helping hand- some funding and inclusivity. During this development, I noticed how the female population was rather hesitant in coming forward as they were afraid of the men in their households, afraid that they might not get permissions to work. This was definitely an issue but with time we were able to ease in the women and made sure there was no discrimination.
My real motivation to apply to GLOCAL is to be able to develop myself, get the international exposure and gain a globalized understanding as to how to be able to progress from a single perspective person to someone who can influence and work for others, to make lives better. I want to bring in the aspects of globalization, creativity and innovation at a grass- root level so I can serve my country to the best of my potential. For my Master's thesis I intend to work on How female activity in the workforce has a good or bad impact on the creative and innovative potential of a company- keeping in mind all socio- economic and cultural factors within the country, using the already developed/ progressive countries as a case study.
Through the education and skills I will acquire at GLOCAL, I want to be able to take my career to the next level by making use of what I do today and reaching the masses using the channels I am already in contact with, I want to be able to create an institution that not only takes care of the basic needs but also provides an easy source of income, make microfinancing easier, have a non- discriminatory environment especially for the women so they feel empowered. I want to inculcate the culture of inclusivity and make Pakistan a place that is more welcoming of newer ideas and beliefs. I believe, the multi-faceted approach at GLOCAL which incorporates the historical and contemporary perspective will help me enhance my approach and allow me to achieve my goals whilst expanding my sphere of understanding the pressing issues that are continuously being faced by our nation.
The opportunity to study in a consortium of all the prestigious Universities is a privilege in itself considering they are Globally recognized and have a high academic merit. I look forward to experience and learn through the GLOCAL lens, acquire more about the world around me and be the best version of myself by presenting a positive image of my country, Pakistan.
I sincerely hope the admission committee finds my profile worth the life- changing opportunity.