Congratulations to Azad Azabany for passing PhD viva on Wednesday 10 Dec 2014.
I met Azad 6 years ago when I was invited to dinner by Dr Hewa Balisane, Dean of Education at Soran University and a former student at the Andolos restaurant on the world famous curry mile on Wilmslow Road, Manchester. I was impressed by his politeness and direct approach. He told me without hesitation that even though he had been away from formal eduction for a long time he planned to get his masters and do a PhD to complete his education. I get a lot of people telling me that they want to a PhD and 99% of the time it is just a weak wish so I normally take no notice but encouraged him without being convinced that he would follow through with committed action.
A year later I met him again at the same place. He had bought the restaurant and was doing his MBA at Bolton University. His commitment was impressive. He was running a restaurant from mid afternoon to early hours of the morning often finishing work at 4.00am seven days a week and going to classes full time. Added to this managing a very young family of a devoted wife and three sons with all the chaos that goes with it.
I heard from common friends that Azad had completed his MBA. I was pleased with this achievement.
At our third meeting in the same place he sat with us briefly and told me he wanted to do a PhD. My first thoughts were our field are far apart and I would find him a suitable supervisor in a business school close to his home in Manchester. We kept in touch and he wanted to do his PhD with me. This was a challenge for me, stretching my creativity and resourcefulness. His commitment and ambition made it easy for me to accept him as a PhD student. The next challenge was to pick a project that utilised his strengths and my experience. We brainstormed a few titles and settled on energy management as a topic.
Azad started his PhD in Oct 2011 and within 3 years had completed his research, passed MPhil and wrote his PhD. He has published 6 peer reviewed journal papers and 6 peer reviewed journal papers in press. This achievement is impressive even for full time students but borders on the miraculous when you consider he was running full time business with a young family. I was also off work almost 50% of the time through an illness so provided minimal support.
Seven keys to Azad’s success
- Incredible enthusiasm and passion to be successful.
- Love for learning and constantly improving himself in every way possible.
- Highly determined and exceedingly polite.
- Excellent organizational and time management skills.
- Ability to function on very little sleep over a long and sustained period.
- Ability to really listen and apply any good practice.
- Loving and supportive family.
I am predicting a future filled with great success and achievements for Azad in the coming years. See you on stage – well done.