Immad ul Hassan, a professional in IT based high tech company, began his professional roller coaster ride based on his era of education and work experience after graduating as a mechanical engineer from NED University of Engineering and Technology Karachi (NED) as a Mechanical Engineer. How come a mechanical engineer ended up in an IT based company is something that might be interesting to know.
Born in Haiderabad to a family of entrepreneurs, Immad had all his basic education up until high school from Haiderabad. After graduating from high school in 2001, Immad decided to break away from the family tradition to join business by getting admission in NED’s Faculty of Mechanical Engineering in the fall of 2001.
After successfully graduating from NED Immad joined a local company in Karachi which manufactures plastic mould dies for automobile industry as a trainee engineer. Within 6 months Immad ul Hassan had his hands on an opportunity to join oil giant Royal Dutch Shell (Shell) as project engineer based in Islamabad. This job required a lot of field travelling to remote oil and gas sites managed by Shell.
During this job Immad found this golden opportunity to join IBA Karachi for MBA. The proposed degree was on scholarship covering all expenses. Immad, after careful consideration, joined IBA in the fall session of 2006 after working for one and a half year in Shell. The MBA program proved to be a game changer for Immad as he excelled not only academically but also left his footprints on other on campus activities as well. He joined different clubs and participated & managed different events & programs.
Graduated in 2008 Immad joined TetraPack, a Swedish packaging giant, based in Lahore in treasury function of finance department. Cash flow management, financial analysis and reporting and audits were the main areas where Immad ul Hassan spent most of his work time. He spent most of the time in company in exploring Lahore and other cities of Pakistan. Fond of travelling from childhood, Immad travelled to northern Pakistan to Swat, Chitral, Gilgit, Skardu, Kaghan and Galliat regions. He also travelled to exquisite sites of Harappa, Darawar and Multan in south Punjab.
After working for almost 2 years with Tetrapack Immad left the company to begin masters of Customer management program in Europe. This program was an EU funded opportunity that required different semesters to be undertaken at different universities specializing in related topics. For this purpose Immad studies in Nordic, Benalux and Iberia region of Europe and studied the technical material and specialized management techniques. The program concluded with a dissertation over a practical application of energy management that has impact on the energy management system of a community.
After the completion of this European degree Immad arrived back to Pakistan. While he was searching for employment Immad came across the IT based high tech company offering a marketing based career in an altogether new industry. Immad, thrilled by this work experience that can potentially broaden and enrich his work experience by industry and by function, decided to join the company when received employment offer.
Currently working in the same company, Immad believes that the professional roller coaster ride he took throughout his education and experience has proven to be a treasure for him, something he cherishes.
MBA - a truth or misconception
Masters in Business Administration (MBA) comes in the line of fire by some of the people who think that MBA does not confer upon the degree recipient and skill as engineering or medical degrees do. Irony is that this thinking has never been debated to figure how much truth lies in there.
Immad, being an engineer and MBA, has an interesting point of view in this regard. He agrees to the against MBA group that MBA does not provide hard skill as engineering, medical, accountancy and other professional degrees do; but what MBA provides is mostly the soft skill that comes in the form of professional communications, emotional control (EQ), skills to manage human resources and ways to understand clients and customers.
When one works in the professional environment one understands the importance of these soft skills. No one can argue against the importance of effective communication and empirical studies are evident that MBAs outperform others in communication. And no one can deny the extreme significance of understanding the customer or client better in the business world, another area of strength for the MBAs. An important trait of MBAs rests in their better EQ than others which keep them cool minded in the problem, which makes them good performer even in case of extreme pressures. Equally important is managing human resource so that everyone in the organization aligns to achieving common goals and objectives which is effectively done by professional MBAs.
This list can go on but it does not mean to deny the indispensible role played by other professionals. Every function and profession has its own importance, like none can match an engineer in auto R&D or a trained surgeon in a procedure or an accountant in bookkeeping. The important thing is to understand first the environment and then to make any comment.
Immad’s personal advice is to stay away from making any comment about anyone unless it is mandated by an external uncontrollable force. Every function has to perform its role for the companies and business to continue performing, missing any function leads to failure which is undesirable.
