It all came together for her. She stood atop and secured highest marks in her programme for which she was awarded the ORYX GTL President’s Medal for Academic Excellence. And then she got the unique opportunity to address more than 3,000 people on her big day.
Khadija Salim recently graduated from the College of North Atlantic-Qatar (CNA-Q) with honours in Business Management — Marketing Diploma and was selected as co-valedictorian along with a fellow graduate, Hamad to deliver a speech at the college’s graduation ceremony 2016.
Possessing best academic results, the Pakistani intends to contribute to Qatar’s economic development by employing the skills she has acquired. With the aim to complete her higher educations, she yearns to become an entrepreneur besides helping others grow businesses through her marketing skills.
She has a dream to own a marketing firm which is a one stop shop providing graphic design, website design, content writing, branding, video production, mobile marketing, SEO and other solutions. She wants to establish a one-of-its-kind company with “best employees.”
“I do know at this age and time it may sound unrealistic but once we know what our dreams are then no matter what time or age you are, you will work day and night to fulfil it. I have a strong belief that I can achieve my dreams,” says Khadija, talking to Community in an interview after her graduation.
Her college, she says, has helped her create a clear vision of her dreams, and soon she will make it a reality. With her skills, she aims to contribute to Qatar’s development.
“My education has given me an excellent foundation for becoming an immediate contributor in the marketing field of Qatar’s economy. The strategies I have learnt, the advertising techniques and research approaches that I have seen would open windows for many to do businesses in new ways,” believes Khadija.
First, however, she intends to get a degree in marketing research or sales. And to her good fortune, CNA-Q just announced it will start issuing degrees from 2017. Qatar market, she believes, offers ample opportunities in her chosen field of sales and marketing.
Finding a place for her will not be easy, she acknowledges. Yet she is prepared to do the hard yards.
“I am taught not to give up and never be afraid of failures. So if I don’t get it in first attempt, I will try again because hard work and determination always pays off,” says the CNA-Q graduate.
She attributes her success to her teachers and peers at the college. Whatever she is today, she says, is just because of her instructors’ hard work and belief in her. They supported and helped her at every step, even at times when she felt stressed.
“They brought the best out of me. They taught me to do things with great passion. They helped me in discovering my talents. My friends are my motivating system,” says Khadija.
At CNA-Q, she says, she took part in so many competitions and events such as Internal Case competition 2016, Quick Startup 2016, and Ideation Challenge 2016 that helped her grow personally and professionally.
Like any college experience, her experience at CNA-Q was a “rollercoaster ride,” with ups and downs. Every day taught her something new and shaped her into a strong and confident person. Competitions, she says, pushed her to step out of her comfort zones and do things with different and unique approach with the aim to win.
She was fortunate, she adds, to be part of this college as she got the chance to meet, learn and experience from people belonging to different cultures and backgrounds. The college is known for its amazing events like “Global Village” and “Souk Areej min Baladi”.
It is the academic curriculum, the number of opportunities it provides to grow, networking, cost and learning skills that Khadija says makes her college, CNA-Q, stand out. The college campus she says offers all the major elements that this generation requires to become the new leaders for this country.
“The college has transformed me into a completely different person. Now I am stronger than ever and wiser than before. Every day was a new day of opportunities for me and every day was a new learning experience,” says Khadija.
All the academic and extracurricular activities allowed her to do things differently, prepared her to take risks and never give up on her dreams, to be ready to face challenges and always to believe in herself.
Being selected as valedictorian, Khadija, explains was a “surreal” experience. It was one of the most rewarding and indescribable feelings in the world.
“I don’t have words to express my feelings when I read the e-mail which announced that I am the co-valedictorian of class 2016, along with a fellow graduate, Hamad Lari. It was surreal,” she elaborates.
When the college gave out the applications for valedictorian, she says, she was 110% sure that no matter what she was going for it. She was determined to achieve this prestigious opportunity.
After getting shortlisted, she had to prepare a two-minute speech and present before a panel of judges. It was hard to write the right content but she is glad she had her business instructor Peter Moore as her mentor. On her big day, she says, it was an incredible experience.
“There were 3,000 people. I have never presented in front of such a big crowd, but the way I am being trained at the college, it helped me to stay confident and strong. The feeling to be on the podium in front of such huge crowd is indescribable,” says Khadija.
She has fond memories of her time at college; however, one particular episode she will never forget. It was at the Internal Business Case Competition this past February, where she led a team.
This two-day competition required each team to participate in three rounds. In each round, they were given different cases related to real life business problems from Human Resources, Marketing, Accounting or Strategic issues.
In the very first round, they did not perform well and were disheartened as they were competing against almost 12 teams and couldn’t make it to the top three.
With her mentors, and the motivation provided, they came back from behind to win the competition.
“As we presented our very last presentation to the panel of judges we were quiet and worried since other teams were also brilliant. But when the results flashed on screen, we had won the first place,” recalls Khadija.
It was an “amazing and great” experience. “That success tasted as something I have never experienced before,” says the co-valedictorian. To be the best of all from CNA-Q, she says, is the most amazing feeling.
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