Ali Zain


It had always been my dream to go to the United States of America, to study there and to discover American culture. At the same time, I also believed that going to the US was not that easy. This thought, on the one hand, disappointed me and, on the other hand, it prompted me to consistently apply for different overseas scholarships, which included Russia, USA, Germany, Philippines, Norway, UK, Bangladesh Serbia, and Sweden. During the course of this process, I wrote around 40 essays, but these essays could not find favors with the scholarship selection committees. As a matter of fact, I revised my personal statement for more than 60 times. Whenever my scholarship application could not get through with the scholarship selection committees, I would share it on the social media because, for me, the comments of my friends were supplementary sources of inspiration and motivation.

After making sixteen successive attempts to study abroad, ultimately, I availed and grabbed the opportunity to complete my dream and study in the United States of America. I went to Kelly School of Business, Indiana University, to attend GBI. The Global Business Institute (GBI) is run with the collaboration of the US State Department and The Coca-Cola Company. This multifaceted and impressive program was designed to give a select group of students from the participating countries in the Middle East, North Africa, and Near Asia the opportunity to learn about business in the context of American culture. In 2014, the selection process was highly competitive with more than 4000 students from Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Pakistan, Palestine, and Tunisia applying for the 100 program spots globally.

During the course of this program, I put to memory the basic understanding of American business practices and pedagogy through an accelerated 3.5-week curriculum, which was based on the core elements of the Kelley School of Business undergraduate program. The disciplines that we covered included Accounting, Communications and Presentation Skills, Economics, Entrepreneurship, Finance, Human Resources, Marketing, Operations and Law and Ethics. In addition to the more traditional classroom sessions, a series of panels and site visits introduced me to a wide variety of entrepreneurial venture opportunities.

We worked in small teams on a group feasibility study project which culminated in a case competition style presentation of 15 minutes with 10 minutes of question and answers session with a panel of judges. There were 19 teams, 3 teams from each country. Experiences of several presentations combined with Coaches Pushups brought charms to our presentations, and, finally, we got 2nd place in all 19 teams. Our business idea was about Solar Energy Solutions, which was a great achievement for Pakistan and our University BUITEMS.

I also had the opportunity to look into the American culture through formal and informal interactive programming, which included Culture night, karaoke and American Independence Day. The program concluded with visits to Washington DC, White House, Capitol Hill, National Monument, and museums. The program came to its end with a visit to Atlanta, and a meeting with The Coca-Cola Company CEO Muhtar Kent.