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Real Humans of MBA Students: Esade MBA Class of 2024

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esade mba class of 2024Zahid Zaki, Esade MBA Class of 2024

Age: 37
Hometown: Tangail, Bangladesh. I moved to Japan when I was a teenager and now I am Japanese national.
Undergraduate Institution and Major:  The University of Electro-Communications, Tokyo; Electronics Engineering
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): 10 years, Telecom

Why did you make the decision to attend business school? Why now?
Well, even though I was doing quite well at my job as an engineer, I always felt that I wanted to create businesses that would have a greater impact on society, especially in developing countries. Working in the R&D and the service operations department at a mobile phone operator in Japan, I have developed technical, analytical and leadership skills. However, to achieve my goals, I felt I needed to attain entrepreneurial, social impact business, and global leadership skills. In addition, after a decade of working, I wanted to take a break to expose myself to new ideas and perceptions. At ESADE, working and interacting with aspiring leaders from around the globe on a daily basis will give me a unique opportunity to learn new ideas and perspectives. Combining my experience with new skills and ideas acquired during the program, I will be transformed and ready to take bigger challenges to make a change. This was a perfect time for me.

Why did you choose ESADE? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
What I have achieved in life and who I am today is because of the support of people – my family, friends, relatives, teachers, mentors, etc. So, people/community was the most important factor in choosing a school. In addition, I wanted to be in a school that offers entrepreneurial and social impact-related experience and I love warm weather. Through my conversations with alumni, admissions, and current students, I felt Esade has such a great, diverse, supportive community. Also, ESADE is well-known for its entrepreneurship and social-impact curriculum. Last but not least, it is in warm, vibrant, and beautiful Barcelona city. I couldn’t be happier to be a part of the Esade community.

What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2024?
I will encourage, motivate and support others to achieve their goals and work as a team. By nature, I am caring and supportive and strongly believe in family values and orientations. The Esade community is like a family to me, and I will support my family to the best of my ability.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself that didn’t get included on your application:
I am a self-taught excellent cook. When I moved to Japan as a teenager almost twenty years ago, I did not know anything about cooking and had difficulties finding Bangladeshi food. So I started to learn cooking and over the time became very good at it. I enjoy cooking and often invite friends to my place. One of my future dream is to have my own restaurant that serves authentic Bangladeshi food.

Post-MBA career interests:
I want to create social impact businesses in developing countries, allowing people to access to affordable services such as healthcare, education, finance, transportation, etc. My primary focus is in the telecom/tech industry. However, I am open to exploring various options that are aligned with my values and purposes.

Advice for Current Prospective Applicants:
–What is one thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
I reflect on my life and try to re-discover myself, finding my values, inspirations, and aspirations. We cannot go forward and achieve our goals if we do not know clearly where we are and who we are. Discovering oneself is hard but is the key to future success.

–What is one thing you would change or do differently?
Score making – I did not take many standardized tests in my life and struggled with GMAT. At some point, I started to doubt my ability and to fear that my MBA journey could end badly. I started late to study GMAT and did not set a realistic study plan. Also, I did not explore other alternatives that are accepted in business schools. Know your base line, make a realistic plan, switch if needed and, most importantly, do not rush or panic whatever the test score is.

–What is one part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
GMAT. After my second attempt at GMAT, my score did not improve much and I felt the pressure, which actually made it even harder. It is not only quantitative that decides one’s fate but overall profile even though many schools these days overly put emphasis on numbers. My perseverance along with people’s support helped me to get through it.

What is your initial impression of the ESADE students/culture/community?
Genuine! Supportive! Warm! Approachable! One of my mentors at my company is an ESADE alumnus and he is the most driven, supportive, and approachable person in the company. When I first talked to the admission director, I immediately felt the warmth, kindness and appreciativeness. The experience was quite similar during my correspondence with current students and the academics. All this gives me the impression that I will fit into the community in no time.

What is one thing you have learned about ESADE that has surprised you?
ESADE has so many women in student body, faculty, careers, admissions, etc. and they are super helpful, committed and warm. In a true sense, ESADE is a great example of empowering women.

What is one thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
Since I studied engineering and have no experience working in the finance industry, some core courses that need finance and accounting background will be difficult for me. However, in most cases, we will work in a team and supporting team members is in the DNA of every ESADIAN, so I am confident that I will overcome this difficulty.

What is one thing you are most excited about in your first year?
I am excited to know my cohort. I think everyone has a unique story from which I can learn a lot. I am also excited to take part in various club activities and off-campus activities including study tour, internships, etc. 

Has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your personal application or admissions process in any way? If so, how?
Well, it does: Like many others, I had to stay at home during the entire pandemic and staying at home for such a long period without joining social events, meeting friends, and traveling, etc. was difficult. Such conditions made the holistic MBA admissions process even more challenging, but I was lucky enough to get support from my family, friends, and colleagues and supervisors at work.

Christina Griffith
Christina Griffith is a writer and editor based in Philadelphia. She specializes in covering education, science, and history, and has experience in research and interviews, magazine content, and web content writing.