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"Keep going, stay curious, and keep learning" - Vice-Chancellor hails new MDX Dubai graduates at campus's largest Graduation event to date

Maleeha Murad, top of the class for Business Information Systems, praises industry-savvy academics and freedom to think big

A group photo of MDX senior leaders and academics, male and female, and Honorary Doctor His Excellency Khalfan Juma Belhoul, in black and scarlet academic robes in front of a sign reading Congratulations Class of 2023Middlesex University Dubai, the city’s largest UK institution for total student enrolment, held its largest ever series of graduation ceremonies on Saturday 11 March and Sunday 12 March. More than 1,000 graduates collected their degrees over the course of four ceremonies at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel.

Awards were presented and special recognition given to Top Graduates and Valedictorians in different disciplines.

Maleeha Murad Muhammad was this year's top MDX Dubai graduate in BSc Information Technology and Business Information Systems programmes.

A young South Asian woman with glasses and in a blue, silver-flecked top sits turned half-away from the camera. Her face is looking at the camera and she is smiling Together with Business Information Systems coursemate Neha Naveed and BSc Information Technology graduates Khristine Sagum and Sadaf Khan, Maleeha designed an innovative charitable giving platform called DonatingBee.

The four, all motivated by a desire to help and give back to the community, came up with the idea during their UX Design class.

Maleeha, who had FinTech experience from working on a Dubai real estate investment App called SmartCrowd during her first and second year at university, says she taken with two different ideas: a platform developing financial literacy and allowing students to make transactions more easily, and a charitable venture.

DonatingBee, developed so far to prototype stage, lets people donate digitally, "either through the application itself, or through pick-up services," Maleeha explains. "There are diverse ways of donating to not limit the user to just monetary donations: including clothes, food and donation through rewards earned from previous donations".

It was deemed such a success that the team has been chosen to represent MDX on the Dubai Future Foundation’s University Entrepreneurship Program (UEP).

"Working with a team requires understanding, compromises and most of all, putting the user first" says Maleeha. "We had to push our egos aside and take feedback to really finesse our design".

Maleeha's final year project on her programme was to create a tool for the MDX Dubai careers department. Taking as a starting point her own experiences struggling to find internships and job opportunities, "I began researching around this to understand if other students experienced the same issues," she says. "I designed and tested it and currently it's at a high-fidelity prototype level".

Maleeha, who studied at Dubai’s Al Diyafah High School, says a strength of MDX is the number of practitioner-academics, who “bring a wealth of knowledge and unique nuggets of practical experience to the classroom, which can significantly enhance the learning experience of students”.

With their “passion for their respective fields of study [and] willingness to go above and beyond… I think the entire Computer Engineering and Informatics Department faculty has left an impact on me in one way or the other,” she says. “No idea was too big, and we were never judged for what we wanted to pursue, as long as it was physically doable”.

Now working as a UX designer at company Horizontal Design, in 10 years’ time she hopes to have her own product, or “become a product manager for a product I am truly passionate about developing”. She also hopes to be a leader and mentor, “because I know what it is like to be in that place and seek help. I don’t ever want to forget where I came from - a young mind hoping to get guidance and learn from others around me”.

MSc Corporate and Marketing Communications top graduate Mamata Gopinathan was picked for The Adecco Group's CEO for One Month leadership and young talent development programme, for which she shadowed Adecco's regional CEO, and subsequently met the global CEO in Zurich. She was also chosen as a MDX Dubai student hero, featuring in social media ads.

A highlight project for her was working with Dubai's Hilton Garden Inn Hotel, through her Strategic Brand Management class. "It enabled us to work with industry experts and gave us hands-on experience devising and implementing marketing solutions in the Middle Eastern market,"  she says.

A young man wearing glasses with dark hair and a slight beard, dressed in a grey suit and silvery grey tie smiles at the cameraBSc Finance and Management Valedictorian Jason Miranda disagrees with those who call finance boring, finding his learning experience were enlivened by his teachers' real-life examples. One lecturer was "very approachable and supportive" - her feedback "helped me grow academically and personally,"  he says.

Jason also feels himself fortunate to have been "part of a diverse and talented group of students who challenged and inspired me". Extra-curricular activities with a wide range of students helped him develop his communications skills and broaden his perspective.

Nicholas Mendoza (BSc Graphic Design top graduate) said he was drawn to MDX Dubai "as it was really 'out there' especially in social media," and that he appreciated lessons from his lecturer, Eddy Ryan, on how to approach each design project.

Degrees awarded to MDX Dubai’s Class of 2022 covered over 70 diverse programmes including Business, Marketing, Accounting and Finance, Law, Education, Fashion Design and Psychology.

Reflecting the university’s commitment to equip the UAE’s future leaders with the expertise they need, Sama Yousif Mohamed Ahmed Alzaabi (BSc Psychology with Counselling Skills) received the Top Emirati Undergraduate Student Award, while MSc Data Science graduate Amna Mohammad Hassan Ibrahim Alblooshi won the prize for Top Emirati Postgraduate Student.

His Excellency Khalfan Juma Belhoul, Chief Executive Officer of the Dubai Future Foundation, was awarded a prestigious Doctorate of the University, in recognition of his commitment to empower a culture of technological innovation and entrepreneurship across the UAE.

In an address to students, he spoke of Dubai’s adaptability and acknowledged “the potential that each and every one of you has to shape – and revolutionise – the future of our world.”

“Education is infinite, and we all still have more to learn” Belhoul said. “And so, we must also be prepared to face a range of challenges and opportunities that we cannot yet fully comprehend.

“But in the midst of all this change, I am filled with a very realistic hope. Humans always come first, in the past, in the present and in the future. It is you who could be working on the next AI-powered chatbot, announcing a significant breakthrough in quantum computing… or even inventing an intricate robot that could revolutionise a doctor’s toughest surgeries”.

Vice-Chancellor of Middlesex University Professor Nic Beech said: “Middlesex University Dubai is an exemplary place to study, and we are very proud of what our students achieve in their studies, in their careers, and of their contribution to society.

“The Dubai campus continues to go from strength to strength, having been recognised as a 5-Star institution in two consecutive KHDA Higher Education Classifications. This recognises the University’s outstanding performance in teaching, employability, internationalisation, research, arts and culture, as well as student happiness and well-being”.

“To the Class of 2022, my message is to keep going, stay curious, and keep learning”.

For more information on MDX Dubai Class of 2022 Graduation, please click here

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