Personal StatementPlease be as precise as you can when writing your Supporting Personal Statement. Do not repeat yourself and do not exceed the word limit (1,200 words). You should make sure that you address the following issues in your personal statement:
· You should outline your motivation for choosing the GLOCAL programme (i.e. how it complements and develops your previous studies; how it relates to your potential future career path; how it relates to your personal and academic interests).
Pakistan has major strategic advantages by virtue of its geographical location. It is located at the cross roads of civilizations and is at the heart of several regional projects including the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, and One Belt One Road initiative. These projects not only offer regional cooperation and connectivity but also provide unparalleled potential for technological, infrastructural and social developments. These advancements are expected to pave the way for improved law and order situation in the country by providing economic stability through generation of jobs, increased foreign investments and an overall air of positivity in the country. However, this comes with its fair share of challenges for a developing country like Pakistan.
Raised in Karachi, the cultural hub of Pakistan, I have had innumerable opportunities for interacting with people across different cultures and ethnicities. My education and work experience have contributed massively to how I perceive the world around me. I acquired a business administration degree where I opted for Human Resource Management as my majors. During my undergraduate studies, one project that provided me with a strong career direction was the one I undertook for my entrepreneurship and small business management course where I studied the barriers of entry faced by female entrepreneurs. Unfavorable regulatory environment, lack of networking skills and difficulty securing funding actively hinder females in establishing their own ventures. This coupled with prevailing socio-cultural barriers has resulted in Pakistan having the lowest rate of female entrepreneurs i.e. 1% as compared to 21% male entrepreneurs.
The situation isn't very different when we look at females entering the job market. Pakistan's women labor force rate is a mere 22.6 %. A sizeable women population after years of formal education tend to stay home and therefore does not contribute economically. Pakistan is in a phase which is termed as the youth bulge with 64% of the population below the age of 30. The World Bank emphasized youth bulge, low female labor force participation, slow progress in improving the quality of jobs and labor productivity characterize as the country's challenge. This was the when I had a clear idea of what my career should look like. I decided to pursue a path where I could help bring women back to work and creative conducive work environment to be able to retain them.
During my internship at Lotte Chemicals Pakistan Limited, I was part of the transitional phase where the group's global policies and brand identity were adapted to suit Pakistani markets. The hiring policies and employee value proposition were redefined as per the local needs. I worked on hiring trainee engineers and as a result gained in depth knowledge of HR practices. The organization's focus on recruiting females for field engineers, a rather unconventional role was one of the initiative I was involved in. My internship at Learning Minds Group introduced me to the vast learning and development industry of the country. I worked on researching training content, developing learning aids and leveraged my digital expertise to create a design for a learning app. Right after graduation, I was selected HBL's future leader program which is one of the highly reputed and competitive programs in the country. Since my induction in July 2016, I have worked primarily on the bank's gender and talent strategy. In addition to working on revamping existing trainee programs at HBL, I also worked on projects pertaining to gender diversity. I worked on developing a financial literacy program targeted to females with the objective of improving financial inclusion of females in Pakistan. I closely worked on HBL Nisa platform (a platform for female customers and employees) to organize a bazaar theme event on account of International Women's Day 2018 where we invited female entrepreneurs to showcase and sell their products thus allowing them access to potential clients. These highly skilled females struggled with management and marketing skills and therefore, the interested females were enrolled in a rigorous entrepreneurship course which provided learning and mentorship opportunities. We developed daycare and flexible working policies to facilitate working mothers and designed a return to work policy for women who have had to take a career break. Through the education and experiences I will acquire at GLOCAL, I plan to take my career to the next stage by joining government institutions to drive the policy change which will economically benefit women nationwide. I aim to empower social enterprises and incubators, make microfinancing easier, create a regulatory environment that supports new businesses and pushes organizations to create environments that non-discriminatory and harassment-free. The multi-disciplinary approach at GLOCAL that incorporates historical and critical perspective as well as a number of pedagogies like language immersion program, seminars, and conferences coupled with the rigor of courses like globalization and labor, globalized economy and international human resource management makes it an ideal platform for me to expand my sphere of understanding of the pressing issues faced by our nation.
During my undergraduate studies, I indulged in a number of activities from counselling incoming exchange students to organizing recruitment drives at the university. Given my exceptional relationship building skills and ability to simultaneously manage multiple stakeholders, I led the communications department of Marketing Society of IoBM where I was responsible for all internal and external communications; designing all marketing collaterals, conducting new member orientation and negotiating sponsorship proposals.
Community service and development has always been a passion. I have been an active part of Pakistan chapter of WAGGGS (World Association of Girls Guides and Girls Scouts) since 2006. I joined merely as a member and have proven myself capable of leadership position. In 2012, I was appointed as a guider for my area. Since then, as a guiding leader, I have led numerous social service projects which are based on UN's Sustainable Development Goals. Some of the projects include improving health & sanitation conditions of underprivileged communities, running adult literacy programs and food & nutrition campaigns. We have worked towards generating funds, creating awareness and mobilizing the funds to improve the quality of life of communities. Through the guiding platform, I have represented my area at several national conferences and camps. This has helped me develop intercultural competence and a strong sense of pluralism.
GLOCAL will also introduce me to a diversity of interpretations on issues that affect Pakistan. For my master's thesis, I intend to work on the research on female entrepreneurial culture globally and the governmental policies that encourage it to further deduce how that can be applied in Pakistani environment given the macro and micro economic factors. The program will allow me to delve deeper in the developmental economics making it an ideal platform for me to learn policy making and develop a thorough understanding of global gender dynamics thus is the ideal avenue for me to take my professional career further.