"I didn’t know anyone in my Winter School class but that didn’t matter because Susan makes everyone feel like they knew each other. That element of welcoming and connecting with everyone - I’ve never met anyone who has done that before."
— Salman-ur Rehman, Heriot Watt University
Salman-ur Rehman - Heriot Watt University
“I felt confident before my interview, during my interview, and after my interview,” says Salman-ur Rehman, a Chemical Engineering student at Heriot-Watt University. He says it with utter conviction and pride. For Salman, by his own admission, hasn’t always found interviews easy.
“Talking with confidence was my greatest weakness and it was letting me down in interviews.” Salman understood this was his Achilles heel, but he didn’t know what to do about it. That’s to say, he didn’t know what to do about it until he attended a Make Your Mark with Susan Room® student school.
Since attending the group-coaching programme Salman confesses, “I’ve seen a complete change in me. Susan just shares so many brilliant methods and techniques that you can practically apply – they’ve really helped me.”
Salman explains how he’d often fail to make a connection with his interviewers, then rush to answer their questions, rather than giving himself time to think.
“Susan helped us learn ways to deal with this by better controlling the conversation. There are techniques you can use to give yourself time to think before you speak, which then helps you stick to your point! It was amazing because I’ve already put these techniques into practice in real interviews - and they work!”
But during interviews isn’t the only time Salman’s been actively putting his learnings into practice. For as well as speaking with more confidence, he’s also paying far more attention to his body language.
“I work part-time in the operations department at Sainsbury and at the end of one working day a colleague stopped to tell me they thought what I said during a meeting was powerful - that I’d managed to convey a lot of things. He told me he’d noticed I was using my hands when I spoke. So, I explained some of the things I’d learned with Susan about the power of hand gestures and how he too could learn to use body language to greater effect.”
It’s one of the reasons Salman has become a Make Your Mark Ambassador – he’s eager now to help other young people benefit from this learning and make future student schools a success.
Salman secured his place on this Make Your Mark student school, having completed an internship with a not-for-profit mentorship programme. “My mentor, Jennifer Veitch, knew Susan and nominated me for a place,” but Salman’s cognisant that not all young people will be as fortunate as he was.
“The sad fact is this kind of learning just isn’t available in schools, colleges, and universities, so most students don’t get these opportunities and will never develop these skills,” explains Salman. “These are important skills. I learned so much from these sessions that I’m thankful for.
My mentor said to me before I joined Susan’s programme that this would be a life-changing career moment for me – and she was right, it certainly was. My becoming a Make Your Mark Ambassador is a way for me to help other young people get access to this learning – it’s a way of me giving back and saying thank you.”
Salman-ur Rehman is in his final year at Heriot-Watt University studying Chemical Engineering. He lives in Glasgow, is a project lead developer at the non-profit, Mentor Mindset, and recently became a Make Your Mark Ambassador.