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Shaila Jahan Mona

Shaila Jahan Mona profile picture

PPM Graduate 2013-2014


"It gave us a chance to re-invent ourselves and see the possibilities of who we can be"

Shaila Mona 1

“What surprised me about my course was the way each student was encouraged to participate, interact and get involved in discussions. We would give our opinions and share ideas at every opportunity – and if we had something to say, we were urged to say it. This did not only add greatly to the learning experience, but also brought about a change in all of us.

In some cultures, we tend not to question things that are told to us, but simply accept them. WMG’s teaching style broke that down and helped the more introverted personalities in my class to build their confidence and belief in themselves.

Having said that, the courses were also extremely challenging. Each module began with a week’s intensive study from 9am to 6pm every day. It took me some time to learn how to maintain my concentration for such long periods, though of course this is an important ability to have when you move on into employment.

The tutors made the modules stimulating and absorbing. We didn’t just spend our time listening to lectures. As well as the group discussions I mentioned, there were case studies and simulations to work on in teams. These helped to embed the theory we were being taught – and explore how it can be applied in real life business situations.

One of my favourite modules was Management of Change. This was a completely new area for me and our tutor made it engaging, fascinating and fun. I learned how to challenge myself and get out of my comfort zone to develop innovative new solutions to problems. I would say it gave us a chance to re-invent ourselves and see the possibilities of who we can be"

When I first decided to study for MSc in Programme and Project Management, I definitely didn’t think that it would be anything like this subject. I gained my first degree in Finance, Accounting and Marketing in Bangladesh and I originally planned to continue my studies in finance and qualify as a Chartered Financial Analyst. A friend who had studied at WMG recommended the programme as he thought it would be perfect for me.

Shaila Mona 2

Gradually, I realised how valuable the course could be to my career. In Bangladesh, few project managers have actually studied the subject. Most are promoted into project management roles. I felt that an up-to-date knowledge of the latest developments in the field would help me to stand out in the job market.

Before coming to Warwick, it was really useful to be able to talk to members of staff and students so I could get an insight into both the university and the course itself. I have to admit that leaving home and family for the first time to travel across the world was a scary experience. I had spoken to a number of people on the university’s Facebook page and they were very helpful and supportive, so I already felt part of the Warwick community. One person even offered to come and pick me up at the airport which was very kind. It all helped me to quickly feel comfortable and relaxed.

The campus was another surprise. I had always lived in a city and here I was suddenly surrounded by green space and trees. Being is such a peaceful environment was a huge change for me and thought it was wonderful! Now that I am back in my city, I sometimes miss being in Warwick, specially my little room in Claycroft.

My year there did change me as a person. I didn’t just gain a thorough knowledge of all aspects of project and programme management, but an understanding of how I could improve the way an organisation works and make a real impact on its success.

When I returned to Bangladesh, I was offered a teaching role and I am now a full-time Lecturer in Management at the North South University, where I studied for my first degree. My time at Warwick inspired me to go into teaching – I try to encourage the same participatory atmosphere we had at WMG, and instill an ‘I can do it’ attitude in people. It’s thoroughly rewarding and I’m enjoying the experience very much.

This may seem like an unusual career choice, but I want to develop my skills further and it is useful to be working in an academic environment. I am not sure where my future will take me, but I do know that what I gained during my year at WMG will be a firm foundation for my career progression.”