Alumni Spotlight: Hala Sheikh Al Souk
1. What are you doing now? Where are you working, and what is your job title? Location?
I am an academic quality assurance officer in the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies in Doha, Qatar.
2. If you’ve already earned a graduate or professional degree, what did you study? School? Location?
I earned my Master’s degree in Public Policy from Oxford University (Class of 2013) in the United Kingdom.
3. How long did it take you to find your first paid job? Where was it? How did you stay motivated?
It took me three months to find my first paid job at Squire Patton Boggs through a recommendation by a fellow GU-Q alumna who was working at the law firm at the time. This made me realize the power and importance of the alumni network at GU-Q. We can help each other, sometimes unexpectedly, and that can be very rewarding. At work, I stay motivated by trying to learn one thing every day before leaving the work place, whether it is acquiring new knowledge or learning something as simple as a new Excel trick. In life, the best way to stay motivated is to really understand and genuinely believe in what you are doing. When your motivation is low, that understanding and belief will eventually remind you why the work you are doing is worthwhile in the end.
4. Looking back, what were some of your “takeaways” from your GU-Q experience?
Seize every opportunity that comes your way during your undergraduate years, and most importantly, live them. Whether these are internships, service learning trips, extracurricular activities, or volunteering, they really shape you in ways you won’t even realize or come to understand until four or five years after you graduate. These opportunities can also set you off early in your career.
5. What advice would you give to current undergraduates who may want to follow in your footsteps?
Know that for most of us our career is not a linear path. And that’s a very good, if not an important, thing to happen to you. Take the not-so glamourous job, the job with the long hours or the job that is not in line with your three-year career plan when you first graduate. Surprisingly, it is in these jobs where most of your learning happens if you are aware enough. So do explore all your career options before pursuing a specific career path, and allow yourself to fail because when you are a fresh graduate, you have the leeway to do so.
6. What are some of your proudest achievements so far? Future plans?
My future plans involve continuing to work in the field of higher education. One of my proudest achievements so far is working on and help securing the licensing of the first newly established homegrown university in Qatar, the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies.