Adeel Abbas Rawjani was born in Karachi, the largest city in Pakistan to a typical middle class family. He completed his school years in Karachi and describes them as beautiful days full of fun and enjoyment with no other responsibilities apart from studying. While coming from humble backgrounds, he has a very diversified academic record under his belt, that is unique for individuals working in his field.
He has completed a General Science Degree from the United States of America, followed by a Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce. He further completed his MBA in Banking and Finance with an additional Masters degree in Economics. He has also completed five semesters of his Computer Engineering Degree from Pakistan before leaving to study in USA where he was on the most prestigious Dean’s List throughout his entire degree. Throughout his school life he has always been ranked in the 1st and 2nd positions.
All these are a testament to his wide knowledge and versatility, where he has the ability to work in various fields.
Here, HR Maldives got to know more about his journey that has shaped him to be an HR professional of exceptional merit.
The foundation for his success in his academic and work life was laid by the passion of ambition taught to him by his father and by understanding the value and importance of hard work. “My father is a very hardworking person. He always had an ambition and that is something that I learned from him. Now, I am teaching that to my children. Ambition is important for a fulfilling and productive life. When my father was a child, he didn’t even have a radio at home. But during my childhood we saw a color TV. Similarly, my children are very high tech gadget users. They are continuing the same trend and that is to have the opportunity to use and experience new things. In my childhood, I saw my parents working hard and compromising their personal life for me. I can’t repay my parents for what they did, but at least I can be a supportive son in their retired life,” he explained.
How did your career begin?
I started my first job as a tutor while studying in grade 11. I was privately taking tuition classes for students of grade 10 and below. This continued even when I joined university for my engineering degree till 2001 when I left for USA for higher studies. The small tuition fees weren’t enough to cover my studies but it kept me motivated to achieve something for myself. The great sense of achievement and the desire for accomplishments was instilled in me since my childhood. It gave me the motivation to excel and to continue my hard work. I started tutoring Mathematics to students of my university. I feel very proud to have taught students from many different countries of the world such as Pakistan, India, Portugal, Poland, USA, Ethiopia, Mexico, Venezuela, Guatemala, Honduras, Italy etc. This was just the beginning of my career. After completing my Associate Degree in General Sciences from Brookhaven College, TX – USA, I came back to my homeland Pakistan. I started my banking career with HBL in 2007 in the IT department.
When looking further into his academic career, he also had the opportunity to become the treasurer of his university fraternity, Phi Theta Kappa and he went onto become a life time member of the chapter. He also was active in extracurricular activities and participated in debates and speech competitions.
He also has a great passion for the sport cricket and has recently completed a course that certifies him as a Level 2 Cricket Umpire.
What kind of struggles did you face while working and climbing up the job hierarchy? How did you overcome them?
Climbing the ladder up the job hierarchy is never easy, as someone said, “No gain without pain.” Therefore, you have to overcome struggles and hardships to advance in your career. I just want to share a short story from the time I was studying in USA. At the university I was studying, I got the chance to teach Mathematics to the students. As a teacher, I was under examination and was monitored just like all the other teachers of the university. To complete each level of certification, we have to teach for a certain number of hours and another level is only assigned after assessment. I listed my name on the notice board under the Math department and International Relations department. I didn’t get any student calls for my preferred roster. Then, I realized that I have to change the way I approach my potential students. I added that I can teach in English, Persian, Spanish, Urdu and Gujrati. That landed me the jackpot as soon after, a number of students joined my roster. I was able to complete the level 1 certification very quickly. With this, when I started teaching in the next level, I had more students than I can manage with my time. My salary was multiplied by 2 and a half. It was an achievement for me as being a foreign student I made a milestone and started getting some money for my tutoring work as well.
I love: People who are same from outside and same from inside, like their words and actions shouldn’t be different.
I dislike: Dishonesty and distrust
My inspiration: Quaid e Azam, Mohammad Ali Jinnah is the inspiring personality
Favorite hobby: Cricket
Favorite quote: A little knowledge removes a lot of ignorance. By Ali Ibn Abi Talib (AS), 4th Caliph of Muslims
Favorite celebrity/influencer: Imam Hussain (AS)
Favorite book: Being a Muslim, it is Holy Quran
What’s one thing people don’t know about you: If something is hidden, I would love to keep it hidden.
