Humans of Jacobs: Muhammad Saleem Zafar

Humans of Jacobs: Muhammad Saleem Zafar

In this month’s Humans of Jacobs, we talk with Muhammad Saleem Zafar, Industrial Engineering & Management 2023:

1. How was your childhood?

My childhood was very dynamic as my family had to move quite a lot due to my dad’s work placements. I had a hard time adapting to schools and making new friends early on, but then I got used to it and found solace in books, video games and sports.

2. Where do you live and how is it different from Bremen?

I live in Dubai, which is where I completed my high-school and it is a very metropolitan place as compared to Bremen which is very peaceful and laid back. In summers, it gets really hot around 50 degrees celsius and winters are nice with low temperatures of around 18-20. Bremen on the other hand has very clean air and water quality.

3. Tell us about the people in your hometown and how are they different from the people here in Bremen?

While living in Jacobs, I feel right at home because we also had people from all over the place in Dubai, and also in Bremen in general, I find that most people speak Arabic and Turkish more than Deutsch which is very surprising as it is easy for me to bond with them.

4. Why did you come to Jacobs, how did you decide to choose your major, and do you think you made the right decision? If you had a chance to change coming to Jacobs, would you do otherwise?

Jacobs was my safety school, my initial plan was to go the States to pursue a dual bachelors and masters degree in Chemical engineering from University of Rochester, which offers a 5 year programme in which you complete both degrees, but unfortunately that didn't work out due to them not giving me the financial aid and scholarship I was looking for. My next best choice was Jacobs as I was also really interested in SCM and Industrial Engineering and I heard the faculty here was amazing so i gave it a shot. If i had to re-consider, I would’ve chosen to come to Jacobs regardless also because I have a lot of friends here in the city and in Europe.

5. What are your future plans? Do you plan on staying in Germany after you graduate? If yes, would you ever go back to your home country one day?

My future plan is gain some work experience in Germany and then pursue my Masters in Engineering and Management from Stanford, followed by Leaders in Global Operations by MIT, which are in my roadmap for the next 10 years. I intend to go back to my country later in my life when I am close to retirement.

6. What are the hurdles that you had to face moving to Germany?

Language Barrier was a main issue. I had to adapt to the culture and also to the fact that grocery stores are closed on Sundays. Also, I arrived amidst Covid and it was really challenging at the beginning.

7. Do you think you’ve grown as a person and as a professional since your time in Germany?

I believe I have definitely grown, but personally and professionally as I had the chance to network with a lot of great individual both on and off campus and that helped me out a lot to find better work placements and make life-long friendships.

8. How are your friends in Germany different than your friends in your home country, would you rather say that the bond that you have with your friends here stronger than the bond you have with your friends back home? Please elaborate.

I would say that the bond with my friends back home is stronger as I have known them my whole life, but I feel the same connection with some of my friends here as well, as we have a lot of things in common and they make me feel right at home here.

9. Do you plan on investing in your home country - if yes, how do you plan doing that?

I plan to open an educational institute back home and also a vocational training institute offering advanced skill based courses to help the less privileged students acquire state of the art skills that will help them find better work placements. I also intend to create firms that will help the people graduating from these institutes also find jobs there if needed.

10. Do you have any regrets in life - if yes, what would you have differently?

The only regret I have is to have pursued professional cricket more rigorously as I was a really good player.

11. Do you think it’s worth staying away from your family, your friends, and your people to study in a foreign country?

I believe it is necessary in order for one to develop their skills and also to gain experience living independently as it allows you to grow emotionally.

12. What suggestions would you give - if any - to your juniors at Jacobs?

Do what you really love and take the time to enjoy the moments with your friends and loved ones as you never know when it may the last time that you see them for a while.



Humans of Jacobs: Muhammad Saleem Zafar