Student Spotlight - Saskia Yumna
Updated: Dec 9, 2019
Written by: Megan Markowski
Photography by: Dylan Wee
As seen in the September 2017 issue.
Saskia Yumna is a member of the University of Alberta Accounting Club, the JDC West International Business team, and the Leadership Certificate Program, and that’s just the icing on top of her long list of accomplishments. She seems right at home at the Alberta School of Business, so much so that it is a bit surprising to know that she moved to Alberta just two years ago, all the way from Qatar! Saskia embodies what the modern day business person should be; someone that embraces diversity and appreciates the value that each culture has in our globalized economy.
What’s your major and why did you choose it?
My major is Operations Management. I actually only switched to an OM major this past year after becoming more in tune with my interests. I wanted to become more technology literate so that I could navigate things like artificial intelligence in the future, and I felt that the OM major did a good job of teaching students this.
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve experienced as an international student?
The biggest challenge I’ve experienced has been internal, like guiding myself to know right from wrong. As an international student I think my experience has been positive overall because I stepped out of what my culture taught me is right and wrong so I could fully experience Canadian culture, but when I am in that grey area I have had to define for myself what is right and wrong—that has not always been easy.
What is business like in Qatar?
Business in Qatar is all about connections, just as it is here in Canada, although it’s quite different in that it’s harder to build your network due to barriers such as race, wealth, and power. I don’t see that as much in Canada. In Qatar there are more barriers to entry and the economy is ruled more heavily by multinational companies than local businesses—entrepreneurs are not encouraged the same way as they are in Canada. To start a business in Qatar, for example, a Qatari National has to have a 51% stake of ownership in the business, and it is a long process. Labour laws in Qatar are also not the best because the country uses a system that ties employees to their employer, which makes immigrant families like mine and many others feel very unsafe during economic downturns.
For the rest of Saskia's interview, find her section in the complete magazine!
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