Our students from Azerbaijan
Students and graduates from your country share their experiences of living and studying with us.
Student name: Emin Guliyev
Course title: MSc System Engineering with IT Applications
Year of graduation: 2004
Current employer: Self-employed Managing Director of ITAS
Emin is a successful managing director of ITAS, and is using the transferable skills gained in his master’s degree in his business. When asked to summarise his time here, he says it’s ‘the best year I’ve had in my life’.
Tell me more about your actual degree and your coursework in the School of Computer Sciences. What did you find easy or difficult?
Studying systems engineering was very important to me because I realised that the 21st century is really an IT century. Businesses now are IT businesses and every one of them is trying to involve some form of IT at the moment, whether it’s in banks or education.
The number of people involved in large businesses is huge and there should be technology available for that. Systems engineering helped me understand how to work and manage that technology. In the higher education company that I am in, we use a lot of forms and networks, so my knowledge in that aspect is very useful.
What sort of social life did you have in Cardiff?
There are a lot of student societies in Cardiff and social life is generally good, especially in the Students' Union. I made a lot of friends and we met up a lot to play football and watch movies. That was interesting.
Tell me about your job now and your day to day responsibilities.
I am one of the managing directors and founders of ITAS group, Azerbaijan. It stands for the International Training and Study group. We are currently expanding our training and partnering relationships with several countries and universities.
We are trying to prepare students for studying abroad, mainly in countries like USA and UK that have different cultures and requirements. We prepare them so that they go to their country prepared with adequate language skills. My daily responsibilities include managing personnel. We’ve got just over 25 staff working here that I manage directly.
I also deal with students and partner institutions. On the side, I work as a consultant in several projects for companies, government and non-government organisations as an IT expert.
As managing director, what are the biggest challenges you’ve had to face over the past year?
Promoting the idea of studying abroad. For many years people didn’t know about the opportunities that were available during and after graduating from a good university. We are now trying our best to attend education fairs to further educate them. Another challenge was explaining to students why there was a need to study abroad. People don't realise that once you obtain a good education from a good university, the opportunities and contacts that follow are just great.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
The most enjoyable thing is helping students and families figure out university and applying to it. I enjoy talking to people in conferences and at education fairs when I meet students from all over the place. I enjoy explaining to them what studying abroad is like.
How would you comment on your overall time spent here? How would you summarise it?
Perfect. The best year I’ve had in my life. Very interesting, very full, no time for anything, so the master’s I did was a wonderful year. I was dead busy. I mean, I had no free time during my studies. Even the holidays was spent on coursework and lab work. Of course that sounds tough, but it definitely helped. You need to struggle in order to achieve things.
What important lessons did you gain in Cardiff, academic or otherwise, do you carry with you until today?
Everything I learnt in Cardiff, I use almost every day in my business – the technology, communication skills and my improved English skills too.
What would you say to a prospective student thinking about coming to Cardiff?
Cardiff city is very beautiful, in my opinion. It’s not too large and it’s not too small. It is a city as a city should be. The infrastructure of the city and University is very well incorporated, in a sense that the university is right in the heart of the city. I’d advise students from all over the world to experience studying in Cardiff University. Even if it’s for a short course, one should see and experience Cardiff.
Is there a specific advice you’d like to give Azerbaijani students?
For students from Azerbaijan, my advice generally would be to be well-prepared because studying in the UK is very different. I would advise them to come to Cardiff to study because it is a comfortable place to live. It is friendly and you can find students from all over the world. For me, Cardiff is one of the best places to study and it’s becoming very popular now.