Muhammad Zakria studied at the graduate level during his three years at Griffith in order to complete a BA in Business Studies. Graduating in 2020, he now works as a retail supervisor. We reached out to Muhammad to learn a bit more about his time here at Griffith.
Your story is unique. Please give us a little background about it; what brought you here?
After completing my secondary education in Pakistan, I decided to follow my interest in business organisation effectiveness and communication skills in a culturally diverse environment. As I was very keen to know about different cultures and wanted to make friends that came from various corners of the world, I made it a goal to leave my home country and take admission in an institution in Europe.
I was discouraged many times by people as they believed I would miss home and struggle with the English language. I am glad I did not give importance to their words and had a supportive family that listened to me and encouraged me to pursue my passion in life. I was fully supported by my family and spent two years studying English to improve my language skills and ensure I could pass my IELTS English test. Once I passed my IELTS test, my attention was drawn to searching for an appropriate business degree in Europe. I had heard good things about Griffith College from a lot of my friends, so I decided to pursue my application and was successful in gaining a place on the BA in Business.
Tell us about this achievement.
It has been a great achievement in my life and has silenced those who originally discouraged me. This course has provided me with the knowledge to work in any dynamic business environment, big or small. I have been able to apply my skills to the retail industry, which has been beneficial for me. Whenever I look back on the years I spent studying, the achievement of gaining a qualification has allowed me to look at myself in a new light. I am very proud of myself for the hard work I have put in to achieve my goal of completing a degree in a European country. I always look at this achievement as motivation to eventually become a well-known figure in the business world.
Tell us a little bit about your college experience.
Whenever it comes to talking about my experience in Griffith College then only these words come to mind; I have had the great experience that everyone wants to have during his/her student life.
A normal day in college was a busy day for me as I had to attend multiple classes. I really enjoyed listening to lecturers because the way they deliver their classes always had a combination of theoretical and practical tasks for students. I was given a chance to sit with different students to share ideas and understand new learning techniques from various cultures. Moreover, by taking part as a volunteer in the Griffith College Business Enterprise Competition, I learned more about entrepreneurship and people skills. In college, we were encouraged to ask questions and to ask the lecturer to revise areas that we struggled with. My lecturers asked from time to time through email if I had any difficulties, which showed they really cared about my performance and wellbeing. The college itself is not too big; that’s why it is less intimidating for those students who are shy like I was. You cannot let yourself feel alone or different from others because everyone in the College is so caring and friendly. I would really like to appreciate the effort of the library staff members as they were always so helpful to me with research for my assignments and exams.
Overall every single person working in Griffith has been very good to me. I would definitely say the Business Faculty staff was always there on the front line to accommodate and encourage you. My Programme Director Jacqui Tracey was particularly caring; she motivated me to keep going when I considered dropping out in Year 2 due to stress. Eventually, the greatest learning experience I had was when my course had to move to fully online learning due to COVID-19. I did not feel I missed anything during this time in regards to my studies as the College quickly moved everything online. I had access to material and class recordings 24/7 through the online learning platform Moodle. I would like to thank all the staff for staying with us during the pandemic.
What were you doing before you enrolled in Griffith College?
I was a full-time English language student in an English language institute before joining Griffith College. As English is considered a second language in my home country it is not widely spoken, so I did not have a good command of it. I enrolled in an English language course which helped me to become a fluent English speaker. I was also working in a marketing field where I built up my confidence levels by communicating and dealing with various kinds of people including businessmen, shopkeepers, and educational institutes. That was a great period of my life where I was introduced to a variety of skills and tasks that were preparing me for my bright future.
How did you hear about Griffith?
While I was searching for suitable institutes in Ireland for international students, I was recommended to look at Griffith College Dublin by one of my friends who was a past graduate. I did my own research through the Internet, discovered Griffith College’s social media pages, blogs, and reviews. These helped me to decide that Griffith was right for me.
How has Griffith helped you in terms of professional and personal development?
To be honest, Griffith has played a major role in my self-development. I was not that good at networking and using Microsoft Office skills. Now with the help of my lecturers, I have become an expert in these areas. They never made you feel bad for your lack of knowledge and only encouraged you to improve. I have gained lots of confidence by giving presentations throughout my studies. Now I can speak in front of a group and present my ideas confidently. Before I felt hesitant and worried about public speaking. In regards to my professional development, I have developed my business organising, management, and accountancy skills. The module in Business Management assisted me in learning how to manage my workload and schedule. In addition, the diverse class helped me to gain knowledge in working with people from different countries which is valuable to international companies.
What is a typical day in the life of a student on our course?
A typical day is normally busy, but there are regular breaks where you can relax and meet friends in the College restaurant Urban Square. The Students Union building is also a great place to hang out for recreation like playing Xbox or pool. The one thing I really loved was learning so much about people from different walks of life. It is something I never appreciated in the past, but just because of Griffith I love getting to know people. I also loved sharing my story, my culture and my life experiences. Diversity and inclusivity are all over Griffith College.
Anything else you would like to share?
The last thing I would like to share is to not to be discouraged to pursue your dreams. Your lecturers don’t like giving out to you and they only do so for your own improvement and to give you the courage to be the best.
"Keep yourself motivated, work hard and stick with your goals. Stay disciplined, patient and friendly, your time will definitely come."