2019 Int’l Alumni Essay Contest 3rd Prize Essay
How KDI School Has Shaped Me to Become Who I Am
HALEEM, Ibrahim Abdul Razzag(2012 MDP, Maldives)
Let me begin my essay with a brief introduction on how my career began. After completion of my Advanced Level studies in 1998, I joined the President’s Office as an Assistant Secretary. My main responsibilities were proof reading letters and other documents. In addition, I undertook all the other secretarial works as well. I contributed my services in the President’s Office for six (06) years before I left the job for undergraduate studies.
In order to enhance my career and to move ahead in the corporate ladder, I pursued a Diploma in Information Technology while being employed. It was my vision to study even further. However, I was not in a position to fund on my own for the further studies. Hence, I wished to try my luck out by applying for a Scholarship. It was a long journey. I submitted my application to nine (09) different scholarship programs and was not able to get selected for any. But my determination grew ever stronger. I obtained a loan and went to Bangalore, India in 2006. Thus, I completed my Undergraduate studies in BSc. Statistics, Mathematics and Computer Science. On return after my graduation, in 2009, I joined the President’s Office as an Assistant Director and was assigned to monitor and evaluate all government developmental projects. I was promoted to the post of Director General of Policy Office in 2011 – two (02) years after I rejoined.
I always believed that, to accomplish high in life, continuous learning, hard work and commitment were the key ingredients. Hence, I decided it was time for me to attain further studies. I applied for Australian Development Scholarships and KDI School of Public Policy and Management for my Postgraduate studies. This time my luck had taken a spin. I was shortlisted and selected for both of the Scholarships.
After much deliberation and thorough reviews, I decided I would go ahead with the Scholarship from KDI School. Fundamental reason for choosing South Korea over Australia was that South Korea had a great history of rapid development by implementing great policies and good governance.
I studied Master of Development Policy in KDI School – South Korea. When I recap my student life, it only reminds me of the fond memories and great experiences of school life. I gained in-depth knowledge on many areas and aspects in terms of academics and life. I would say it was a really eye-opening experience.
I would highlight on the comprehensive syllabus and the course content. I got the opportunity to learn a lot about the Korean history and culture. Furthermore, the course content comprised of issues related to Development Policies, Economics, Housing and Urban Development, Climate Change Policies, Real Estate Business and Market Policies. In addition to studying extensive syllabus, I treasure the unique experiences I gained by working at KDI School, with a multicultural workforce. I got the opportunity to contribute my services in various areas in the School, ranging from Dormitory Assistant, Class Assistant to Administrative Assistant.
Having learnt Korean work environment, culture, ethics and the work experience I gained at KDI School, it was very helpful for my career after the studies. Furthermore, as the International Student Representative, I was assisting International Students on various matters.
It was truly a rewarding experience I had at KDI School. At the end of my Master’s Program, I was given an award for the Community Service. I was told that it was the first ever award of acknowledgement that was awarded by the school.
I joined President’s Office at the Policy Department after I returned. About six (06) months to my service I was appointed to head the Corporate Developmental Secretariat. This was a huge accomplishment in my career as I had to directly report to the President. Few months later, I was appointed as the CEO of Maldives Transport and Contracting Company (MTCC). My services continued for about two (02) years. My contributions to my country continued at the Policy-making Level in other Public Corporations and State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs). After serving as the CEO of MTCC, I also served as the MD of Maldives Road Development Corporation (MRDC) and then CEO of Maldives Ports Limited (MPL).
I consider myself very lucky especially after accomplishing my Postgraduate studies at KDI School. Because I was given the opportunity to serve my nation at the biggest SOEs in the country.
I believe that the knowledge and the experience I gained from KDI School helped to transform me to become a leader. It helped me to practically apply what I learnt during the program.
At KDI School, in addition to the courses studied, I got many opportunities to participate in various workshops organized jointly by KDI School, World Bank, ADB and many other institutions. Knowledge I gained from these workshops, my Master’s program and the work experience were crucial factors that helped me shape and transform the Companies I worked to bring out positive outcomes such as higher rate of employee satisfaction and constructive net profit in record figures.
At this point I would like to emphasize on how my education and experiences at KDI School helped with my career prospects. Being able to work as the CEO of the SOEs, it gave me the privilege to work on projects that had direct impact on the country’s economic and social development. I cannot deny that this is the biggest reward I gained during the past few years.
To have a vivid understanding of my career developments, I would elaborate on the above mentioned SOEs. MTCC is the country’s first public listed Company, major share from the government and is the largest government contractor, responsible for construction of harbors, land reclamation, building construction, establishing water and sewerage systems. They also trade in the marine sector and is the largest public transport provider in land as well as at sea. During the two years I worked as the CEO, my team managed to reach a net profit of USD 10.1million from USD 1.68million. (USD 1 = 15.42 Maldivian Rufiyaa)
Construction and maintenance of roads in the islands and manufacturing of building blocks are the extents under MRDC which is a 100% state owned Company. When I joined as MD, the company was having a loss of USD 3.37million. But within one year the company made net profit for the first time in its history.
Having a look at MPL, I got the opportunity to lead the dedicated team of more than 1,800 employees at the gateway to the Maldivian Economy. MPL was the only commercial container port operator in the Maldives. The company reached a net profit of over USD 14.78million for the first time in 2018.
Noting down details on the accomplishments from my studies, I would say being able to establish and implement result-oriented, performance-based business plans with performance indicators to achieve the targets have motivated the employees to work harder as a team with dedication and commitment. I applied the best work ethics, practices good governance mechanisms that I learnt at KDI School to bring inspiration to employees, to bring the best out of them, to boost their productivity. By establishing performance monitoring systems and evaluation mechanisms it assisted me to introduce Employee Bonus Schemes and Reward Systems based on the employee performances. Hence, the knowledge I gained at KDI School and my achievements as a corporate leader are highly correlated.
Before concluding my essay, I would like to leave a message to all my readers. We all need to believe that every problem has a solution. It is crucial to find the right solution to the problem at hand. To achieve more in career and life, we need positive attitude to be embodied in ourselves. Never to have a “can’t do”, or “won’t do” attitude but to have a “can do”, “will do” attitude.