Master of Accounting and Finance graduand Muhammad Zahid Hanif.
This week's graduation is a case of back to the future for Master of Accounting and Finance graduand Muhammad Zahid Hanif.
Receiving his degree from the Otago Business School also means a great deal to Hanif given what he has gone through to get to this stage.
“I restarted my studies after 20 years and truly believe anyone can do it. Set your goals and go after them without being afraid because you can't go backwards in life, you can only move forward believing in yourself.”
From Pakistan, Hanif worked as an accountant for several years before he and his family moved to New Zealand in 2012.
Any immigration journey is challenging financially, culturally, and emotionally, but Hanif took the task in his stride, supporting his family of three children by taking on a series of jobs.
After nine years of “restless work” he decided to join the University of Otago to restart his accounting career.
“I was scared, nervous and had lost a great deal of confidence over time as to whether or not I could return to the occupation.”
Additionally, right at the start of his academic journey, his mother suddenly passed away in Pakistan and he was not able to be there for her or attend her funeral, because the country was in lockdown.
“This was coupled with me facing technological issues, spending long hours in the library studying, and driving a taxi on the weekend to make ends meet.
“Though incredibly challenging at the time, I am thankful to Allah and to my father who always supported, trusted, and encouraged me onwards. His name is Muhammad Hanif, he is 85 years old and still remains my true strength after all these years.”
Now, Hanif looks back on the experience proudly, especially as it enabled him to get a job as an intermediate accountant at JW Smeaton & Co Accountants.
He looks forward to the future, having returned to his passion after almost a decade away from accounting and 20 years after having initially studied.
He believes age is just a number and to achieve their goals a person needs to “be constructive and work hard in life and you will get there”.
“I restarted my studies after 20 years and truly believe anyone can do it.
“Set your goals and go after them without being afraid because you can't go backwards in life, you can only move forward believing in yourself.”
Hanif completed his thesis project on a comparison of zero emission targets between developed and developing countries.
“The world is facing so many problems and so I wanted my research to be on a relevant issue.”
“The way in which countries are moving towards zero emission targets to keep the world temperature below 1.5 is very interesting.
“I analysed how temperatures are rising, how this could potentially be managed, and the key factors involved in how countries are moving towards zero emissions.”
- Kōrero by Otago Business School Communications Adviser, Kelsey Schutte.