He has been working in the HR industry for a consecutive four years and when asked about how he balances his work life, he replied that as professionals it is a very difficult thing to do. But he advised that if we focus on our strengths, prioritize our time and tasks and plan some time for the family it will work out. He shared his tip to balance his work life, “I usually dedicate my weekends for my family after a busy week of working.”
Who have been your strongest influences in life and why?
My father has always been a great influencer in my life. He has always worked hard and had advised us to do the same. He has always taught us not to run away from our problems but fight against them and face them. He started his career even before his grade 10 results were out. But now, he has gained immense respect in his career and in life. I am trying to follow his footsteps and I am who I am with his prayers.
He hasn’t had any big setbacks in his career or in life and he thanks Allah for things going smoothly. With that, the most valuable advice he has been given in his life is to never stop learning and to always seek knowledge. He also deems perseverance as an important quality as he stresses the importance of never giving up in life.
Who is your role model in the HR industry or in life?
Imam Hussain (AS) is one of my main influencers and my role model. He has shown to the world that even if you have to sacrifice your life and family in the way of Almighty ALLAH, never step back but never agree / accept the autocracy. This gives not only me but so many others much of positive energy in life and make us always move ahead without any fear.
What do you consider your biggest achievement(s) in your career?
We should always be eager to achieve more and more in our careers but up to now, from all the achievements I have received, the biggest achievement is me being posted in Maldives as due to this placement, I have learned a lot and received a lot.
How do you respond to criticism?
Criticism should not be done for just the sake of criticism. If the criticism is constructive, valid and positive, I react very positively to it. No human is perfect, therefore, constructive criticism is like a mirror where it will show you from where you can find your mistakes and correct it.
What are you most proud of accomplishing?
I am most proud of achieving the following two things. One, is making my father and family proud. I also feel proud when my kids make me proud. Secondly, I feel the proudest when I have done and can do something for my religion, humanity and country.
Do you have any principles that you follow in life that has proved to be beneficial? If so, what are they?
The best principle which I follow and will tell others to follow as well is “Honesty is the best policy.” Always speak the truth and you will see that it automatically paves the road for success.
Is there anything in this industry that you would like to see change?
With the increase in technology, the negative mind set has also increased. People want to become millionaires by means of cheating and being dishonest. Trust, among people is decreasing day by day. I used to remember banking as a very respectable profession and people use to trust bankers. But this hacking, phishing, spamming etc, has taken the world to a different perspective with regards to banks and bankers.
Are there any obstacles that you foresee in the future of the HR industry and specifically in the banking sector? If so, what are the possible ways to handle them?
With the increase in technology in every department, the need for training is going down. Automated systems are taking the place of human workers. There should be proper training’s and not only training’s on how to use the system, but soft skill training must also be conducted. We should think of our staff members as more than assets working for the company and we should invest on them more and more. This will develop their skills and will help them become a good human. They can in turn contribute to the society as well.
What special memories do you have working in the HR industry?
To be honest working in HR is not as easy as others think. When the word HR comes to their mind, people think that what we do is to maintain files, process payroll, do hiring and firing etc. But HR is much more than this. Dealing with people is not an easy task. In this global village where people from different countries, different backgrounds, different races and different religions work under one umbrella, it will always create diversities to work on and hence make HR responsibilities much more difficult. Working with systems is very easy as it is a one-way communication. You have to provide them commands and they will obey while humans will respond differently to you. Therefore, each interaction is memorable. There are so many memories for me but the best ones in my experience, are the memories where I got to know people and they learn to trust me and come for resolutions not only of matters of the office but sometimes their personal life as well.
Finally, Adeel describes success as accepting the pain and being ready for the glory of success. He explains, “Every successful person has a painful story. Every painful story has a successful ending. So, we must accept pain as part of the process on the road to greatness and success.” Wise words, indeed!