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School: Beaconhouse School, Karachi, Pakistan
Studied: Cambridge O Levels in Mathematics and Additional Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics, Accounting, English Language, Urdu as a First Language, Pakistan Studies, Islamic Studies; Cambridge International AS & A Levels in Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics, General Studies, Urdu
Went on to: National University of Sciences & Technology (NUST), Pakistan, BE Degree in Electrical Engineering; Fulbright Scholarship, Arizona State University, M.S. in Electrical Engineering
Career path: Electrical engineering consultant, based in Denver, Colorado, USA
Tell us about your education – what subjects did you study at school and university, and why?
I attended the Beaconhouse School in Karachi, Pakistan, where I studied a wide variety of Cambridge O Level and Cambridge International AS & A Level subjects. For my A Levels I chose Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry (in addition to two compulsory subjects) as I knew that I wanted to study engineering at university. My only decision was whether to study chemical or electrical engineering. The Physics syllabus helped me decide by showing me that electrical engineering could lead to many career paths, in sectors such as power and energy, robotics and automation, or communications.
After school, I gained a place at the National University of Sciences & Technology (NUST), which is considered one of Pakistan’s leading universities, with a renowned electrical engineering faculty, and as a result I was able to follow a variety of courses, and explore many different aspects of engineering.
Did your Cambridge International qualifications help your university application, and your undergraduate studies?
Cambridge International qualifications allowed me to pass my undergraduate admissions test with ease, to pick up mathematical concepts faster than my peers, and to successfully apply my knowledge to new contexts. The subject knowledge gained during my Cambridge International A Levels has also proved invaluable, as has the Cambridge method of breaking down complex concepts in order to understand them.
You also successfully applied for a prestigious Fulbright Scholarship to study in the USA - tell us more
After graduating from NUST, I spent two years working for an energy company in Pakistan before deciding to applying for a Fulbright Scholarship. This is a very prestigious academic award, and also an immersive cultural exchange programme which allows one to meet people from all around the world and study with an international cohort. I applied because I wanted to deepen my knowledge of engineering and expand my skillset, and as a result I moved from Pakistan to Arizona State University to study for an MS in Electrical Engineering.
I found the graduate school experience intensive, challenging and rewarding in equal measure. I was able to push the limits of my learning, to meet my academic goals, and help the wider community through my involvement with the charity Engineers Without Borders USA.
After completing your Scholarship, what happened next?
Upon completion of my graduate study, I came back to Pakistan to work for a few years at an electric utility, and then returned to the US in early 2019. I am currently an electrical engineering consultant based in Denver, Colorado. I work on federal, state and municipal infrastructure projects for clients, designing water treatment and power distribution projects, and undertaking electrical system studies for large scale power distribution networks. I’ve also helped empower rural communities by improving their access to power and water, something I am keen to continue.
Given your experience, would you recommend Cambridge International qualifications as a route to university?
I am always keen to encourage younger students to pursue engineering as a career, and I am happy to recommend Cambridge International qualifications. In STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) Cambridge International learning outcomes, meticulously detailed in every syllabus, enable students to excel. You are encouraged to go beyond textbook concepts, think in multiple ways, and visualize new scenarios. While teachers and textbooks remain essential, Cambridge International qualifications also encourage critical thinking, experimentation and exploration – all of which will help a student in their future studies and career.