Professional Life - The best place to learn
The professional life has a lot to give to the associated professionals. Some mention very obvious benefits like salary and perks while others mention brand name, contacts and success. Immad, besides holding on to these things, also believes in things not usually mentioned by others.
Immad looks forward to the social interaction amongst the colleagues as it is one of the sources of knowledge for human beings. Social interaction could be from formal meetings, communication; or it could be in the form of information discussions and hanging out. It contains the essence of sharing ideas from different perspective and taking these ideas to such a refined level which is difficult for a single person to achieve single handedly. Social contacts also empowers human mind to understand other mindset which can result in innovative way of thinking and innovative solutions to problems.
The refining of the communication whether what to communicate or how to communicate also reaches to unmatchable levels in professional outfit. Understanding how to behave with different people, and every person requires to be treated differently, is the real spirit of professional communication. Power of communication has its heyday throughout the life span of the people.
Analytical skills are engrained in the people when they work as professionals. Analyzing the situation round the clock and reaching to the best possible solution is what professionals do every day. Professional workplace is the best platform one can have to polish one’s analytical skills towards the right direction.
What to do first, which thing will follow afterwards, lot of work to manage and work life balance; all of these things are solved from time management which is another outcome of professional life. The method of prioritization and multitasking are two main components of time management which everyone learns in the professional life, either with enthusiasm or by the hard way; but one has to learn this in professional life. Once it is learnt, it benefits one throughout the life even in the things that are related to other aspects of life.
The work life brings in the chances to roam around the world, for work purpose. These trips are loaded with work mostly meetings, trainings and site visits, but the fun is always there in these trips.
While working with Shell, Immad ul Hassan got the opportunity to travel to continent Africa. The meeting in Kenya was followed by awesome Safari trip to Safari Park adjoining Nairobi. The lion sighting, elephant poaching and crocodile lake visiting were some things to cherish for a long time. Training in South Africa was a way to visit the Namib desert and Kimberley diamond mines of diamond giant DeBeer.
But the pinnacle of this African trips was the site visit in Egypt. The magic of Egyptian long history is not only evident in the historical site but was prevalent in the very air. The sightseeing in the city of Cairo, the old citadel, Alazhar, Alkhalili, Cairo tower and dinner on the cruise over majestic Nile river provided awesome tourist experience. The visit to Giza pyramids was a whole new experience of its own where mythically mighty Great Pyramid and Sphinx mesmerized all the visitors.
The visits to Middle Eastern countries, UAE, Qatar, Saudi and Kuwait were also amazing and interesting in terms of cultural mingling. The torturing heat of sun, the endless deserts and the remoteness of the sites were nothing compared to the remarkable metropolis of these countries. The roads filled with high end cars, grand airports, infinitely big shopping complexes all add to the oil superiority of these countries.
Europe in a Glimpse
Europe is the most visited continent out of all and there are many reasons why. The beautiful blend of old and new, sometimes very new, make it a place worth visiting. While you can feast your eyes from medieval or renaissance era monuments (like town centers, churches, palaces, castles) you can also at the same time enjoy the technically advanced facilities of traveling, accommodation and eating. On the one hand you enjoy the bustling metropolis; you also enjoy serene hundreds of years old majestic buildings. The weather in summer is unmatched but the snowy weather of winter is also irresistible. The highly prestigious museums and art galleries lie besides the top of the notch shopping malls.
For making this tour de Europa more interesting, Immad ul Hassan has broken it into several regions of Europe.
Iberia – A Peninsula of Merging Oceans
Iberia region lies to the southwest of Europe and comprises of Spain and Portugal. It was the place where Europe and Arabs, two mighty oceans, merged and joined hands for almost 800 years. This partnership of cultures and ideas was ended almost 500 years ago. This phenomenon is reflected in not only through the surviving old buildings but also in the new architecture which is still heavily influenced by that old time.
One must visit the old Arabic town centers of Cordoba and Granada. The mosque cathedral, built as the great mosque, in Cordoba constructed in early 900 AD shows the civil and architectural mastery of that time. The beautifully constructed building surrounded by the exquisite gardens is a must see place for tourists.
