“I do not possess an MBA degree, but I employ people who do. I was not born with a silver spoon. Whatever I have today I have acquired with my dedication,” says Mehwish Abdul Sattar, a 25-year-old information technology entrepreneur or I would say Youngest Lady Entrepreneur of Pakistan in IT Industry.
The News Tribe recently talked to this successful businesswoman who has risen from poverty thanks to her ambitious personality and hard work. She was brought up by her mother. Her father died when she was a small child. She claimed third position in Medical College entry test, but gave up her seat in order to study Genetics at the University of Karachi.
Here are a few excerpts from the interview:
The News Tribe: Why did you choose to study cloning?
Mehwish Abdul Sattar: My mother wanted me to be a doctor, but I being an adventure-loving person wanted to do something unusual. I had achieved third position in the entry test for Medical College when I came to know about a course on genetics started by the University of Karachi. I gave up my Medical seat and got admission to this course. I faced a lot of opposition by people around me, but considering my passion, my mother finally allowed me to do this.
TNT: After graduation, why did you choose to do something that you had not studied?
MAS: I worked for many laboratories and a major hospital of Karachi after my Masters degree, but there were no opportunities to work on genetics. They kept us restricted to urine testing. When we expressed our desire to do something more, our seniors discouraged us. Even doctors discouraged us. Either they had no interest in genetics or they were not aware of its significance. Out of many students registered in our batch, only few had passed. So there should have been a number of opportunities. But it was not to be. One day a Facebook friend working for Georgia based IT Firm advised me to try my luck in information technology. I decided to give it a try and appeared for an interview in a multinational company. I was selected as a content writer. I kept learning and was made the team leader of search engine optimization team within six months. In the next three months, I was made manager and within one year I was project manager.
Thanks to social media, I got the opportunity to begin a joint venture in IT with one of the major business families in Pakistan. When it started making profit, they treated me as the weaker partners are usually treated. I didn’t do any paper work and was just working on TRUST Basis, and paid a lot for that mistake. Even being a 50% share holder and 100% working partner, I was ousted. But I did not give up hope and hard work. I had only 30,000 rupees left in account. The money was enough only to buy a used laptop, a domain (3wOgle.com), one month hosting and an internet connection. I designed a website myself. I had contacts and knew the work. I just started marketing it from home and within a week, got a first contract of 200,000PKR, wow!! That was a world to me at that time. I worked hard consistently and today 3wOgle stands on its feet Alhamdolillah. Recently got “Emerging brand of the Year Award” from Prime Minister of Pakistan in the presence of Governor Sindh, Director IPO, Chief Minister and few more well know personalities.
TNT: You are too realistic. Doesn’t it frighten you?
MAS: No. I have seen very hard times in past. I learnt the ways of this world after my father’s death. Besides, my mother has made me so strong that all that I face now seems to be a piece of cake. She taught me very clearly that worse has happened already and anything which is going to happen now will be GOOD, so I am not afraid!!
TNT: Did you ever think of giving up?
MAS: When I joined this industry, I did not know that the white collared people have black hearts. I thought of returning a few times, Being a girl, it’s really hard to survive in male dominant society, I have to prove myself at every step But thanks to my Mom and few friends in circle, they taught me how to survive.
TNT: How do you measure the advantages and the disadvantages of social media?
MAS: There are always good and bad points of everything and so is with Social Media as well. It’s YOU who will decide how you want to use the facilities. You can use TV and cell phone for both good and bad purpose yeah? Same in case of Social Media!! There is everything everywhere. Why blame social media only then? If there had been no Facebook, I might not have been what I am today!! I got first Job, first break, first project all through social media and still getting 80% of my business from social network!! Try it out!!
TNT: Pakistanis are called experts in reverse engineering or in other words dismantling everything they find. Are they doing this to the field of IT as well?
MAS: Yes, there is a bad perception of the country among international clients. We have to face several questions. We have to tell them that Pakistan is not what they see on the TV. When we satisfy them with our work, they change their opinion about Pakistanis. I always tell them I am Proud Pakistani and there are many like me in Pakistan. They should trust us, through IT, we can spread love, trust and peace and can open new ways of Trade which will help the economy world wide.
This interview is part of a series designed to introduce young graduates and students to the prospects in practical life for them and the problems they might face.