Shamil Mustafayev (‘14) on AUBG Grabbing Opportunities

August 01, 2023 Greti Georgieva
Shamil Mustafayev (‘14) on AUBG Grabbing Opportunities

Shamil Mustafayev (‘14) graduated from AUBG with a double degree in Computer Science and Information Systems. He is currently working as a PEGA Lead Business Architect at the global IT services and consulting company Capgemini. He started his career in 2018 as a junior consultant at Capgemini Netherlands and grew up to a senior position within 5 years. Currently, he is based in Saudi Arabia to deliver digital solutions to their clients based in the Middle East.

We talked with Shamil about his AUBG experience and the impact it had on his life.

The liberal arts education of AUBG gave me the knowledge in mathematics, creative arts, social sciences and even foreign languages (I have studied German at my sophomore year) which made me stand out among my peers at my workplace.

AUBG Initiatives

Shamil has been part of the Student Government since his freshman year, starting as a senator and becoming a treasurer in his junior year. He was also part of Phi Beta Delta club. During his time as a chair of the Taste Fest organizing committee, the festival had 19 participating countries – the largest number of representatives in AUBG history until then.

We even partnered with Metro for funding and it was also featured in the news outlets such as Dnevnik.

Shamil has also participated in the organization of multiple donation campaigns at the university, which he is currently continuing in Azerbaijan, his home country.

“I joined a group of volunteers who launched “Təbəssüm Yarat” (Create a Smile) project. Regularly, we are donating school equipment to pupils studying in hardly accessible rural areas of Azerbaijan.”

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AUBG Impact

For Shamil, being part of Student Government had the biggest impact in his life.

Before I joined AUBG, I was not much outspoken, but after joining SG, I was able to not only express my opinions about various issues, but also listen to other students’ problems and concerns, raise those concerns during our SG meetings and come up with viable solutions.

In 2012 he traveled to Rome with the SG president to meet the Student Government representatives of other American universities in Europe. The experience he acquired in SG helped him also during his ISEP exchange program.

AUBG Exchange

“There were multiple exchange opportunities offered by AUBG, but since I was already studying in Europe, I thought ISEP would be the best option for me to study in a different continent.”

He wasn’t sure whether he would be accepted for the program, because his GPA was not as high among the other applicants. However, his extracurricular activities pushed him forward and he spent the Spring 2013 semester at the University of Vermont, USA. He even became part of their Student Government Association.

“Although I was a student for 1 semester, after getting acquainted with my vast SG experience at AUBG, I was invited to Student Government Association of UVM where we were managing the budget of 2 million USD at that time. It was a big experience for me. I even got an appreciation letter after my SG term ended there.”

At UVM he also had the opportunity to take Computer Science courses that have not been offered by AUBG at that time, which further expanded his academic knowledge in the field.

I believe any student who has such an opportunity should benefit from it.

The Soccer league

Shamil is also an avid soccer player and was a member of the AUBG Soccer club. The club helped him keep up his passion for the sport, He also took the benefit of attending several matches of Azerbaijani clubs playing in European countries close to Bulgaria.

During my Master’s degree in the Netherlands, I decided to join my passion, my character and my organizational skills I learned at AUBG to create a fan club called “Milli Dəstə” (National Group) for Azerbaijani clubs and national teams playing abroad.

Since 2016, Shamil has been organizing and managing tribunes in more than 50 sports events in about 20 countries helping soccer fans from his home country attend the matches of their Azerbaijani clubs.

“On March 27, 2023, I was honored to lead the group of 700 Azerbaijani fans in Sweden-Azerbaijan match that took place in Sweden, highest away match attendance in the history of the national soccer team.”

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New skills

Shamil acquired a variety of skills during his AUBG experience.

First, the vibrant and diverse community of AUBG made him more open-minded, considerate and respectful.

I remember giving an interview to AUBG website in 2013 where I stated that studying with students from different cultures and backgrounds helped me to look at matters from their perspectives and understand them.

“That statement holds true for me even up until today.”

On the academic side, Shamil received strong technical background thanks to the many classes of programming languages he had. They are now a major part of his job as a Lead Business Architect.

“I am currently leading a group of business analysts and I am responsible for building and maintaining critical digital solutions for clients. On a day-to-day basis I am using my communication, problem solving, critical thinking, decision-making, ownership and leadership skills, which I gained while being part of Student Government.”

The Liberal Arts education of AUBG further consolidated his position among his co-workers, giving him knowledge in different areas, such as mathematics, creative arts, social sciences and foreign languages.

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Piece of advice

To the future AUBG-ers Shamil has the following piece of advice:

  • Spend your time at AUBG as fruitful as you can

“Be part of different student clubs, discover new skills and broaden your experience. Companies usually don’t look at GPA, but look at your hard and soft skills.”

  • Improve your listening and ownership skills

“I believe these two soft skills are often overlooked but seem to be critical in this current fast-paced world.”

  • Don’t be afraid of changes

“People usually choose their field of study either from what they are good at or what they see the potential in. You may start with one major, but switch to another if you don’t like it. You can also do a double degree at AUBG, which is a great opportunity and not offered in every university. Hence, don’t be afraid of changing your field of study, if you feel that’s what you want to do in the future. I was a chemist at my high school, but decided to study computer science as I saw a future in it.”

  • Learning will not stop, hence prepare yourself to learn efficiently
  • Be flexible and adaptable

“You may change the countries, workplaces or even careers. I have taken a decision to move from the Netherlands to Saudi Arabia. It was hard at the beginning as I have changed my country, workplace and role, but I was able to adapt to a new place and gain huge experience in my career for which I am happy with my decision.”

  • Make many friends

“While studying at AUBG, I have made many friends from different countries. When I travel to another country, I always try to find fellow alumni, meet them and cherish the moments we spent together.”

  • Enjoy it while you can.

“I have lived in 4 different countries, travelled to more than 45 countries, but the time I have spent at AUBG is the best one.”

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