Crafting the EDGE: Approaching Uncertainty with Determination
By Aqib Rahman
May 29, 2021
In just two months, the environment in America has completely transformed, leaving many to face uncertainty. There are 40 million Americans that have lost their jobs, with an unemployment rate of 14.7%. Many people have been distraught from layoffs, while others like me are recent graduates just entering the job market. As we now start reopening and restarting our economy, we must stay determined to prosper.
From a young age, I was told that to succeed I had to show respect, compassion, and empathy. I strive to live a life of meaning for myself and others around me. I strive to show kindness, respect, and concern for my family, peers, and even strangers. I also maintain a sense of appreciation for the world around me and have a sense of humor. My journey has had its ups and downs. I embraced challenges along the road and celebrated when I solved them.
When deciding where to attend university, I made a list of the three things most important to me.
1.) I wanted to go to a university with a diverse student body in a metropolitan city. This would widen my global outlook, learn about different cultures, and understand how people think.
2.) I wanted an aspect of experiential learning as I had all through my life at school. My high school’s motto was “Experience Teaches,” and it is something that has stuck with me to this day. Learning outside the classroom walls has made me see the impact my learning can have on the world.
3.) I wanted experienced professors that would educate me with real, first-hand knowledge of business management.
I started my journey at Northeastern four years ago in London, England, as part of the NU.in Program. Since then, I have completed my co-op at my family business. Working as a Human Resources Coordinator, I worked directly to assist the Human Resources Director with a wide range of projects related to HR compliance, recruiting, onboarding/orientation, and employee benefits. This co-op was designed to be both educational and practical.
In this position, I learned how to take skills that I acquired in college and apply them in a professional setting. I gained a better understanding of the role that Human Resources can play in a commercial environment and become better prepared to work in the arena of human resources and the business sector. I had the opportunity to travel to many of our offices and meet wonderful people around the world. I was able to bring my knowledge from class and share it with my co-workers.
Capstone Course: My “Make Your Case” Experience
The Strategy in Action (STRT 4501) consulting case project worked as an excellent investment in my journey towards my vision. I was able to see how other family businesses operate.
The client, NIRU Diamonds, a supplier of custom diamond solutions for watches and jewelry, presented a challenge of how to best remain competitive in the mature diamond industry. The competition in the diamond and jewelry industry grew in intensity, with bigger players undercutting prices and outproducing others in supply. Ranjeet Barmecha, Chairman of the Board and CEO, stated the future revenue projections were not up to the industry’s standards. The company strategically planned to expand the revenue stream through the Swiss luxury watch industry in Geneva, however, they needed a way to differentiate to remain competitive moving forward.
Having a team member connected with the company, helped me relate on a personal level. I saw the dialogue between generations. I also saw how suggestions can be appropriately implemented. Reading deep into the history of the company and the recommendations we made, provided me with examples of what my own family can do. Mainly, I connected with how both my family business and NIRU are in a mature phase. NIRU had to make tough decisions to remain competitive. The suggestion we made, I hope, will help NIRU make those decisions.
My family has also started to investigate expanding and diversifying our business. Having diversified investments and business will help create a sustainable income source. Our recommendation to NIRU on creating a new product line has established the foundations of an action plan that I can use for future projects. Furthermore, this project has validated that I truly desire to work in my family business. I want to embrace the challenges ahead and create what NIRU has. I want to work with my family and build on what they have started.
How My Personal Philosophies Have Guided Me Through Uncertainty:
At Northeastern, I met terrific peers and professors that have shaped who I am today. These unique experiences have made me appreciate my time in college and have prepared me for my professional life ahead.
I approach uncertainty with determination while being resourceful and creative in the face of challenges and change. I value risk-taking and understand failure is part of the process. I test new ideas and learn from any mistakes that I might make. Creativity will help enable problem-solving through thoughts and perspectives. Staying creative leads to high-performance and effectiveness.
Collaborate effectively and listen to the perspectives of others. Transparency will encourage open communication with people and solicit feedback. This trust is the foundation for building strong culture leadership with teams and individuals. Building trust will help influence family, friends, and co-workers’ support, and acceptance of the change.
Show respect, compassion, and empathy to make a positive difference in the workspace and the world around me. I want to grow and expand on the work my parents have started. I saw the struggles and dedication my parents have put into the family business, and I want to help bring it to the next level.
Build honest relationships with a sense of purpose and passion in the work that is being done. While on co-op, I was able to see how each office had its own culture while also following the core values and principles of the company. I talked and interviewed employees to get a better understanding of what they personally and professionally wanted to achieve by working at Norvic. Understanding the people of the company is valuable to the success of the business.
Appreciate different cultures, backgrounds, and traditions of others to learn and grow from the experiences. Being comfortable with working with others will help me succeed in business and creating networks.
As we all now face a truly uncertain time, these personal philosophies have kept me honest and determined to succeed. Knowing the challenges, I must take on whatever comes up with a clear head and always remember my goals. There will be no returning on track, but only creating a path forward in this new world. My time at Northeastern has truly prepared me for my professional life. I know with the experiences I had, ranging from the many courses, projects, and lectures, I will be able to apply all of them to my work.
About the author:
Aqib Rahman is a recent graduate from Northeastern University’s D’Amore-McKim School of Business with a concentration in Management.
After graduation, Aqib has started working at his family office focusing on new real estate development projects in the greater New York Metropolitan area.