Published: 18 October 2023

“Having additional financial support takes a huge amount of pressure off me”

We caught up with our first Battersea Scholar, Anwar, who’s starting his third year at Surrey! 

How was your second year at Surrey? 

It was significantly better than the tumultuous first one I experienced. My initial year was full of upheaval, largely due to the loss of my mother. However, my second proved to be much smoother and more enjoyable. This stability allowed me to be more organised and disciplined in my studies. Additionally, my personal life and well-being have been far more settled.

What was the highlight of the course in year two? 

The best part was learning about business law. I found it enlightening and I like the subject. I’m even doing additional research in this area and learning more about topics such as misrepresentation and employment law. It’s fascinating. 

What was your social highlight? 

I’ve managed the balance between my studies and my social life a lot better in my second year, and it’s been more enjoyable. 

The Salsa Society had a lot of meet-ups, and myself and my friends hosted a few BBQs as well. The latter were lots of fun as the weather was very accommodating.

What will you remember most about your second year? 

I met Bollywood star Suniel Shetty and several of his business associates, which was amazing. 

I’ve also experienced a lot of personal and academic growth. I started reading a lot of books and other content linked to my coursework. At Surrey Business School, we have a free subscription to the Financial Times, so I made an effort to better understand financial markets. I’m currently reading a book offering a technical analysis of the financial market. 

I’m more disciplined about my gym and exercise routine, too. I go to the gym four days a week, which helps with my mental health. It’s definitely been a year of personal development. 

What are the key lessons you’ve learnt at Surrey so far? 

A key lesson for me is to remain resilient and be determined to never give up, no matter what I’m doing and what obstacle I’m facing. A few of my friends found it tough in the first year. They ended up quitting when there was support available for them, only if they could have asked for it. 

Another critical lesson is the importance of seeking assistance and not being afraid to ask for it. The worst-case scenario is receiving a “No”. But, more often than not, someone will offer help or connect you with someone whose role it is to support you. It's essential to find ways to navigate through difficult times by reaching out for help when needed. Better days are always ahead.

Have your ambitions changed in the last year? 

My goals to run my own business, and nurture and support talent haven’t changed. What has changed is that I now have more refined and advanced skill sets to achieve those objectives, and I’m adding to them all the time. 

My career aims remain quite lofty. I read a quote the other day, which went, “If your goals don’t scare you, then they aren’t big enough.” I wish to maintain a certain level of apprehension, but I’m confident I can accomplish incredible things by surrounding myself with the right people.

What difference has the Battersea Scholarship made? 

It continues to make a huge difference. Having additional financial support takes a huge amount of pressure off me. This year, in particular, it’s given me breathing space to ensure I can have a better study-life balance. That lack of additional stress means I can focus more on my degree. 

My time management is much better and I’ve been able to not only keep up with the coursework demands, but it’s allowed me to get ahead and stay ahead on assignments. I haven’t got my results back yet, but I’m confident I’ve done well. A lot of that will be because of the additional support the Battersea Fund has given me. 

We lost Battersea Fund pioneer Mike Banfield earlier this year. What impact did he make on you? 

Quite simply, Mike was a great person and an inspirational figure. It was impossible not to be motivated by his endless enthusiasm. 

Mike achieved so much in his career that you could always learn from him. He always encouraged me to never give up and keep striving for my goals. He also led by example. At an age where most people would be enjoying retirement, he was promoting the Battersea Fund, wanting to help young people get access to higher education in the way that he’d been helped as an undergraduate. 

I attended Mike’s funeral and it was a sad day for everyone. But I felt proud to know I was part of his legacy, and it’s a legacy that will continue at Surrey for many years to come. 

You met our second Battersea Scholar, Luke. Are you looking forward to meeting the third one in October? 

As the first Battersea Scholar, I feel a certain responsibility to take on a mentoring role. I hope to provide any necessary guidance or advice. It will be wonderful to welcome a new member to our Battersea family. 

Learn more about our Battersea Scholarship Fund.

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