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Celebrating success with courage and collaboration - Business School Awards 2019

Guest speaker Nadir Abrar

Over 180 Business School students and staff attended our annual Awards ceremony on Thursday 11 April. Hosted at the Attenborough Centre for the Arts (ACCA) on campus, the event opened with an uplifting performance from the student Sussex Show Choir.

Steven McGuire, President and Dean of the Business School, thanked everyone for their hard work and contributions to a very busy and demanding term and year to date. The theme of this year’s awards was courage and collaboration, two of the University’s values from the Strategic Framework 2025. Hosts Farai Jena, Rashaad Shabab, Yik Wei Choo (Angel) and Sofia Usman gave examples of how staff and students demonstrate these qualities in their teaching, studies and extra-curricular activities. Professor Adam Tickell, Vice Chancellor, Professor Saul Becker, Provost and Deputy Vice Chancellor, and Professor Kelly Coate, Pro Vice Chancellor for Education and Students, were amongst those handing awards to the winners.

Special guest speaker, Business School alumnus Nadir Abrar (BSc Accounting and Finance 2016) shared his inspirational story of how courage and collaboration has helped him get to where he is today. From the courage it took, as a young Asian Muslim, to settle in a white community when he arrived as a child with his family in the UK from Pakistan; to developing strong ties with that local community, who offered great support to the family in the face of adversity and racist attack. Along with his parents, Nadir cited Nobel Prize winner Malala Yousafzai as role models for showing strength, courage, curiosity and compassion to combat hostility and threat.

Of his time at Sussex, Nadir said: “I always felt within Sussex we were a microcosm of society. Whatever problems were going on in the world we were stronger when we were together learning from each other. This is an environment where more than anything you can challenge yourself to be more curious.”

Since graduating, Nadir has developed his career at Barclays,and is now Propositions Manager designing banking solutions for 1 million SMEs.He applied his experience of courage and collaboration to succeed at the Barclay’s interview assessment centre, when he felt intimidated competing against other, more highly qualified candidates and was thinking “what the hell am I doing here?”

Nadir explained: “I had two choices. I could either react with negativity and regress within myself. Or I could react with positivity and curiosity. I chose option two and spent the next four hours speaking to every single applicant. A week later Barclays called me and offered me the job. They said that in the group exercises I was ‘the glue that joined the ideas together’, I guess due to my relative familiarity with everyone.”

Nadir ended his talk with a message to all Business School students to maintain courage: “If Malala could do it in the face of extreme adversity, if my immigrant parents could do in the face of extreme unfamiliarity, if I could do it when I had absolutely no right to, then I am certain that so can all of you!”

You can view the full list of Business School winners and photos from the Awards evening here.

Posted on behalf of: University of Sussex Business School
Last updated: Tuesday, 16 April 2019