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My Teacher is My Guide: A Relationship of Trust & Understanding

I am Nadeem Akhtar, a postdoctoral fellow at School of Business Administration, South China University of Technology. Though I joined SCUT as a postdoctoral fellow under the mentorship of Professor AN Ran in April, 2016, but my affiliation to China and Chinese culture linked back to 2007 when I joined Wuhan University to do my doctoral studies. Time flies. It’s a decade now that I have a direct or indirect exposure of Chinese culture.

Indeed during my stay, I have encountered seasoned scholars and Chinese friends who not only encouraged me to explore Chinese culture but also gave me unwavering support. Without hesitation, I would say that China is “My Second Sweet Home”.

Most of the international students believe that Chinese professors are not good in responding emails but I have a different perception. I could not believe the way I got my postdoctoral fellowship.

It was 2010, participating in international conference in Shanghai, when I came to know professor AN. I did not know that the lady whom I was listening that day would be my postdoctoral mentor in future. She was looking very friendly and kind and I was much attracted because she was the expert in intercultural management, the topic I was working on during my doctoral studies, that is international students’ sociocultural and academic adaptation to Chinese universities. As Professor AN Ran was graduated from UK, so I wanted to take her stance on my topic but I could not get a chance. I was graduated in 2011 and went back to Pakistan and started to work at Kohat University of Science and Technology.

It was September 17, 2015 when I sent an email regarding postdoctoral position and the very next morning September 18, 2015, I got the response from Professor AN Ran with a positive note. I was surprised on such a quick response and was not more than a day-dreaming. Most importantly, she has such a sharp memory that she remembered me as well. I would like to share the email content which Professor AN sent to me “Thanks for your message! I remember you. I met you in Shanghai, isn't it? Prof. Shan Bo also mentioned you once we met and talked in Beijing.”

In December, 2015, my paper was accepted an international conference in Beijing. I was coming to present my paper and meanwhile also came to know that Professor AN Ran was also one of the key speakers, so was lucky enough to have another chance to meet her face to face before applying for postdoctoral position. On my way back to Pakistan, I dropped in Guangzhou and submitted my application in the postdoctoral office. I did not know how all those documentations were completed in a very short time by Betty as she was asked to help me out by professor AN, one of the senior doctoral students of her. I was amazed by such a quick response from my mentor’s student. Finally, I was informed in February that now I am a postdoctoral student of Professor AN Ran. Indeed, for me all this was so simple and easy as I did not go through any trouble but, after being a part of the research team of Professor AN, I realized the logic and story behind.

Professor AN is kind but critical at the same time, she is friendly but strict as well. She herself is punctual, disciplined, time conscious and perfectionist and so does she want her students to be like that.

The first meeting after joining SCUT, with Professor AN, realized me that I have to keep my work pace persistent as I was also supposed to present two weeks progress report, along with her other research team members. During this practice, I explored that why Professor AN students’ are so much well organized and perfectionists and why my documents for postdoctorate were submitted so smoothly. 

Time is money and asset for students and this is what she always emphasized on. Frankly speaking, I am moved by this practice technique of Professor AN as it keeps her intake with students and updated on students’ progress. I have found that all her students are so punctual, disciplined, time conscious and perfectionists because they are trained in that way.

In most of informal talks to my colleagues and group members, I discussed that they are very lucky to have a supervisor like Professor AN. Though being a student, we do feel overloaded in some assignments but it prepares us for future competitive environment. I can say in confidence that Professor AN’s students are much better in research approach and well organized as compared to many others. 

She is a perfect role model how to administer things perfectly.  I have learned from her how to develop social networking, managing multi-tasks and finding time for myself as well.

Teachers of such statures are very rare and I am one of the luckiest to have her as my supervisor. I have seen a passion on her face to push her students to do justice with themselves, by doing hard work. 

She is not only a good teacher and administrator but also a good friend, kind person, having love for nature and having a wonderful voice to sing the sweet melodies of her heart in the form of poems. I can feel her pain when she is talking and motivating us for doing hard work.

Though she seems more critical and harsh in words sometimes but beyond that canvas she has a loving heart for her students. I can say without hesitation that I am in a perfect place to work, SCUT, under an ideal mentor, Professor AN Ran.


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