Friday, Sept 11 2015
MY ABE Journey
I want to write my story and share it with you.
I had started my ABE (Association of Business Executives) journey in 1982 when I was a student in London with West London College. I was only 22 and these were heyday student times, life waiting to unfold ahead of me. I was not too interested in studying and like many other students, distracted by the feminine charms, London night-life, and all the fun and frolic that most 20 year old get into.
So thinking who needs to wait so long for a degree, I dropped out of college and started working full time in my family business gaining much valuable experience in manufacturing, textiles, export, imports and later working as a IT Banker for a large bank for the next twenty two years. I tried a few times to study and resume my studies, but being back home in my native country, with no motivation to study, alone, I just dreamt that perhaps one day, I would. But it didn’t come to materialize for quite some time.
I was always interested in self development, reading books and attending seminars on how to better myself. I studied meditation, yoga, got introduced to NLP, followed teachers like Anthony Robbins, Wayne Dyer and Ram Dass and read many more books, attended many more lectures and seminars. All of them were saying all the right things. I knew that, I could see that. But none were showing me “how” I could do it for myself. I was disappointed and stopped reading these books and attending seminars altogether.
Then in 2004 I was introduced to a course called the Landmark Forum by my aunt and persuaded by some great friends to travel to Bangkok, Thailand to attend this amazing life changing weekend course. I share the syllabus here to give you a feel of what it is about. I didn’t know what I was letting myself into! Termed as one of world’s top 100 Adventures, an adventure into your own self. I ventured on, and what an adventure! Highly recommended to anyone looking for an inner journey into your own self. And my whole life changed!
Landmark Education gave me guidelines and the “how to” and gave me the “power” how to achieve what I really wanted to in life. This was not a feel good self-help course but something so profoundly powerful, it has left me a completely changed man and one that I am still growing into ten years later. I will write more on this. Thank you Landmark, thank you my dear wise teacher Jerome Downes!
So in 2004 I started studying for the ABE Diploma in Business Management and Business Information Systems and passed both of them! I got good grades, I felt confident. I then started studying for the Advanced Diploma in Business Management and passed that and this time with a top paper prize and a £100 cheque in the mail! ABE wanted me to write my story so I sent in my article to the Student Focus Magazine that was published in 2006. I was happy to see my name in print and received many letters from other ABE students too.
I was now on the roll and felt more adventurous, thank you Landmark. I started studying for the ABE Diploma and Advanced Diploma in Business Information Systems as many subjects overlapped and were common. I passed both of them as well. But that was not the end of it. Few weeks later a letter arrived in post and I opened it to find that I had won the top paper prize ‘again’ and with another £100 cheque. I was on top of the world. Here I was in my 40s, working in a full time job, this was truly unreal. Lot of hard work, and dedication, but all worth it, all the time spent.
In 2009 I felt I wanted to venture abroad so I applied for a UK work visa. I got the visa and moved to England for work. Life now in a first world country with all its competition and challenges was another world I had not bargained for , coming from a cushy bank job as Vice President and Deputy IT Manager of a huge bank HabibMetro in my country, having reached a senior position. Another story for another day ! England was not new to me, I had been visiting London since I was 13, had later studied and lived here for many years too. But entering the competitive ruthless corporate culture here was like moving from a country B road right on to the M3.
Its six years now and I am working in IT as a Senior Network Engineer in the Public Sector.I know all this was only due to the grace and mercy of the Universe , God or whatever name you want to call this unknowable, unseen, mysterious, intelligent life force that I am sure is silently running the show and influencing all our lives in ways we might never be aware of.
In UK my ABE Advanced Diplomas were equivalent to OFQUAL Level 6 UK degree qualification, but I wanted a proper degree and to be a graduate like everyone else. So in 2011 I enrolled for the BSc. (Hons) Information Technology (top up) offered online by the University of Hertfordshire UK. Four subjects and full time working wasn’t easy. But I didn’t give up, and studied hard and passed all four of them. It took me 4 years, one subject a year as its quite intensive. Its now 2015 and just few weeks ago I got a letter from the University saying that I have passed my degree and a Graduate finally. I had passed in a Upper Second Class Honors just one step below the First Class honors which is the highest qualification. I was elated and thrilled!
The graduation ceremony is today, Friday 11th Sept and I am ready and looking forward to finally wearing the robe and the cap after 30 years at the Ceremony at the University and to receive my Degree. I have done it only by grace of God and thanks to ABE and the University of Hertfordshire for accepting me as a ABE Advanced Diploma student.
This email from you at ABE Alumni for my story has come at a strange time, just two days before my graduation. Yes I would love to write another article for the magazine and yes I would love to share photos, story and a video too.
I am going to the graduation today and will meet my kind Tutor and share a cup of coffee and a cake with him. My lovely tutor Steve Bennett who I have talked to many times in the last few months, but will meet for the first time, taught us the final “Rich Internet Application Development” Module. I created a website GilgitHunza.com as a project for my country’s beautiful North West Frontier province, with it beautiful towering mountains and dedicated for a tour guide that I met in 2009 just before coming to the UK.
In the end I would like to say I am happy and honored to be part of ABE and I am a ABE Fellow too. I would love to participate, talk, mentor or deliver talks, press conference or attend any event that you might have in mind. It would give me immense pleasure if I can encourage other students not to give up and take on or continue on their journey towards graduation, a Masters or a PhD!, no matter your age and your location. All definitely worth it!
ABE has been a life saver for me, its an unsung hero that needs to be acknowledged for all the great work it is doing for people like me all around the world who can proudly graduate even at 55!!
What’s next? Perhaps a PhD in Philosophy too, who knows, a teacher at a University perhaps, I hope! I now work as a full time Senior IT Network Engineer in Hampshire, UK.