Of course one must not miss visiting the Nasarid’s Palace in the Alhambra Palace complex (constructed some 800 years ago) of Granada which by far is the most striking and well preserved building of that era in Iberia. The intricate details of the building in conjunction with the delicate and well planned water channels, ponds & fountains, the lion courtyard and the lush green vast gardens are worth visiting especially in the summers.
The city of Lisbon especially its old Arab town center, Alfama, is something one must visit. The city is a good amalgamation of old Arab resident localities, the renaissance era town center and newly advanced developed city center. An important place to visit near Lisbon is Sintra, a beautiful hill spot with very pleasant weather and the residence of English poet William Wordsworth for several years.
The bustling mega cities of Madrid and Barcelona are also worth visiting especially for the people who like crowded tourists streets and modern architecture of Iberia. The museums especially of Picasso in Barcelona and National Museum in Madrid are full of cultural treasure.
Scandinavia – A Heaven on Earth
The name of Scandinavia brings in mind snow, cold and vast wildernesses. To an extent this is true as the human race has not yet championed in defeating the nature to stop or reduce winter. But the overall reality is not what that pops up in mind.
The most advanced and energy efficient district level heating systems make the winter season more than bearable. The efficient transport system provides more than comforting journey in frigid environment. But all of this is about winters. The world’s most beautiful natural and scenic beauties here can be seen in summers. The mild summer heat, lush green and vast countryside, the lakes, rivers and sea channels and the nature loving population create a heaven like environment.
City of Stockholm, the capital and largest city of Sweden situated on 84 Islands, is the largest city of Scandinavia and is also considered the Scandinavian capital. The selection of Stockholm as Europe’s green capital in 2010 is an evidence of its being extremely green. It is said one can be lost in a forest within the city of Stockholm! Gamla Stan, the historic town center hosts the royal palace, parliament and Nobel museum. The city has natural history museum, national museum, technical museum and warsa museum. But the most important landmark is the city hall where Nobel Prize ceremony occurs every December. Birthplace of IKEA and H&M, Stockholm has very fine shopping districts across the city. The excellent public transport that includes extensive subway, bus, train, tram and ferry system allow free movement across the city. 4 Airports, port and a huge railway station connects the city to the rest of the world.
The capital of Denmark, Copenhagen, is the most densely populated city and hosts a number of windmills that can be seen across the city and even in the sea. The city is house to the Danish monarch with a huge and beautiful complex of palaces. The Copenhagen Opera house across the sea channel from the royal palace is a grand and magnificent landmark. The parks and museums are in abundance and the restaurants serve superb Danish cheese. The Airport, port and the railway station connects the city to the world. The half submerged and half over Water Bridge on a narrow strait connects Copenhagen with Malmo, a city of Sweden.
Oslo is wealthier most city of Scandinavia because of Norwegian rights on North Sea oil fields. The city houses many landmarks like the Nobel hall for Nobel peace prize, Norwegian Monarch’s Palace and many Museums. The coastline is also attractive because of seasonal viewing of North Sea Whales. The city has impressive infrastructure and is connected to the world by an Airport, port and railway station.
The largest city of Finland, Helsinki, is the capital and commercial center. It was subjected to almost complete destruction in 2nd world war so it lacks the historical buildings, but the white church in the old city center is a must see place. The city is the headquarters to Nokia which holds big office complex in the city. Besides the city hosts many lakes, parks and museum and also has an airport, seaport and railway station.
A key feature of Scandinavia is less population leaving vast untouched areas that house great treasures of well preserved nature. Besides the love of Scandinavian people to preserve greenery and minimizing natural destruction has also added to this feature.
Another important feature is the heavy use of sustainable energy either in the form of electricity or heating has created one of the world’s cleanest environments in Scandinavia. The concept of district heating and stringent building regulations have made this part of the world to grow its GDP by 3 folds without increasing use of energy in the past 30 years.
But the most important feature is the untouched natural beauties in abundance. Although Switzerland can be attributed to have better scenic landscape but Scandinavia has the advantage to contain the most untouched and cleanest landscape in the whole Europe.
Benelux – Another side of Europe
Benelux region in Europe comprises of the countries of Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxemburg, each a sovereign state. This region is unique in the whole Europe for the massive spillover impact of neighboring nations on these countries.
