Shazna Choudhry, alumna, BA (Hons) Business Studies (Top-up)
From an early age, Shazna Choudhry was interested in business, but while working as a Project Administrator she felt that her lack of a degree was holding her back from making progress in her dream career. She began looking around for ways that she could give her career a kick-start – and her research led her straight to LSBU.
“I needed to study part-time in the evenings, by fitting education around work,” says Shazna. “LSBU was one of the only universities I found that provided a part-time evening degree, and I was delighted to see that the course would give me a good foundation in a variety of topics related to business.”
Shazna started studying with us at Westminster Kingsway, and immediately found herself impressed by LSBU. “I was impressed by the resources that the University provides,” she says. “It offers state-of-the-art IT to employment support for alumni – they look after students the whole way through the experience.”
The support from the lecturers was absolutely amazing – probably the best thing about my studies.
Shazna herself has now graduated from LSBU, and has since made the kind of progress she was hoping for in her career. She works in an important role at Eversholt Rail: “I’m currently working as a Bid Project Manager,” she says. “It’s a varied and challenging job that’s at the forefront of activity in the organisation. I write business cases, produce project plans, run campaign plans and manage a cross-functional team to deliver different outputs for the Head of Bidding.”
Shazna's opportunities at Eversholt Rail are no coincidence, however, she is adamant that her time at LSBU has been hugely beneficial. “I’ve been promoted twice since I started the degree, and I’m sure I will continue to develop and grow into new roles,” she says. “The degree gave me a lot of knowledge around the different elements surrounding business.”
Shazna's tips for success
Shazna shares some advice on how to succeed in the career you want.
Be honest, be yourself – don’t pretend to be anyone you’re not
Be confident, but not arrogant
Be interesting and engaging
Be well-rounded – show that you have other interests
Be intelligent, but not necessarily studious – submit a practical application
Get yourself on LinkedIn and use social media to your advantage – many companies advertise roles through this medium
Remember you are more likely to excel in a job/career that you are passionate about
Looking for the job
Create an impact – people will judge you on the whole package within the first few minutes of meeting you
Employers don’t just want a great personality, they want someone who can do the job
Make sure you can answer questions on the actual role and not just about the company
Show interest in the business – do your homework and find out about the company, ask interesting questions
Highlight your strengths and be aware of your weaknesses
Prepare for your interview – you will be asked to give examples
Don’t be disheartened – remember that every interview is giving you experience
When you get the job
Do find a mentor to guide, support and champion you
Don’t run before you learn to walk – you will not be CEO overnight, so you should take time to learn your craft and obtain knowledge and skills
Take up any offer of training that your employer might provide
Make an effort, display energy and enthusiasm – you will be given an A for effort even if you’re not always right
Volunteer for other projects within the organisation if you can – this will give you further experience and heighten your profile
Make the most of lunch – invite colleagues to lunch and get to know them
Understand and be understood – treat others as you would wish to be treated and remember we all have stuff going on
Thanks to Shazna's time at LSBU, she is confident she will develop further and be promoted into roles that suit her skills and competencies. She traces her positive attitude back to her degree, gaining the skills and confidence that have set her up for the future.
“A lecturer once said to me ‘nothing is for nothing’”, says Shazna. “I agree with that.”
Find out more about employability and careers at LSBU.