I was born and raised in Tehran, Iran and went on to Tabriz, another town in Iran, at 18 years old, specifically to pursue my Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration (BBA). Even as I applied for my degree, I knew at that point in time that I was going to eventually pursue a PhD. I completed the four- year degree course in three years and pursued a Masters in Industrial Management at Shahid Behesti University, Tehran. Seven years later, at the age of 25, I decided to leave for Malaysia, an unknown and unfamiliar land to me at the time, to pursue a PhD in Management.
I didn’t plan on coming to Malaysia. At that time, my choice was to study in Canada, but due to some issues that had caused the Embassy of Canada in Iran to close down, I was unable to go and apply for my visa. The next best option was to go and apply for my Canadian visa in Syria. My friends went and they were rejected. Time was passing. Then, one of my friends told me about Malaysia for the first time, and that prompted me to apply and I was accepted. Without much research on how the weather or anything else was like, I packed my bag and left. When I landed in Malaysia for the first time, I came out of the airport with my winter coat in March. Imagine how shocked I was as it was nothing like what I had experienced before. It was so hot and humid – it felt as if I just went into a hot sauna.
At the beginning, I actually didn’t like it in Malaysia at all, and wanted to leave as soon as I finished my education. I had to leave the familiarity of a known society and culture behind. However, despite coming from a totally different culture, my love for food and social relationships with people enabled me to feel more at home here. Of course, I also met my wife in Malaysia and this helped me to get more used to local life, delicacies and fruits. My current favourites are ‘budu’ and ‘durian’ – two very special local delicacies. To date, I have been in Malaysia for nine years and have no intention of leaving.
Currently, I am the Senior Academic Manager at Westminster International College in Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia. In this role, I combine academic managerial tasks with teaching on business courses. Unlike what other people might say, I do not see the need to try to strike a healthy balance between my work life and my personal life because I am doing what I am passionate about. Passion is the only reason I’m doing my job.
Satisfaction plays a very important role in my life and nothing gives me more satisfaction than when I see that sparkle in the students’ eyes. One of the best moments in my career was when one of my students wrote to me after transferring to Cornell University. She had said in her email, “The fact that you taught me Human Relations Administration inspired me and taught me a lot, and now in my current course and class, I really feel that I’m doing great and I am really grateful to you.”
In the longer term, I would love to be a full professor in my field of study while continuing to support students and education. There’s just no end to this career as there will always be roles to teach, share, and inspire students.. My ultimate ambition is to run a prestigious university as the President or Vice Chancellor.
My piece of advice to students and alums is that you should not do any job for the money, but for the passion. Money will come by itself. Don’t worry about anything, it will all sort out by itself. Just work passionately, work hard, enjoy your life and have a sleep in every once in a while. What can be better than that?