The Executive MBA gave Raziff Sharil a fresh perspective on global business and allowed him to pursue a new career in management research.
Tell me about your background and why you decided to study the Executive MBA?
I completed my undergraduate degree in Business Information Systems at RMIT and then spent nine years working as a management consultant in the Oil and Gas industry.
During the final year of my degree I landed a summer internship through the RMIT Careers service and believe that opportunity, combined with the skills I learnt in class, opened the doors to my career. My professional work has taken me in directions I can only dream off, from travelling around the world to being responsible for critical business process improvement projects.
Unfortunately the Oil and Gas industry went into a downturn in 2015 and my role was made redundant. That’s when I decided to return to RMIT to pursue my Executive MBA.
You recently took part in a Social Business Creation competition in Montreal; can you tell me more about that?
This was the highlight of my postgraduate study experience. It was really satisfying and challenging to apply what I’d learned in class to the real world. The competition is run by HEC Montreal, a top ranking university in
Canada, and focuses on creating a social enterprise start-up. It provides participants with the right tools and guidance to launch their start-up in the real world.
Our business slogan was Using Street Art to Help People on the Street. We presented a solid business case and won the first two rounds of the competition which meant we were able to participate in the final round in Montreal.
Once there, we were put to the test through augmented team work as well as exposure to existing social enterprises in Montreal. This gave us a lens into real world social business creation and the different challenges it faces. Other countries participating in the final round included Brazil, Singapore, Spain, Canada, Mexico and the United States.
While we did not win the competition (we finished fourth), it allowed us to experience creating a start-up and to network with business students from around the world. I would definitely encourage other MBA students to participate if they get the chance.
How do you see this experience helping you in your future career?
The competition gave me the necessary skills and resilience that are needed to initiate and run a start-up. It was an exciting, chaotic and memorable journey that I see as a value-add towards obtaining my Executive MBA.
From a consulting career perspective, it has given me a different outlook on business which will allow me to better relate to potential clients or customers.
The competition required you to work with students from around the world; what was that like?
It was eye-opening, invaluable and extremely satisfying. Just being able to compare notes on everything from how business cultures differ within each country to the way people socialise outside of work was worth the plane ticket alone.
One of the activities we did in Montreal was a treasure hunt where teams from two different countries were put together and sent to find point tokens hidden around the city. We were paired with a Spanish team and we hit it off straight away. We divided the challenge among us and ended up winning the treasure hunt as overall point champion.
What are your career aspirations?
I am intrigued with management research and where it could take me and am currently pursuing an opportunity that may form the basis of my PhD. Whatever path I take I am confident that the process of exploring different ideas and tying them together will help to make me a better management consultant in the future.
What advice do you have for students who are considering postgraduate study?
I would pass on the advice that my mentor gave me when I told her I had been made redundant from my management consulting role. She said to ‘seek the experience that you want even if it is challenging.’ I took that on board and went back to study after nearly a decade in the workforce, knowing full well that adapting back to university life would be a challenge in itself.
Completing postgraduate study has allowed me to pursue some unique experiences and now I am looking to begin a new journey with management research. None of this would have been possible without the encouraging and supportive environment that RMIT provided.