Stories After AIC

AFTER AIC 

What's in store for graduates

For some AIC students, post graduate plans will entail finding a job in Kuwait and starting a career.  Other students who are academically prepared may wish to attend graduate schools outside of Kuwait, either universities in the United States or U.S.-based schools in other GCC countries.

Spotlight on a Kuwaiti Graduate

Abdulaziz AlFulaij is a Kuwaiti national who attended the American Baccalaureate School (ABS) in Kuwait for middle school and high school. After graduating high school, AlFulaij was accepted at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. He was just 17 when he moved to the U.S. to begin his studies. After two years, he transferred to University of Southern California's Leventhal School of Accounting. He expects to matriculate in spring of 2019 and hopes to continue on to graduate school. We caught up with Abdulaziz to ask him about his experience studying in the United States.

I pursued completing my degree abroad, most importantly, because of the strength of degree. The college where I am right now—USC—has a really strong degree. 

How do you think an American college experience differs from a typically Kuwaiti higher education experience?


AF: The experience we have in the U.S. is quite different, because you are learning from others in the industry, CEO's and people with experience in the field.

This gives us an advantage because it gives us a wider perspective. In Kuwait, from what I understand, the teaching is usually based on books and videos. When you hear people's first hand experiences, it provides greater value.

And this may change in Kuwait, too. I know a lot of people in Kuwait now who have begun start-ups, so the situation is improving in terms of start-ups and businesses. 

 

 

What were some of the challenges you had to face studying in the United States? Did you have to adjust to some cultural differences? 


AF: In terms of cultural differences, I had the opportunity to come back and forth to LA since I was young, so I already knew what the culture was like.

What was more of a challenge was the system being based more on the learning curve. Over here, there is a lot of competition in classes because grading is based on curves — basically on how the class is doing as a group. It helps you if you're not doing well, because it makes you push a bit harder. And if you're doing well you still get a good grade. So either way, you benefit from it a lot.

When it comes to the large business classes, the accounting students are a smaller group, and they are always studying, so they seem to be the ones to break the curve!

My most important message for Kuwaiti students planning to pursue graduate work in the United States is to work hard. That's an important thing.

How important a role did student life play in your college experience?


AF: I had a few chances to apply to some clubs, but I wanted to focus on my studies. I had a heavy class load and so I didn't feel I had time for clubs and electives. I wish I had been able to do more with the clubs, but they are a real commitment. 

 

What message do you have for Kuwaiti students planning to pursue graduate work in the United States or some other Western country? 


AF: My message for them is, first of all, in terms of trying to work hard. That's an important thing. Time management is very important and to manage your work and social life. You have to learn that on your own.

Secondly, with people here [in the US], there's a lot of competition, so there's not a lot of room to slack off or get behind. You need to be on top of everything and do what is asked of you; for example, submitting things on time. 

You mentioned that you are hoping to go to graduate school in the U.S. or Europe. What degrees are you considering? 


AF: I looked at different programs, and I noticed that most MBAs require at least three years of work experience. So I decided to pursue a Masters in Finance or Business Technology. It's more of an administrative degree. I hope that my applications for upcoming graduate programs come back as acceptance letters!

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