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Balancing Dreams and Duty: A Journey of Personal and Professional Choices

Iris Pokharel (Global MBA 2024 Spring)

June 6, 2024

Back in October 2023, I gave my IELTS exam and thought of applying to the University of Adelaide for a master’s in data science. It had been four years since I completed my undergraduate degree in computer science, and I was working professionally as an automation engineer. Many thoughts come to mind when contemplating leaving one’s home country, and mine were no different. As the youngest of two brothers and never having faced the struggles I would have to in a foreign land, these challenges were foremost in my mind. Another recurring thought was my father’s dream of doing business with his son, as he had with his father. However, my parents never pressured me to stay. They always prioritized education and knew that my education abroad, coupled with being an IT graduate, would be beneficial. Being a millennial, I felt the weight of being one of the only two children living in Nepal, wanting to contribute to the country where my grandfather laid the foundation of hard work and sustainable business. It was tough, especially as close friends were leaving the country. In the end, I had to decide. I firmly believe that time and tide wait for no one and opportunities are fleeting. After some contemplation, I asked myself, why not try to make a difference in Nepal? Despite the lack of success stories, we live in a country where people lead lavish and glorious lives. There are two sides to a coin, and each side has its significance. The joy of staying close to my parents, combined with my passion for the software industry and my father’s business dream, led me to decide to stay and explore various options. Once I decided to stay, the next challenge was pursuing a master’s degree. I had two options: continue my journey in information technology with an MSc in IT or shift to management. I considered pursuing an MBA later, as I believed it would benefit my future plans, and I contemplated studying in Nepal. I was apprehensive about studying a business subject, given my lack of experience and my aversion to failure, especially after a four-year break from active study. Despite my concerns, I joined the program and, to my surprise, found that I loved the field. I am a firm believer that hard work and smart work yield good results. Although they don’t always ensure success, your dedication and decisions throughout the process will always hold value. Expectations have their good and bad effects. It’s not that I believe my master’s degree will directly lead to a profitable business; rather, I believe that gaining knowledge and understanding from various perspectives, including theories and case studies, will be beneficial in the long run. Life is full of surprises. I may not achieve everything I could in a foreign country, but at least I will share the same time zone with my parents and enjoy the breeze of my homeland. Nothing compares to Jhapa’s warmth and charm. Happiness is undefined and varies from person to person, but at this point in my life, my happiness lies in my upbringing, the support of my family and friends, and the challenge of achieving my career goals. In the end, the essence of life is celebrating it, no matter the situation it places you in!