This short chat is from interview 27 of the Bangladeshi Perspective with Mir Muhtadi Faiaz.
A bit about Mir Muhtadi Faiaz:
From Jhenidah Cadet College to being an International Scholar at the University of British Columbia, Mir Muhtadi Faiaz has an amazing story to tell. He joined UBC in 2014 with the prestigious ‘International Leader of Tomorrow Award’ which provides full ride scholarship to 20-25 promising young leaders. Ever since he went on to be awarded a number of accolades including Trek Excellence Scholarship which is offered to the top 5% of undergraduate students at UBC Vancouver. Before graduating from UBC in 2019, Faiaz was also actively involved in various co-curricular activities and societies like UBC Debate Club, Global Scholars Network, Journal of Economics and the Journal of International Affairs. It is to be mentioned that Faiaz represented UBC Debate Society in six inter-varsity tournaments. In addition to undertaking a number of projects, Faiaz contributed to some publications with one being published in the International Conference on Sustainable Development 2019, Harvard Medical School.
In summer 2019, Faiaz worked at the United Nations Secretariat where he used his knowledge of policy and global affairs to support the initiatives of the UN Department of Operational Support. Previously, he took part in consulting projects such as with Deloitte on ‘Future of Work’. Faiaz has also worked with Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) where he conducted ethnographic surveys and assisted in designing a RCT to measure the impact of an intervention aimed at decreasing seasonal poverty in Bangladesh. In UBC Global Lounge, Faiaz initiated a new series of weekly professional development workshops aimed at enabling the personal and professional growth of 500+ student members. Currently, he is working in the municipal government at the Town of Hinton, as part of the Alberta municipal internship program, which aims to train future policy-makers in Canada via hands-on training and mentorship by senior municipal professionals. Faiaz enjoys a wide variety of experiences from meeting new people, visiting new places and learning about different cultures and their histories to running long distances and hiking beautiful trails. Visit his blog The Curious Commentator to know more about what he has to say.
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Seeam: What was the most early on important part of your resume that got you here?
Faiaz: My experience at Jhenidah Cadet College (JCC) and with my project ‘Educate Bangladesh Foundation’ after I graduated from JCC.
Seeam: What was the most early on important part NOT on your resume that got you here?
Faiaz: Having the mindset of trying. Graduating from Cadet College, similar to all my peers, I also aimed for getting into a top public university in Bangladesh and I did prepare and got accepted into IBA (Institute of Business Administration), University of Dhaka and IUT (Islamic University of Technology). But I also took the SAT and TOEFL, and applied to some US and Canadian universities with the mindset – ‘why not try?’ The same was true in whatever I did on the side – community projects, starting my blog, starting a podcast, etc.
Seeam: What is a book(s)/movie that influenced you a lot?
Faiaz: The book that comes to my mind is Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. The book was full of inspiring quotes such as – “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
Seeam: What’s one weird habit that you have that you think is great?
Faiaz: Long distance running! I picked up my love for running from cadet college and since then, I have done 10K and half-marathons. Running regularly helps me immensely mentally. I think it is a great way of disconnecting with the world and focusing on my own mind.
Seeam: What is one apparent failure that set you up on a successful path?
Faiaz: In cadet college, I studied science (Physics, Chemistry, Biology) but I failed to find enjoyment in learning. Although I got good grades, it was often because of practice and memorization. But this lack of fun in learning pushed me to find my interest in economics, political science and policy.
Seeam: What’s one advice/philosophy that changed your life?
Time is the most precious thing we have.Mir Muhtadi Faiaz
Seeam: What is one time investment that you consider your best?
Faiaz: Sleeping. I realized the importance of sleeping increasingly, as I went through my university years. It is incredible how well you can function when you have the sleep you need.
Seeam: What is one monetary investment that you consider your best?
Faiaz: Buying my Surface Pro, which is still the most expensive thing I own. I have to spend an unhealthy amount of time working on my laptop, hence I did not compromise in getting a durable and light companion.
Seeam: What do you do when you can’t focus/feel overwhelmed?
Faiaz: Go for running or listening to a podcast. If I am not motivated to do anything, I go to a restaurant and eat good food.
Seeam: What drives you to do good work every day when you wake up?
Faiaz: The pursuit of meaning. I often struggle with the idea that my life can pass by without making any positive impact on the world or people around me. I find meaning by creating that positive impact in everyday life, however small it may be.
Seeam: What is one-advice that you’d give to a student looking to enter your field?
Be bold and take chances. If you have always wanted to do something like start a project or a club or a blog, do it! We often fear people’s judgement, but the truth is, you only start living your own life once you stop caring about how people judge you!Mir Muhtadi Faiaz
Seeam: If people wanted to reach you, what is the best way?
Seeam: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Faiaz: Working for a government or international organization, in the public policy field. Or, running my own media company.
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This interview was transribed by: Fateen Tahseen Alam
Fateen Tahseen Alam is a 1st year student at the University of Dhaka studying Mass Communication and Journalism, and is passionate about promoting “Empowerment through ideas and skills, Sustainability through empowerment”. He is an ardent supporter of professional development in communities around him. Email him at email@example.com to express opinions, requests and compliments.
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