The biggest and far most impact of neighbors on Benelux countries is language. Luxemburg has no language of its own and populace speaks French, German and Dutch. Belgium is better in a sense that besides having French and Dutch as the major languages it also has an indigenous language, Flemish, although is spoken by a small portion of the country. The Netherlands is better off in this aspect as it has its own language, Dutch, spoken by majority but still a sizeable population dwells on German and French.
This impact is not restricted to language as culture is also heavily influenced. The similarities in arts and designs, the architecture and cultural events can easily be detected if one has opportunity to live in this region.
The Netherland has the honor to have the largest port by cargo volume in the western world (Europe and Americas), the port of Rotterdam. Devastated completely by the Luftwafen in the Second World War, the city reemerged as the biggest port of the world, a title which it kept until recent past. The city of Amsterdam also known as the Benelux capital is largest in the region and also hosts the largest airport of mainland Europe, Schiphol. The canal gridlock of Amsterdam, the Van Gogh Museum, Rijksmuseum with feasts of Rambrant and unmatched Tulip Gardens & Windmills are must visit places. The Hague which is also known as the legal capital of the world as it hosts 4 out of 5 international courts is also the seat of government of the Netherlands. Muderdam or the miniature Holland and Schivengen beaches are must see places here. Eindhoven is the southern capital of the Netherlands and owing to its high tech environment is known as the brainport of the world.
Belgium has the honor to host the capital of European Union in the city of Brussels which is also the capital city of Belgium. The well preserved town center, the official buildings of EU, the Manneken Pis and Atomium (atom structure in suburbs). The city of Antwerp and Ghent are pretty good places for historical buildings.
It will be very appropriate if Luxemburg is mentioned as the banking hub of Europe. A small city state, it looks after major banking and financial activities of Europe especially of neighboring Germany and France besides Benelux. The mixed architecture from new and old era makes it a worthy place to visit.
Paris – The Jewel of France
Paris is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. It deserves special treatment from the people writing about it and that’s why Immad ul Hassan has dedicated a separate section for Paris. The city of Paris is one of the highest visited cities of the world. It is the largest city of France and also serves as its political and commercial capital. Paris is sometimes terms as the cultural capital of Europe.
Paris houses many landmarks, each a legend on its own. The Louvre Palace Museum in Paris is by far the largest museum of France and has the best renaissance era paintings in its exhibition halls, the most famous of which is the masterpiece by Leonardo da Vinci, Mona Lisa. This museum is a feat for the art lovers as well as people interested in history. From old Persian and Babylonian artifacts to Egyptian masterpieces and from sculptures of Michelangelo to the paintings of da Vinci, this museum has something to offer to every visitor. The glass pyramid entrance from the Louvre centrum provides a magnificent view.
The tower of Eiffel built in 1870s for the scientific exhibition of Paris has become the universal identity of Paris and sometimes France. Situated at the bank of Seine River the tower is the center of a beautiful plaza. Visitors can go to the top of the tower through elevators for which they need to buy tickets and stand in long queues. But the view of Paris from top worth this effort. On the top floor, a room has world’s most renowned cities name with their national flag pointing exactly in the direction of the actual city with actual distance mentioned.
The cruise trip of Seine River is a worth taking trip as it takes the visitors to all the important places of the city. The running commentary provides tons of information about all the remarkable places and events. This commentary is available in 10 different languages.
The cathedral of Norte Dam in the heart of Paris lies at the banks of Seine River. The medieval age buildings grasps the eye of everyone for its intricate details and delicately carved out statues. At a walking distance from the Norte Dam is the famous lock bridge of Paris. Legend tells that when 2 lovers put a lock on the walls of the bridge, their love is bound in an eternal bond. One can see thousands of locks here, some plane and others have names on them.
According to Immad ul Hassan the most beautiful place to visit in Paris is actually not in Paris but slightly outside. This is the old summer residence of the French Monarch, commonly known as the palace of Versailles. The palace is now a museum but the well restored building is a marvelous thing to see. But the height of this trip is the palace gardens which lie in the back of the palace and cover an area of more than 1000 acres. Beautiful water channels and fountains, lush green grass and intelligently planted trees, the artistic statues and the serene environment makes this place the jewel of the jewel of France.