London Connection Q&A: Mai Mahmoud

Egyptian graduate Mai Mahmoud talks to Suraya Saleh about banking and finance, blogging and a better future for her country
Mai Mahmoud
"Be ready to sustain a high level of self-motivation and self-discipline": Mai Mahmoud
I’ve already recommended the programme to prospective students in Egypt, and now this is a good chance to recommend it to students everywhere

Tell us a bit about your background and interests.
I’m an Egyptian girl who has studied at an American high school and pursued her studies with a British University, while maintaining pride in her Egyptian identity. My interests are varied including reading, writing (both descriptive and analytical), making friendships with people from various backgrounds, and doing aerobics.

Why did you choose to study with the University of London International Programmes?
Since my high school years I’ve loved studying Economics and the University of London International Programmes (under the academic direction of LSE) provided me the opportunity of studying Economics and Finance with one of the top schools in the field while staying with my family in Cairo.

Are you working? Could you please tell us your job title and company
I’ve recently started working as a Teaching Assistant with the Arab Academy for Science and Technology (AAST).

What sparked your interest in Banking and Finance?
After studying for a Diploma in Economics I became more interested in studying the repercussions of the recent financial crisis on the banking sector, and a BSc in Banking and Finance has fulfilled this interest.  

What were the particular skills and insights that you gained from taking the programme?
Besides adding a lot to my knowledge, the University of London courses have increasingly challenged my analytical skills and argumentative abilities.

"I’ve particularly enjoyed participating in online discussions with fellow students from all over the world. The insights of each and every one of them has added to my thoughts and widened my perspective."

What was the best part about being a student of the University of London International Programmes?
I’ve particularly enjoyed participating in online discussions with fellow students from all over the world. The insights of each and every one of them has added to my thoughts and widened my perspective.

Are there any tips you would give to someone considering taking this degree?
Studying through the University of London International Programmes is not an easy job; be ready to sustain a high level of self-motivation and self-discipline.

You were studying during a lot of turmoil in Egypt during the revolution, did that affect your studies?
Surely the revolution’s events have interrupted my studies several times, since I live two roads away from Tahrir Square; however, the revolution’s spirit has stimulated me to work harder and contribute to my country’s better future. 

How did you stay motivated during your studies?
Simply by keeping an eye on the reward of my work – the immediate reward in this temporary life and the ultimate reward in the hereafter.

What or who inspires you?
Hmmm, this question doesn’t have one right answer; sometimes a few words said by a friend or a teacher can be very inspiring and stick in my mind forever. But, honestly, the teachings of Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) always inspire me the most.

"I’ve enjoyed everything about the blogging experience. I love exchanging thoughts and feelings with others and the International Programmes student blog has provided me with a suitable environment."

You were one of the International Programmes’ student bloggers, how did you enjoy that experience? Was it difficult coming up with new posts each month?
I’ve enjoyed everything about the blogging experience. I love exchanging thoughts and feelings with others and the International Programmes student blog has provided me with a suitable environment. Coming up with new ideas frequently isn’t so easy, but writing about events that I’ve lived and situations that have touched me has made it much easier.

How did you feel when you found out you had received a First Class degree?
I just felt so grateful.

Tell us about your plans for postgraduate study?
I’m planning to do my Master’s in the UK. Consequently, I’m working on my application for a scholarship to study MSc Finance and Economics at LSE, while applying for other postgraduate programmes as well.

And what are your plans more generally for the future? Do you have a particular career in mind?
I’ve chosen to pursue an academic career, which explains my work as a Teaching Assistant. This career in particular allows me to expand my knowledge endlessly while passing this knowledge to new generations of eager students. 

Would you recommend the University of London International Programmes and why?
I’ve already recommended the programme to prospective students in Egypt, and now this is a good chance to recommend it to students everywhere. The University of London International Programmes is simply a great opportunity to study topics of interest thoroughly and reflect your studies on up-to-date issues.

Mai Mahmoud first took the Diploma in Economics, which she passed with Distinction. She then took the BSc Banking and Finance degree, which she gained with First Class Honours. She currently works as a Teaching Assistant at the Arab Academy for Science and Technology in Cairo.