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August 16, 2011 2:50 pm

Ten Questions - Alia Nurmohamed

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aliia nurmohamed

Alia Nurmohamed: "You can never have enough good advice"

Alia Nurmohamed is an MBA student at Warwick Business School in the UK. Prior to this she studied at McGill University in Canada and worked as an equities analyst.

In her spare time, Ms Nurmohamed enjoys reading Japanese and Russian literature and learning about new cultures.

1. When did you know you wanted to study for an MBA?

While I was working in Prague, I realised that I wanted to take some time out just to learn and feed my academic interests. As much as learning from experience is essential, pure theoretical teaching sharpens your ability to make sense of the seemingly chaotic experience that the business world really is.

2. What is the best piece of advice given to you by a teacher?

I’m still searching for this. Most advice I have received has not been given per se, it has been demonstrated to me. At various times, I have needed to be shown different things: to believe in myself, to admit I’ve made a mistake and move on, never to be afraid to ask questions and the value of perseverance and self-reflection among others. You can never have enough good advice.

3. What academic achievement are you most proud of?

Getting an A in Prof Pierre Ruiz’s derivatives class in my undergraduate degree, he struck terror in us all.

4. What is your biggest lesson learnt?

Failure is not important in itself. It’s what you do with it that counts.

5. What is the worst job you have ever had?

Working as a cashier in a craft store. Ironically, one of my favourite jobs was working as a cashier in a record store.

6. How do you deal with male-dominated environments?

In 2011, gender is now mostly of no consequence, you are who you are and being genuine is appreciated irrespective of whom you are dealing with. That being said, I do feel there is a glass ceiling in male-dominated environments. Josef Ackermann’s statement that higher levels of women in executive positions would make the workplace “prettier and more colourful” says it all. Only time will diminish this antiquated attitude. In the meantime, we as intelligent and talented women need to keep bombarding such men with the outstanding quality of our work and ignore any taunting.

7. Who is your ideal professor?

Andrew Lahde, founder of the hedge fund, Lahde Capital Management, who dissolved his company at the height of the real estate bubble and wrote a public letter to the investment community effectively stating that greed has its limits and that building a better society is more important than adding that extra zero to your salary.

8. What is the last book you read?

The Big Short by Michael Lewis

9. What is your favourite business book?

The Money Game by Adam Smith. Even though Smith wrote his book on the investment community in the 1960s, what he says about human beings always holds true. Ultimately, business is all about people and the way they think.

10. Where would be your favourite place to study?

I would love to study at the Frick Collection in New York City. It is steps away from Central Park for a perfect break, Turners and Vermeers line the walls, and it is furnished with beautiful 18th century French styles. Any room will do.

Compiled by Charlotte Clarke

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