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Sukhdip Randhawa

Sukhdip Randhawa, MBA Shipping and LogisticsHead of Safety and Quality, Red Sea Marine Management

MBA Shipping and Logistics, 2013

What made you choose Middlesex University?

Middlesex University has an excellent reputation in the maritime industry for its dedicated team of experts and the course provides an opportunity for seafarers to do postgraduate courses which no other universities have done so far.

What attracted you to your course and made you apply?

I was keen to expand my educational qualifications which would not only broaden my vision of businesses and people but would also allow me to attain much needed career progression. The MBA S&L course was attractive due to its holistic approach to the maritime industry. Additionally, the course offered an enormously thought provoking exploration of the corporate cultures which have still not fully matured within the maritime industry compared to other industries.

What aspects of your course did you enjoy most?

Marketing, executive leadership and business strategy were my favourite modules as they were comparatively new subjects and the insight they provided allowed me to understand how organisations strategised and marketed themselves so as to excel in their industry.

What is your fondest memory of life at Middlesex?

I realised that there is much more to life than I had imagined. Not only was I communicating with other students from different walks of life but we worked as a group on various projects and advising each other on our perceptions and understanding of the subjects was very enjoyable. And, of course, I have fond memories of the valuable and encouraging inputs from the module leaders.

I do recall one encouraging line from Dr Robert Jenefsky which I have printed and share with my team members whenever we are working on various projects. In his mail he had succinctly explained how I could improve my work, and closed with the encouraging words "wishing you continued strength for the sprint to the finish line".

What one piece of advice would you give to a prospective student interested in studying at Middlesex?

The resources provided by the University are abundant. Capitalise by taking the advantage of these resources and expanding your learning by discussion with your module teams.

How did your course and time at Middlesex help you get to where you are professionally today?

The course provides pragmatic and scientific insight into how organisations and various team members strategise, behave and why some leaders excel more than others. What I learned allowed me to implement and re-evaluate the existing strategies which benefitted my organisational learning as a whole.

Can you give an example of a time when you put the things you learned at Middlesex to practical use?

There are numerous occasions when what I learned, both the practical and theoretical knowledge, is put to the test. One of the most distinct memories was when a new project was being introduced and responsibility for the project was given to me, everything from selecting the team to seeing it through to its delivery to the client. The leadership, management and team formation skills allowed me to understand the various stages the team goes through and how to manage different members of the team while exhibiting a distinct leadership style so as to attain the success for the project. Had I not broadened my skills at Middlesex then the result would certainly not have been as required.

What made you choose the industry you work in and what are its pros and cons?

I always had a passion for the marine industry, especially for merchant vessels. After becoming a captain and experiencing sailing through stormy, challenging and demanding seafaring conditions I felt it was time to share my knowledge and wisdom with the maritime industry so as to have safer, cleaner seas and environment.

One of the main pros is that it is a very demanding career. Transporting all kinds of goods by sea with great emphasis on safety is totally dependent on communication and understanding of people. It allows you to manage assets and cargoes worth hundreds of millions of dollars and brings about clarity in differentiation between risks and people. It teaches you an important aspect of the reality of any organisation, which is to manage people so as to manage the business risks.

The cons are that though the majority of world trade is by sea, still all the aspects of the maritime industry are not matured compared to other industries. However, it would be true to state that the maritime industry is vast and one of the only trades which connects the different regions of the world by bringing about economic stability.

What are the top three tips you would give to current students and recent graduates who are looking for a similar career to yourself?

In the maritime industry, apart from the educational training, employers search for the requisite skills which would contribute to their organization, hence it is essential to gain relevant experience to understand how the industry works.

Students should ideally volunteer for local organisations or take up internships for spring/summer. Additionally, if students intend to get into the commercial side of the maritime industry then networking development should take precedence over all other requirements.

What one piece of advice would you give to the 17/18 year old you?

Invest time in yourself to expand your knowledge across the horizons of the field you are passionate about.

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