Husameldin Elnasri

Country of origin: Sudan

Senior Project Manager, DAL Group (Sudan)

Husameldin joined the Lancaster full-time MBA in October 2011, having spent more than a decade working in corporate social responsibility and community development in his home country, Sudan. For the five years before coming to LUMS he was Head of Corporate Affairs for the White Nile Petroleum Operating Company.

Writing midway through his year on the MBA, he reflects candidly on his hopes and fears prior to joining the programme, and on what he has already gained from it.

I guess it took me more thinking to decide on taking an MBA than to choose Lancaster MBA to come to. The Lancaster Full-time MBA really stood out with its unique mix of an action-oriented approach, great academic capabilities and distinctive flavour of responsible management and entrepreneurship.

When I came to Lancaster I had many fears to deal with. Some were more personal, the rest related to the programme itself.

Since I come from a scientific background (veterinary medicine), I was a bit worried about subjects that were completely new to me such as finance and accounting. I guess the fact that I studied maths and statistics in Arabic added to my worries as some of the concepts and theories might just sound different. I have to admit it was one of my big challenges to work my way through both the Finance and Accounting modules but I have enjoyed tremendous support from my tutors, as well as from my colleagues and my mentor.

On a personal level, I was 35 years old by the time I started the programme which marked me out – by a considerable margin – as one of the older ones in the class. That made me a little worried about how I would fit within the group. However, these fears vanished with the wind during the induction programme as we were divided into syndicate teams and were given different sets of challenges and workshops, including a day – really full of fun – in the beautiful Lake District. By the end of that intensive induction programme (two weeks) we felt like we had known each other for a long time, and a good team spirit was very evident during classes as well as at a social level.

I left my wife and two daughters back home, which was in all ways the biggest challenge for me. Although I was able to Skype or call daily, being away from them was still very hard for me at times, especially during holidays and social events back home. It was a great relief when I was able to go back and see them during the Christmas period. I think I will be able to bring them to Lancaster to attend my graduation and celebrate the victory with me.

Shaping perceptions

I was the first Sudanese to come to the Lancaster MBA. Therefore I was not terribly surprised when I realised that people here knew very little about Sudan. Even the little they did know was quite influenced by the violent and dark images reflected by the international media. I was very happy when I was generously given the chance to present a two-hour lecture on responsible business in Sudan as part of the Global Society and Responsible Management module. I was extremely happy with the keen engagement and understanding I found from my colleagues. In a way, I felt like an ambassador of my country as I was able to draw a positive image of Sudan, at least for my classmates.

Being here at Lancaster has been a very good chance for me to think more deeply about my motives, values and goals in life. The MBA programme has included many features and activities which have enabled me to unpack various issues I have been avoiding for a long time. The Mindful Manager programme, reflective blogging and essays, and modules such as Global Society and Responsible Management and Change Management, lectures from visiting leaders and leadership workshops – all of these activities have given me the right tools to learn more about myself. I can safely say I am a better me now. 

In December 2012 Husameldin received the AMBA Student of the Year award – see related story

After completing his MBA, he joined the DAL Group in Khartoum as a Senior Project Manager.