Hamza Saleem Shahzad
Never a dull day at Monash
1) Full name / age / nationality.
Hamza Saleem Shahzad / 24 / Pakistani
2) What is your degree studied?
Master in Business Information Systems (MBIS). Expected completion in June 2016.
3) Describe your current major, or the current focus of your research thesis.
My current major focuses on one key aspect in modern organisations, which is the alignment of IT services and functions with that of business functions. The age of individuality is now over, and IT-Business alignment is the way forward - Monash has given me the opportunity to learn and master this concept to enhance my career opportunities.
4) Why did you choose Monash Malaysia?
I started out searching for universities in Australia. I came across Monash Australia and it had a program I was interested in and it was a well reputed university. During my search, I found out that the same course was being offered in Malaysia as well. Considering the fact that living expenses in Malaysia were lesser than in Australia, the fact that Malaysia is a Muslim country and that the quality and worth of the degree is the same irrespective of the location of the Monash campus, I immediately selected Monash Malaysia.
5) While at Monash, what type of opportunities did you participate in?
I like to keep myself busy and participate in activities. While at Monash, I am a member of the Student Staff Liaison Committee (SSLC), I am the editor for the Monash University Postgraduate Association and I am a member of the Monash Marketing and Future Students committee. I am also part of the drama club, and the Monash Model United Nations club.
The best thing is that the opportunities here are numerous; there are so many other conferences and events I couldn’t attend simply because I was busy. Something is always happening at Monash.
6) How has your postgraduate experience been at Monash?
The postgraduate experience is really different from the undergraduate level. First of all, the level of studies change, and there is an expectation that postgraduate students will not need to be told to do things as they are mature enough to understand it themselves. It is no longer a teacher-student environment, but rather a peer-to-peer environment. The facilities provided to the postgraduates are great, such as our own lab space to work in, with 24-hour access. Monash really takes care of its postgraduates.
The curriculum is challenging, it makes you think about possibilities that you didn’t think of before.
7) If you were a postgraduate student, why did you choose to do a postgraduate degree? What were the benefits and challenges that came with studying in a postgraduate course?
This is a hotly debated topic, whether to do your postgraduate degree or not. For me, it was a very straightforward decision. I completed my undergraduate degree in 2013 and decided after 4 years of study, I needed a break. So I spent a well-deserved year working.
However, I knew that my knowledge was insufficient to go further in the field of my interest and I needed to learn more to really make an impact. That was my driver for pursuing a postgraduate degree and I am really glad I made that decision.
The benefits of a postgraduate degree are numerous; there is the networking, industry liaisons, conferences, seminars, activities, events that are made available to postgraduate students. Going to any one of them can improve your resume. The other benefit is that the knowledge itself, the course content and the format is such that it is challenging without being overbearingly difficult,and it makes you think and challenge your suppositions.
There are challenges in adapting to postgraduate studies, it usually takes some time to adjust and it can be challenging - but once you adjust, everything becomes streamlined.
8) What did you love most about your student life at Monash?
The best thing about my student life is there is NEVER a dull day in Monash, there will always be something going on. Be it a futsal tournament or cricket tournament, pool, badminton or basketball, there is something for everyone.
If I am bored, we postgraduates have our own lounge with facilities that are too cool to pass up, the campus is at such a convenient location that everything is within walking distance. Over all, I just love being a Monash student!
9) If you were an international student, how did you adapt to life in Monash Malaysia and Malaysia in general? Were there any particular pleasant experiences or challenges?
For me, adapting was difficult at first as this was the first time I had been away from my family. Everyone goes through it, the first couple of weeks are the worst, you question your decision and start second guessing it. But by the second week, you would have made some friends and then you start settling in and in no time, Malaysia becomes your second home. The food is great and affordable, the accommodation and transportation is affordable. The natural scenery is beautiful and the culture is unique.
The most pleasant experience for myself at Malaysia was the first time I went to a beach. I had never been to a beach before and Malaysia allowed me the opportunity to visit it for the first time and the experience was amazing.
10) As an international student, how did you find the support networks here? Would you have some tips for other international students, especially from your country, intending to study in Monash Malaysia?
I would say the best thing about Monash is that if you are from any country, chances are you will definitely find someone from your country there already. All you have to do is find them. We Pakistani students have already a group that is present to help any new Pakistani students coming in, so my suggestion is don’t be afraid to ask for help. The people here have already gone through what you are experiencing. They are the best people to help you, so don’t shy away and be nervous!
11) What is your advice to current Monash Malaysia students?
It is very easy to complain about things, everyone does it, but try to find solutions rather than moaning about problems. You have been given an opportunity not afforded to many, you are part of Monash, part of its community, it is a privilege and consider it as such. The sky is the limit for you, all you have to do is apply yourself to be the best that you know you can be.