Student Life

Meet the Microsoft Engineer Who Studied Abroad and Shares Her Journey While Being a Mother of Two

Published by Afterschool.my on Nov 20, 2020, 10:04 am

My name is Fatin Fatihah Zahari and I am customer engineer based in Malaysia and part of a global team at Microsoft. I am also a wife, mother of two and a proud postgraduate degree holder.

All of this would have been for naught without the University of Warwick.

I had two objectives when choosing a university to study at – to have quality education for myself, and a quality living space to live with my family.

In terms of quality education, the University of Warwick ticked all the boxes, from its global ranking to the satisfaction index.

My mission at the University of Warwick was to improve my business and financial acumen, as well as grab the opportunity to strengthen my technical knowledge. Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) was the only department in any university across the United Kingdom (UK) which offers such subjects with a balance of both mentioned. WMG really hooked me with its continuous support and proactive communication in making sure I had the best experience from the moment I received my conditional offer.

From my acceptance to starting my studies, the transition process was smooth. For someone who has never left her country to study in a foreign land, I did not feel as if I missed out on anything. I was always in the moment – welcomed and well informed. This was true as I started my courses right up to submitting of my dissertation; the education quality was worth every penny I saved prior to flying for the UK.

Today, I have lifelong relationships with the friends I have made at the faculty. In fact, I still keep bouncing back to my ex-lecturers for advice and recommendations on projects that I am currently working on at Microsoft!

From the facilities aspect, everything at the University of Warwick was well prepared – from the notes, games and material that would help me to learn productively. The café was my favourite since we got to have a free flow of coffee every day from the coffee machines installed at the faculty. Pair that with the comfortable environment and various types of spaces to study, and it’s no wonder that I spent more than eight hours a day there without leaving for home since it was amazingly conducive for my readings. I did all that whilst I was pregnant – if that does not assure you how comfortable the facilities are, I don’t know what will!

Of course, there were a few struggles as finances and savings were my main issues. Despite that, I was given the opportunity to work with one of the faculty members soon after I gave birth which helped me prepare the necessities for my new-born son. The WMG Excellence Scholarship which was awarded directly also assisted me to pay off a certain percentage of the tuition fee. This scholarship has helped me to save money for other aspects such as accommodation and utilities to settle down comfortably in the UK. Feel free check out some of the support services offers for students, staff and parent/guardians!

If you’re interested to check out the Warwick Excellence Scholarship, click here. This scholarship, which awarded 10% to 50% tuition fee discount for your studies, is open to self-funded students commencing their study on full-time MSc programmes taught within the WMG department!

There are two options when a student chooses to study at the University of WarwickLeamington Spa or Coventry, and I chose the latter. This was simply because I learned that there are multiple options to commute via public transport such as the bus or train. My daily life revolved around the bus schedule which was never a disappointment since they were always on time. Because of that, I always had the time to stay longer in the city for sightseeing after a long week of classes before I continued on the walk back to my student accommodation.

My advice to prospective students is to choose academia life and facilities which cater to their needs, as every university offers unique experiences that includes location, estimated living expenses and culture. This will also affect the quality of life that you lead whilst you are studying there. In my case, I came with my husband. To add on to that, I had my son soon after I was done with my studies. My experience was amazing, and I made the best choice with the University of Warwick since it was supportive of both my study needs and well-being.

Studying at the University of Warwick has prepared me to be comfortable in unknown situations.

Other than the rigours of academics, I had the opportunity to participate in workshops and presentations which pushed me out of my comfort zone or, in other words, to be comfortable in going through change. Now that I work at Microsoft, I am comfortable with juggling several projects and initiatives that are core to my role, or chip into projects that require ideas from my curious mind. Whilst academics are expected from any university, it is the soft skills that I gained that empowered me to become a dynamic individual.

With the experience I have gained from Microsoft after a wonderful 20 months soon after finishing my studies, I plan to build myself up every day, and continue empowering leaders in Asia and across the world to achieve more!

I had my doubts when I was about to embark on the journey of pursuing a master’s degree in a foreign land. At the top of my mind, I was worried if the investment I made will not be worth it. I had also envisioned a future version of myself as I started my education journey.

However, I can proudly say that today, I am more than that. As someone who went through the journey, I advise you to trust your instincts.

There may be things that may worry you, but gaining quality education at WMG or the University of Warwick should not be one of them. Get out there and enrol today!

Check out Warwick’s courses today and be eligible for its scholarships!

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