Blog by Mahdi Murad, business administration, '14 Amsterdam, December 2016: Recently, one of my best and dearest friends who also happens to be an AUIS alum, visited me in Amsterdam. It was a short visit, but a big part of our conversation was about all the experiences we shared during our times at AUIS. The student government, student clubs, blogs, demonstrations and many more were some of the memories we recalled. It was an inspiring meeting looking at where we both stand now. I kept thinking about AUIS even after my friend left. I have always valued my experiences at AUIS and have always been thankful for what the university has offered me. The words, “Without AUIS, I would not be able to stand where I am now,” started almost all my conversations with my friends. AUIS was definitely the one and only place that offered me a number of opportunities that would have been too difficult to get elsewhere in the country during my college life. So I, once again, thank AUIS, its professors, staff members, and students who have been, and continue to be, a great source of inspiration to me. While browsing through the AUIS website, I came across these words from my previous blog, “I not only majored in business administration, but I also became a journalist, a playwright, and a sports lover through the various extracurricular activities that AUIS offers its students,” and, “I believe that the extra knowledge and confidence that I gained, along with my degree, have been really helpful to me in getting hired by one of the most well-known international companies around the world!” That was what I said about two and a half years ago. Have I changed my mind now? The answer is absolutely not! I analyzed every word I stated during the last years after I graduated at AUIS. Indeed, each word reflects what I have achieved so far. I have many friends, a majority of them AUIS students and graduates, who ask me how I got to where I am now. The answer is not impossible nor is complicated: harness every single moment of your life at AUIS and make use of all the opportunities you can get. For someone from outside AUIS in our country, the words “extracurricular activities,” and “extra knowledge” might not mean much, however, if you ask the same question to an AUIS member, it could mean everything. It could mean the basketball team, the soccer team, journalism club, debate club, drama club, writing club, reading club, or a variety of other activities; things like study abroad exchange programs and internships. So, this helps you see how different AUIS is. And my advice to the current students is to be as proactive as possible; do not only look at the opportunities, go after each one of them. I was personally one of those students who was engaged in as many of these activities as possible. Did they help me? Absolutely! In addition, I totally understand that AUIS requires a lot of time and dedication for its curriculum, classes, and exams. However, successful students will be able to manage their time in a way that could dedicate some of their focus to all the wonderful opportunities AUIS offers in addition to its prestigious system of education. Furthermore, I would like to leave you with few points that I learnt from my professors, friends, and everyone I work with. These are points that helped me achieve many of my goals. Firstly, work on creating a rich resume that should be populated with experiences related to your dream career. Having a strong major such as business administration was good but never enough to help me get the job. It was mostly about the related skills I managed to develop while I was a student. My bachelor’s degree helped me become one of the top candidates for the job, but the extracurricular activities such as journalism, theater, internships and volunteer work were the reason I was chosen for the job. So, know what you would like or want to do now before you graduate. And always work around the expected skills you will need to get that career after you graduate. Secondly, do more of what you think you are good at, and don’t change your mind for something that you are not sure you will succeed at. When I graduated from high school, almost everyone who knew me was surprised that I didn’t go to engineering or medical school. I was honest with myself at that time. I knew these two were not for me, and I would not be happy or successful at them. I loved English at that time, and always wanted to speak English fluently. Therefore, I decided to join AUIS and chased that dream until I achieved my goal. Within AUIS, after the English program, I realized I would enjoy business. So, I soon decided to chase that dream too. In a nutshell, you need to find your dream job and passion and chase it. Ask for advice as much as possible but be honest about what you are good at and what you want to do in the future. The third and very important thing is TIME. My life at AUIS seemed crazy for many of my colleagues. I was engaged in several extra-curricular activities simultaneously. Many of my friends thought that I had no life, but only my very close friends could understand I was busy but also super happy. I was able to manage my time and balance my life very well. It is also crucial to know that the time management skill will live with you for the rest of your life. For example, after you graduate and are hired for your dream job, you need to balance your work and life effectively. Every day I hear the words “balancing life and time management” wherever I am. Based on my experience, you need to develop that skill as soon as possible and not wait until after graduation. I have some friends and colleagues who are facing big challenges with their work due to lack of life-work balancing and time-management skills. So, develop that skill now and the future will be much easier for whatever job you take. Lastly, like Leonardo DiCaprio once said, “When you wake up in the morning, you have two choices…go back to sleep and dream your dreams or wake up and chase those dreams.” I hope you wake up and go after your dreams. I wish every AUIS student a great future and would like to again remind you that AUIS Makes Impossible, Possible!
Join us tomorrow for a friendly soccer match between AUIS students and Alumni. Please come out to support our current and former students!
