Editor’s note: This Q&A is sponsored by Georgia State University’s Robinson College of Business.
Name: Mohammad Qais Nasimi
City and country where you’re from: Kabul, Afghanistan
Employer and title (if applicable): Independent Consultant
Global Atlanta: What made this program right for you? Why did you choose the MIB instead of an MBA or another business degree at a different institution?
There were a few things that were considered while choosing the program initially. My undergraduate degree was a BBA and I wanted to do something different.
Secondly, I consider myself a global citizen (born and raised in Afghanistan, traveled the world and now studying in the U.S.) so this MIB would give me another opportunity to travel and interact with people from different background.
Global Atlanta: How important was it — from a cost and time perspective — that the degree is only one year?
Mr. Nasimi: The cost was not bad, comparing with other similar programs across the U.S. The time concern was very important for me, as I knew I’d be working full-time, handling my family here in the U.S. and my parents in Afghanistan while remaining socially active (especially helping new refugees resettle to the U.S.)
Global Atlanta: What drew you to Georgia State and convinced you that this program was the right type of learning environment for you, both from an academic perspective and looking at the city of Atlanta?
From an academic point of view, I learnt that Georgia State University is one of the best amongst the business schools across the U.S. Hands-on simulations and field visits helped me develop a few required skills like virtual global teaming, international negotiation and market analysis.
Looking at the city of Atlanta, it has a lot to offer, from corporate America to entrepreneurial opportunities, as well as an affordable cost of living and ease of commute to and from the university.
Which programmatic aspects of the MIB do you feel are the most unique and beneficial for your real-world career?
The program was well-designed over all, but I feel that international negotiation, policy and strategy in international marketplace, startups and international legal process were the most unique and beneficial for my real-world career.
How is this program different from what is offered in your country, and what about Atlanta makes it a great place to learn global business?
It is totally different in that it’s designed to meet the demands of global experts. In my country the curricula are not up to date and case studies are lacking. Student participation is minimal. Atlanta gives you an opportunity to interact with all different backgrounds, which is crucial for global business.
What did you learn about the U.S. business environment in the process of learning about how Americans view global business?
The U.S. business environment is very favorable, very dependent on personal effort. It’s a land of opportunity for all entrepreneurially minded people. Succeeding is tough but possible, and I noticed that Americans are proactive, willing to take risk and ready to enter any market that has something to offer.
Can you share one or more experiential aspects of the program — study-abroad trip, guest speakers or field visits — that really brought home a lesson that would have been hard to learn in the classroom?
The guest speakers contributed significantly to our learning process through sharing their personal and professional experiences. It gave an opportunity to take another look at my skill sets and reshape them in order to respond effectively in a competitive environments such as the U.S. All our guest speakers had to start from somewhere, and that was helpful to see.
Field visits were helpful too. We learned how businesses work and what were their biggest challenges, whether working for somebody or having their own business. Overall it was a great experience.
What was the most meaningful thing you learned through the program about crossing borders and reaching into new cultures when conducting business?
I learned a lot but will highlight a few here:
1. Respect everybody no matter their status and background
2. Build relationships and networks across the globe
3. Trade-off (give something in order to get something)
4. Be proactive and don’t wait for the very last minute
5. Coordinate and communicate effectively and in a timely manner
6. Do not assume anything
7. Listen very carefully and ask questions
Now armed with the MIB, what’s your next move?
I am in the process of brainstorming for both domestic and global startup ideas, or I could go work for corporate America for whoever provides me the best offer.