Writer, engineer, business professional: The MBA student who’s unafraid to do it all

Jawad Shaikh: An Indian MBA student in the UK
Jawad Shaikh discovered his passion in business while pursuing a mechanical engineering degree, and decided to get an MBA to enjoy the best of both worlds. Source: Jawad Shaikh

Jawad Shaikh — an MBA student — is a man of many interests.

His passion for business and engineering led him to pursue a Diploma in Business Management with a Bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering.

He has worked as a project manager for a prestigious international real estate company and has authored two books — one during 2020’s lockdown. 

The Indian native is now an MBA student at Alliance Manchester Business School at the University of Manchester. We catch up with Shaikh to learn more about his achievements:

Why did you decide to study business alongside mechanical engineering? 

The Diploma in Business Management that I did at the Symbiosis Institute of Business Management in Pune, India, was done in parallel with my mechanical engineering degree that I had started earlier. I felt that the diploma would complement my engineering knowledge to help me have a better understanding of both the delivery and business development side of the industry.

Did you work in India after completing your bachelor’s?

I did, at Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) Mumbai in the Project & Development Services vertical (PDS). My job scope was geared towards the project management side, closely related to the field in my undergraduate degree. For the first two years, I managed client stakeholders, compiled project reports and coordinated with cross-functional teams across the globe.

After those two years under project management, I then transitioned to the Business team in February 2020 where I developed proposals, lead pitches and negotiation meetings, coordinated contract agreements and built client relationships, and conducted revenue and business analysis.

Why did you decide to pursue an MBA at Alliance Manchester University? Why not remain in engineering?

After my time working at JLL under the business development team, I wanted to further my studies with an MBA. It made sense for me since it would give me a holistic business background, in addition to allowing myself to diversify my field outside of just engineering.

I had the fortune of working with great clients in JLL, especially since Mumbai is a large financial hub for these big international companies. While working with these clients in corporate real estate, I got an insight into those industries through a glass window. It became one of the major reasons why I wanted to pursue an MBA.

Jawad Shaikh: An Indian MBA student in the UK

Alliance Manchester Business School is recognised as one of the world’s leading business schools. Shaikh’s MBA journey, in addition to his engineering background, has opened up greater possibilities in his career. Source: Jawad Shaikh

What made you pursue an education in the UK?

I’ve always desired to do my postgraduate studies outside of India. I was attracted to the idea of being an MBA student in Europe, but preferred an English-speaking country. The UK became the perfect place for me to do so.

Is there a large difference between studying in the UK and India?

It’s hard to say if there’s a stark difference between studying in the UK and India because of the different levels of study I had, but I can say that the UK focuses on practical lessons rather than just theories.

In my case, the lessons conducted in the Alliance Manchester Business School are curated based on real-life consultancy projects and the courses will be structured based on those projects. That itself brings a unique experience for MBA students in UK universities.

You’re currently pursuing an internship at Scalebridge Capital. How is it going? Is it different from working in India?

I’m currently working on a part-time internship there. I originally started during the Christmas break when I had some free time, and when classes resumed, I work two to three days a week to balance my job and studies as an MBA student.

The reason why I’m working here is that I prefer joining something in corporate finance. Since I don’t have prior experience in that field, I’m trying to gain as much experience as I possibly can.

You’ve written two fictional novels. What were they about? What made you want to be an author?

For me, it was more of a hobby than a serious pursuit. I wouldn’t call myself an author by any stretch yet. It started when I was doing my undergraduate studies; I was doing a few articles and blog posts in my spare time. During my four-month period of job hunting, I would have free time in the evening for me to write my short novel.

My first novel is called “Oblivion” — it follows the story of a man’s life on an island, and the strange encounters and interactions that uncover the very thoughts in his mind that haunt him. It took me only a couple of months to complete it.

My second book, “The Voice in My Head”, was released in 2020 during the first lockdown in India where I had been stuck alone in my room for a good five to six months. The premise is a collection of stories based on the thoughts and conversations fathomed by one’s mind.

Unfortunately, I don’t have much time to write these days since I’m studying and working, but sometimes I would do it out of relaxation, or just write down the thoughts that can’t seem to get out of my head. As of now, I don’t have any plans on writing a new book anytime soon. If the opportunity arises, I’ll write, but I don’t have a fixed time or schedule to do so.