I am a British-Iraqi entrepreneur and co-founder of two companies - Skrap and Byoot. Skrap is an online marketplace for construction hire services and materials, and Byoot is a residential property developer. I am responsible for the day-to-day leadership and general management of Skrap. Whilst at SOAS, I ran a number of societies, played for the SOAS football team, and organised and held the licence for TEDxSOAS. These experiences no doubt played a role in shaping my leadership, confidence and general management skills of people, operations and finances.
When people ask me what I enjoyed most about studying at SOAS, I have to say the people, the vibe and the culture. You meet people from all walks of life and hear stories of some phenomenal experiences. All in all, it’s a very close knit and active community that shares common values to better society and the world. SOAS is a prime environment to widen one's horizons and perspectives on a variety of issues, topics and debates.
I studied Economics and Chinese - and the lecturers across both faculties were incredible teachers and mentors - Professors Jan Toporowski, Song Lianyi, Lik Suen to name a few were phenomenal academics in their respective fields. I found the dual honours course invigorating, engaging different sides of the brains; doing micro-economic integration equations in the morning followed by writing an essay in Chinese in the afternoon. Understanding markets, general economic frameworks and financial modelling has always been a great asset in the business world.
Furthermore, my Chinese comes into play at times when negotiating a deal or investment. I also really enjoyed my year abroad in China, apart from studying and being fully immersed into Eastern culture, I also set up a business shifting solar panels from Beijing to Baghdad (unfortunately it didn't take off!).
As far as a fully comprehensive experience of academia, debate, culture, friendships and extra-curricular goes - SOAS is the place to be. The degree I achieved in Economics and Chinese has always been a big part of my journey, and I am glad I chose it (no regrets!). Economics will always provide a fundamental grounding in understanding the world better, and as for Chinese - well it's the future.
I have no doubt that the university will continue to produce world leaders across diplomacy, politics and business.