Q&A with Maliha Qadri, MILR'09
Maliha is a second year international graduate student in the MILR Program with a Human Resources and Organizations Concentration.
Tell me about yourself and how you ended up with an interest in Human Resources?
My name is Maliha Qadri and I am a graduate MILR student from Pakistan. I grew up in Karachi, Pakistan and went to Lahore University of Management Sciences for my undergrad, where I got a Bachelor degree in Economics with a minor in Math. After graduating I returned home and got a job at HBL – Pakistan’s largest private bank where I worked for two years. I was hired as a Management Trainee and was rotated through various departments within the Bank and that’s where I discovered my interest in HR.
Why did you decide to come to the ILR School at Cornell?
After completing a four year undergraduate program, I was sure I would never have to study ever again. Entering the corporate world was the only thing on my agenda. However one fine day two years later, with a lot of encouragement from family and friends, I decided I was ready for Grad School. I applied for the Fulbright Scholarship and got it! I had decided to pursue a graduate degree in HR and started searching for top programs in the US for Human Resource studies. All the literature said that the ILR School was the best school for this, but I was looking for a specific HR focus and the name of the ILR School threw me off at first. With my luck, I discovered that a friend from back home was enrolled in the MILR program at the time. I looked her up and after talking with her about the program I realized that ILR had a very solid concentration in HR and that the MILR program was perfectly suited to what I had in mind. I must admit the MILR Program with the highest ranking in the area of study seemed like a long shot, but I decided to try my luck. The ILR School was definitely my top choice. Plus Cornell is a very big name back home, one of the reasons being that it is an Ivy League school and one of “those Universities” where only the smartest kids from school end up, so I was over the moon when I got accepted.
Tell me a little bit about your experience at Cornell and the US in general? How is that different from Pakistan?
The ethnic diversity and size of the international student body at Cornell is very impressive, especially in the graduate schools. The campus is beautiful and the faculty are very approachable. I also love being four hours away from New York City, because it is so easy to get away for a weekend. I’m from a very big and busy city and so it took me a while to adjust to the peace and quite of Ithaca. However, much to my own surprise I’ve started enjoying time to myself and it is nice not being woken up by noisy cars and buses. Also, back home my life is very different as I am always surrounded by people- be it family, friends or colleagues, but at Cornell and in the US in general, I’ve really learnt to appreciate ‘doing my own thing’. As for the people, everyone is so friendly and helpful that it makes it very easy to get acclimatized. I can say some of my stereotypes have changed.
You mentioned all the international students there are at Cornell. Have you had the chance to interact with many other international students?
I’ve made so many good friends here too! Before coming to Cornell I had never really interacted with people from East Asian cultures so it has been great learning about them and trying their authentic cuisines. I have made many plans with my friends to some day visit them in their home countries and experience all that I have heard so much about. I really want them to come visit me in Pakistan too so I can show them what my country and culture is all about and remove any stereotypes they may have.
What do you miss about home?
Food! I’ve actually started cooking for the first time in my life. Apart from food, I miss my nephews, pets, the beach, driving aimlessly with friends, and of course my family.
What are your plans after graduation?
Time has flown by. I only have one semester to go after which I’m going to return home and look for a job in Pakistan. I hope to go back and do something noteworthy by applying what I have learnt here at the ILR School. I can safely say that this has been one of the best experiences of my life – one that has shaped me in more ways than I could have imagined. I would recommend it to anyone who gets the chance.
Written by Blair Lapres, BSILR'09
- Q&A with Maliha Qadri, MILR'09