The Alien in a Foreign Land – My Story of Integrating at TAI

My parents didn’t understand it. My sisters supported it. A lot of my friends just gave me blank stares. Those were the initial reactions I got when I told them I was going to be pursuing a Masters in Advertising at Southern Methodist University. Students from my region, that is, the Indian subcontinent, do NOT study something from the School of Arts. It’s either STEM or an MBA. My mind was pretty set though. And my conversation with Dr. La Ferle, and the sheer transparency that she provided in respect to the program, gave me ample confidence that this made sense.

AHM Mustafizur Rahman is a first year graduate student in the MA in Advertising program.
AHM Mustafizur Rahman is a first year graduate student in the MA in Advertising program. 

My undergrads were in economics, but it never really struck a chord with me. I always liked human behavior, psychology, and I always liked watching ads. After working in the marketing department of a local company, I knew I wanted a better understanding of consumers and the world of advertising. But where I come from, advertising programs are rare, and given my economic background, difficult for me to entertain the possibility of pursuing it elsewhere. That’s where TAI came in. Besides offering a program that piqued my interest from the very moment I visited the website (the landing page is an excellent attention grabber), TAI offers what most international students crave – financial aid. The small and intimate class size is also a benefit, especially for somebody with no prior experience in advertising. I am allowed the luxury of meeting and speaking to all the professors, and gaining valuable insight beyond classroom readings.

As crazy as some might think my decisions to be, I believe they’re not looking at the bigger picture. Dallas is a city filled with many opportunities in my field. I am in a program and school that is extremely well known and respected, surrounded by professors with vast industry experience. Sure, it’s not common for a person from Bangladesh to be where I am. However, I see myself growing into the program, gaining the tools and wisdom required, and hopefully carrying over my learning to a professional experience here in Dallas. I also have the opportunity to delve into further research and pursue a PhD, or indeed go back to Bangladesh, which as a developing country is undergoing exciting changes where advertising and media expertise will only gain further prominence. Therefore, despite appearing to be crazy, I believe I’ve got my bases covered. And over time, I’m looking forward to proving my doubters wrong—and hopefully inspiring others to go for what they believe in.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *