Mahmoud Huseynov Secondary School: British School in Baku (BSB) Higher Education Institution: University of Nottingham, University College London
Mahmoud Huseynov is an alumnus of the British School in Baku. This year, after having successfully graduated from the University of Nottingham, one of the most prestigious higher education institutions of the world, he has decided to pursue his education in University College London, which ranks the second in the list of top Universities of the capital city of Great Britain. He is the next in a series of stories celebrating the alumni success of the British School in Baku. Mahmoud Huseynov brings to life his experiences of education with BSB and how it has set him up for future success.
–Can you provide us with information about yourself?
My name is Mahmoud, and I graduated from the British School in Baku in 2018. During my school years in BSB, I have been rewarded with certificates for academic achievements in different disciples many times; also have received the Principal’s Special Recognition Award for academic excellence. It should be emphasized, that I was able to obtain high academic performance due to the consistent support of my teachers. In this regard, I want to thank all my teachers, and especially Mr. Michael Phoseka, Ms. Kushvar, and Ms. Sabina. Other than that, due to my high responsibility, I have been selected to be the president of the Student’s Community of our school, by the vote of many students studying there.
After my graduation from BSB, with the special advice and help of Dr. Samir Valiyev, an Executive Director and Founder of BSB, I have applied to the University of Nottingham, which is included in the list of top 100 universities of the world, and got an offer to continue my studies for a Bachelor in Mechanical engineering (from 2018-2021). During my study years at the University of Nottingham, I have always been recognized by my tutors, have developed personal relationships with them, and have been assigned with responsibilities by them. During my final year (year 3) in the University of Nottingham, I have done Mechatronics and electronics modules, as well as the project based on robotics. I have been the first student in the University of Nottingham for achieving the highest mark in my course and finished my bachelor’s with honors.
Currently, I have got a conditional offer from University College London (UCL, which ranks the second in the list of top Universities of the capital city of Great Britain) for a master in the field of robotics and computer sciences, where I will start my studies from September 2021 and finish in September 2022.
-What inspired you to apply to study in the University of Nottingham?
During my student years in BSB, I have set a goal for myself. That goal was based on trying my best to achieve all possible achievements in my academic or education journey. I set this goal because it was significantly important to make a decision between studying hard for the next 5-10 years and benefitting from this hard work my entire life or not studying for the small portion of my life and regretting this for my entire life. Of course, the answer was obvious, and I had to set a goal accordingly. When I have received an offer from the University of Nottingham, it was a nice opportunity for me to think about. The University of Nottingham offered high educational opportunities, and this indeed aligned with my goals.
What is your experience of living and studying in Great Britain?
In my opinion, living in another country is a beautiful experience, especially in the UK. During the first year and half of my second-year studies at the University of Nottingham, I have lived in the UK. It was a nice opportunity for me to make friends from all over the world and from England. I have met many people from different countries; have been introduced to their cultures. I have also had a chance to travel to London many times (which is 250 km from Nottingham, e.g., 2hr by car) and visited many famous places there. However, during the second half and third year of my studies at the University of Nottingham, unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic had affected all universities as well as the University of Nottingham. Thus, I had to return back to the homeland and continue my studies online. Online studies at the University of Nottingham were as good as in-person studying, and the quality of teaching was newer descended.
What are the major challenges you had to face in your first years living in the UK?
During the very first months of living in Nottingham, I had some difficulties there, because I didn’t know the city well and didn’t have many friends. However, this difficulty was temporary. Soon, I got used to Nottingham, and all of the difficulties became a joy. Living in another country made me more mature and experienced because I had the full responsibility of mine. I had to split, control and manage my time and solve any kind of problems that arise on my own. This prepared me for life, and this taught me how to stand on my feet. Overall, I am very happy about living in the UK for my past years and I believe there are no negative aspects of living in another country.
-What have you learned in the past few years that have contributed to your success?
One of the most important aspects of life, which I have learned, is that no matter what, you should never be scared of making mistakes and failing. Other than that, I have learned how to be stubborn in terms of achieving my aims. I was never scared of hard work, and I have learned that hard work doesn’t harm people. Some days, to achieve my long time aims and objectives, I have studied 20 hours non-stop, without resting and sleeping. During my studies in BSB, University of Nottingham, and in my industry carrier, I have always been stubborn in learning new things as well. The other important thing of course is about applying what you have learned to real-life problems. My industrial carrier has not only taught me how to apply my theoretical knowledge to practical real-life problems but also how to be respectful to other people and their opinions.
-How did your education at the British School in Baku help you get to where you are in your education and career as well?
BSB allowed me to firstly and most importantly to speak and understand English fluently. This was one of the most important things I had to achieve to go to the UK and study there. After my education in BSB, I have scored 7.0/9.0 in IELTS, which was more than the requirement of the University of Nottingham (the University of Nottingham requires a 6.5/9.0 IELTS score). Other than that, the certification and license, or in other words trust and reputation BSB have in the UK allowed me to enter the university much easier than any other school did. Of course, the knowledge I got in BSB about physics, math,s, and chemistry was equivalent to the UK level studying, thus I also had no difficulty during my studying in the university of Nottingham knowledge vise.
-What have been the highlights and challenges for the last years for you?
One of the important challenges I had to overcome was focusing on getting the highest mark I can ever get at the University of Nottingham. Our course (Mechanical engineering) is one of the hardest courses in the university of Nottingham, and I had to get at least over 70% to get a first in that university. (first is the best class of marks you can get). Fortunately, all my efforts had allowed me to get much more than 70% (I got 83.5%). As highlighted before, the other challenge was of course working on the project for manufacturing load cells. This was more challenging than normal because I had to do this project while I was studying the hardest year of my university (e.g., 3rd year).
What are your main interests and hobbies?
My hobbies are doing professional sports, reading books and published articles, and playing chess. Currently, I am doing MMA (Mixed martial arts) and am considered a professional MMA fighter. I have had 3 Olympic competitions for MMA and got 1st place twice (for Baku and Asia) and 2nd place once (for Azerbaijan). I am also reading books and published articles, mainly about neuroscience, psychiatry, and psychology.
-If you work at the present time, can you also provide us with information about your career?
I have been working as the Head Manager of Engineers in an industry in Iran since I have started my 3rd year at the University of Nottingham. The industry I work in is based on mechanics and electronics, and its name is Sprint ltd. It is one of the leading electronic scale manufacturers in Iran. During my carrier there, I and my team have had lots of achievements, one of the most important aspects of our work is based on manufacturing load cells (weight sensors for electronic scales). That project was important because, in the Middle East, we have been the first factory manufacturing load cells. (the technology of load cells is complicated thus they are only manufactured in China and Europe). This was a big achievement, and our factory has been rewarded by Government. As the team leader and manager, this was indeed a big success for me as well.
-What advice would you give to parents and students considering applying to BSB?
I would advise parents consider BSB. This is not only because their children will benefit from all opportunities BSB offers to students such as fluently speaking English in the future, getting educated by highly knowledgeable and trained staff, and having a chance to study overseas after graduation, but this is also because their children will have the opportunity to make friends with those people that come from well-off families.
-What are your aspirations for the future?
In the future, after graduating from UCL, I plan to do Ph.D. in America. To do my Ph.D., I am targeting MIT. Perhaps, after doing my Ph.D., I plan to work in Industries and give part-time conferences and lectures in many universities including universities in Azerbaijan. I would love to give lectures in BSB as well.
As an extra note, I would like to thank my father for all of his support. I believe the mental and phycological support he gave me alongside the financial support was very important. He explained to me proper reasons, why, and how I should achieve and set my aims and objectives. He has always trusted my decisions and believed in me. He was always proud of me. In other words, he has been a close friend with me rather than an authorial father. He never allowed me to be scared or shy of talking with him about my failures. In reality, when I did fail, he always reassured me that failure is part of the process of becoming successful. On the other side, my father also personally taught me about religion and God. Of course, I was frequently praying to God to help me to achieve my aims and objectives as well. I believe that my beliefs about God and Islam were not only supporting me spiritually and motivating me to achieve my aims, but it also helped me physically. This is because I did not see addictions as a moral thing. Thus my religion and beliefs allowed me to stay away from these things. Especially in a country where you are alone and have no control by parents, this was an important thing to stay away from trouble and unwilling addictions. Thus, I believe that if my father didn’t support me in every aspect he ever can, I wouldn’t be the person I am right now.