Drawn from Across the Seas
Three Evening MBA students share what it’s like to juggle classes, work and transition into life in the U.S.
Mohammad G. Jamakzai is an MBA student from Kabul, Afghanistan.
ALBANY, N.Y. (Oct. 23, 2017) – Moving to a foreign country is daunting, especially if you add starting a full-time job and a master’s degree program in your second language. UAlbany students in the evening MBA program show it is both doable and meaningful.
“One of my dreams has always been to get a master’s degree,” said Mohammad Jamakzai, who moved from Kabul, Afghanistan to New York last winter. “I heard that the business school at UAlbany was one of the best in the U.S.”
Jamakzai began the evening program with the School of Business this semester with the hope of finding a job in cyber security upon finishing his degree.
“When I was researching career paths [in the U.S.], I found that information security is one of the fastest growing fields in the world,” he said.
Once he learned of the program’s reputation, as well as its flexibility for busy professionals, the decision to move was easy, Jamakzai.
“The transition was tough, but I’m following my long-term goal, and I’m very hopeful of achieving that at UAlbany,” he said.
Jamakzai is currently a substitute teacher for special education students at Albany High School. He lives in Albany with his wife, Nasima Noora, and his two sons, Bilal Ahmad, 10, and Abibullah, 8.
Nasi, from Girokaster, Albania, said she heard about the program from a relative who graduated from UAlbany in May 2015. She moved to the U.S. three years ago after she and her husband, Sokol, were granted visas, beginning the MBA program last fall.
Though managing a job with a heavy course-load has had its share of challenges, like taking classes in her second language, Nasi said the community at UAlbany has helped facilitate the transition.
“It’s not impossible,” said Nasi, who earned her bachelor’s in business administration at Eqerem Çabej University in Albania. “Anyone can do it if they really want it.”
Nasi works at the Albany Medical Center, along with her husband.
Wuolijoki, from Lahti, Finland, said he chose the program for the diverse range of classes available.
“[The program] offers a wide variety of courses that I can’t get at my home university,” said Wuolijoki, who is studying abroad this semester from Oulu University.
He said a big cultural difference that he’s noticed has been people’s preferred modes of transport.
“Finish society is much more accessible for pedestrians,” he said. “Most of the students go to the school by foot or by bicycle, and only a few students have their own cars.”
Wuolijoki said he is in his fourth year of study, and plans to complete his degree in marketing in Finland in the spring of 2019. When he returns home this winter, he said he looks forward to cross-country skiing, one of his favorite hobbies.
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