The AUIS Alumni Association is hosting a women's basketball game on May 12 between current student and members of the alumni. The game is open to everyone at AUIS and outside the University. Outside guests can register their names for the match by clicking on this link. Only those with their names registered will be allowed to attend on the day of the match. Please bring some identification with you to the University on the day. Tickets for IQD 5,000 will be sold at the AUIS main entrance on the day of the match. Donations are also encouraged by the AUIS staff, current students, and alumni. The proceeds from the tickets will go towards fundraising for the AUIS Alumni Association.
Iraqi Visitor Loves Ashland The Ashland Daily Tidings writes about AUIS alumnus, Aws Al-Nuaimi '15, as he visits his host family for Christmas in Ashland, USA. Aws graduated with an engineering degree from AUIS and is currently studying mechanical engineering at Texas A&M University. Aws had earlier visited Ashland four years ago as part of the AUIS Shakespeare Iraq troupe to perform at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Read the full story.
“Lean In changed me to never say I was lucky when I succeeded, or I failed because I didn’t have the ability,” explained Banu Ali to participants at Lean In introductory event, “I realized that women could achieve whatever they want if they come out of their comfort zone.” The event, which was organized by Ali, an IT alum from AUIS, included a video introduction with Sandberg. In the video Sandberg spoke to a number of women and men, from different professions and backgrounds, about Lean In and its benefit to society. She also spoke about her own personal experiences in life and work, how to overcome fear and step outside of your comfort zone, and how sharing information with one another helps reach goals. Sandberg pointed out that sharing ideas, thoughts, and experiences will help boost careers, which is why she created the idea of circles, a place where women can meet regularly and advise each other. Ali graduated last year from AUIS and plans to promote and encourage people to join a Lean In circle. She created the circle at AUIS last year and its first initiative was the ‘Ban Bossy’ campaign. The campaign has a mission to eliminate using the word bossy to describe young girls. The success of that campaign encouraged a large number of students to join the Lean In circle. “In the beginning, only five students joined the group; however, as they learned more and after Sandberg’s book was translated into Kurdish, more students became interested, and the number of students joining the circle keeps increasing,” Ali said. With the help of AUIS student, Azheen Fuad, Ali manages the AUIS circle. They also created a Lean In Hub where they teach and guide students who join the circle on how to apply to AUIS. “Lean In was introduced to me last year while attending a summit abroad,” Fuad said, “We were all sitting in a circle and discussing our viewpoints in terms of supporting one another and the moral support each person gave one another truly opened up my eyes in terms of realizing what we could all achieve if only those negative thoughts were replaced by support.”
The survey, conducted with 57 respondents out of a total undergraduate alumni body of 92, aimed to assess the current employment and educational statuses of AUIS graduates. The survey indicates AUIS graduates are in high-demand and able to find employment. Nearly 80 percent are employed full-time, 7 percent part-time, and the remainder is pursuing graduate studies in the Kurdistan Region, Turkey, Europe and the United States. This means that by official definitions of employment, 100 percent of graduates are employed. Many students commented that companies and employers showed preference for AUIS students over graduates from other universities. “AUIS is proud our graduates are in high demand. We feel this demonstrates that we are teaching our students the skills the market demands,” Morgan McDaniel, the Career Services Coordinator, said. While 60 percent of jobs in the KRG are in the public sector, all but one respondent works in the private sector. Many AUIS graduates work in large, well-respected companies, including Lafarge, Qaiwan, Huawei, Bahar, Bayad, Rudaw, Asiacell, and Asia Insurance. Respondents’ wages average $1380 per month, ranging from $500 to $5700. This compares favorably to GDP per capita of approximately $4000 in Iraq and $4500 in the Kurdistan Region. Significantly, 98 percent of respondents said their current employment is “directly” (42 percent) or “somewhat related” (56 percent) to their field of study. Similarly, 88 percent said AUIS prepared graduates “very well” (46 percent) or “more than adequately” (42 percent) for their current career. Many graduates mentioned that AUIS teaches students to be responsible, on-time, respect deadlines, and have a strong work ethic – all traits desired by employers. Once employed, AUIS graduates are satisfied with their future career path, which indicates graduates believe that their career options will only get better with the time. Eight-five percent said they were “very satisfied” (22 percent) or “generally satisfied” (63 percent) with their career path. “For new entrants into the labor force the results are impressive,” Chase Winter, the Institutional Development Officer and co-coordinator of the Alumni Association, said. “That the vast majority of our alumni works in the private sector and is satisfied with their career path, which shows AUIS is doing something right. AUIS will continue to produce graduates of responsible character with the necessary knowledge and skills for professional and national leadership.” To read the full report, click here.
Amal earns remarkably high grades at the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani (AUIS) and dreams of law school, but she struggles with long periods away from her close-knit family in Baghdad – and the frequent bombings that could take them away from her for good. Read more.