2021 MBAs To Watch: Azwad Haider, Texas A&M (Mays)

Azwad Haider

Texas A&M, Mays Business School

“Avid learner, passionate about continuous self-development, and an unyielding preacher of servant leadership.”

Hometown: Chittagong, Bangladesh

Fun fact about yourself: I am a huge 2nd world war history enthusiast; I have watched almost all 2nd world war documentaries and read most historical books written in English on the subject.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Coventry University, UK. BEng. in Automotive Engineering

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? I worked for British American Tobacco (BAT) before enrolling in business school for about six years. I played various roles in operations and supply chain during that time; in my last role before the MBA program as a sourcing manager in BAT Bangladesh, I managed a $120M direct materials budget and a large and diverse local and global supply base.

Where did you intern during the summer of 2020? I worked with the Business Operations team of Dell Technologies’ Server business in Austin, Texas. My project delivered a continuous improvement framework to improve reporting and analytics processes and identified net P&L savings opportunities of $2 M annualized.

Where will you be working after graduation? I started working as Senior Advisor in the Business Operations team in Dell Technologies’ cloud platform business in February 2021 after graduation.

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School: I worked as the graduate assistant for the MBA Admissions team at Mays Business School during the program. I also served as a graduation committee member and executed a successful graduation ceremony within the constraints imposed by the pandemic.


  • Bala Shetty MBA Scholar Award, alongside three other stellar members of my class for high academic achievements
  • Recipient of Mays MBA Merit Scholarship

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? As the graduate assistant of Full-Time MBA Admissions, I worked alongside our student-run MBA association and Women MBA association to design and roll-out a Mentorship program for admitted students and new students coming into the program. The initiative helped admitted students to learn quickly about the program, made it easier for them to transition back to school, and gave current students valuable mentoring experience.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? As Manufacturing Cell manager with BAT at Dhaka factory, I led autonomous maintenance deployment, which delivered unprecedented productivity improvements and employee skills improvement. The initiative focused on ensuring 100% employee involvement in achieving business results and higher empowerment; this has created a step improvement in the factory’s culture. A factory with over 800 employees has seen its workforce become more skilled, driven, and aligned with the business’ vision like never seen before. My involvement in this process is my proudest achievement in my career so far.

Why did you choose this business school? When I was researching various MBA programs in 2018, I had the opportunity of speaking with alumni and current students of different programs. Mays MBA students and alumni clearly stood out to me in those conversations as the most welcoming, helpful, and willing to lend a hand. That, along with the fact that the Mays MBA program is one of the tops in the world in terms of value for money, are reasons I felt this was the right business school for me, and I have never felt otherwise since.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Janet Marcantonio was my favorite MBA professor; she taught us our leadership development course and supervised my capstone project. I always found her fully invested in the MBA degree’s most core objective, in my opinion, which is self-awareness and continuous self-development. She immensely helped me to understand myself better and to understand how others perceive me. I also found her very accommodating in tailoring her teaching approach to suit student’s needs. I’ll always leverage her as a great resource beyond business school as a mentor, and I am sure it will help me enormously in my career.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? Mays MBA Follies fundraising event would be my favorite event in business school. This event allowed people to come together for a cause to support the community and help people in need. We raised money to fund the recreation of kids with disabilities in Burton, Texas. Our yearly Mays MBA Brisket Bowl brings together students and alumni in a fun setting. It allows quality networking to current students to learn from former aggies’ experiences, which is another of my favorite traditions. These events emphasize the culture of loyalty and selfless service among the current and former aggies, which are also core values of Texas A&M.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why?Texas A&M offers a lot of opportunities for getting involved and learning new things while in school. If I did it again, I would get more involved in investment management clubs and perhaps try to learn a new language while in school. Business schools offer many resources that are hard to come by or too expensive when one is out of school. My two cents of advice to future business school students would be to identify two or three professional or personal development areas early in their MBAs and fully utilize the resources available in business school.

What is the biggest myth about your school? There is the perception that College Station (home to Texas A&M) is in the middle of nowhere, and there isn’t much to do here. My experience has been that it’s a very vibrant town with over 60K students. With the right company, anyone would make unforgettable memories here.

What surprised you the most about business school? I was quite surprised by how invested I found the professors in students’ success in the business school. I emailed professors for support after school hours and during weekends and holidays and have always found them willing to help.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? I networked with and spoke to alumni and current students before applying to any MBA programs. I believe it painted a clearer picture of the program’s culture and expectations and this immensely helped me be competitive in the application process.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Amine Fares, one of my classmates who served as our MBA Association President, is the classmate I admire most. Amine is an avid listener, extraordinarily inclusive, and a binding force that brings people together and makes things happen. I am quite sure that I’d speak for my classmates if I said that our MBA experience wouldn’t have been as fun and fulfilling if it wasn’t for Amine.

How disruptive was it to shift to an online or hybrid environment after COVID hit?The shift to the hybrid environment was certainly challenging at the beginning. However, the program staff’s above and beyond work and the extraordinary support from the faculty made sure that the pandemic didn’t take anything away from the academic experience. Having said that, I feel it was easier for our class, who had started the program in an in-person setting and had the chemistry and trust built among us. I can’t imagine how difficult it must have been for the class after us, who had to start their MBA program in a virtual environment.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My uncle Matiul Nowshad was the most influential in my decision to pursue an MBA. He has always helped me to plan my career from the experiences of his own immensely successful professional career. Ever since I was in high school, his mentorship has enabled me to make better and timely decisions, and I am thankful for having such a great mentor.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?

  1. In 10 years, I want to start my own company in Bangladesh and create at least ten thousand new jobs in my lifetime.
  2. I eventually want to pursue a career in politics and run for a public office in Bangladesh.

What made Azwad such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2021?

“Among members of the Full-Time MBA Class of 2021, Azwad Haider stood out as “the rising tide that lifts all boats.” Within his cohort, he was ubiquitously known for two things: always lending a hand and, as one classmate put it, “his unbelievable ability to look at a problem and quickly develop a creative, coherent, outside-the-box solution that is both actionable and successful.” Noting Azwad’s “active listening superpower” and “genius contributions in class,” another classmate captured the consensus perfectly: “Azwad is crazy intelligent and truly cares about others. If he contributes to his next team the way he contributed to ours, they will be so thankful to have him.”

As Azwad’s capstone professor, I had the opportunity to observe his creativity and ingenuity firsthand, when he worked with a former Marine classmate to improve operations at a well-known Houston eatery. With an above-average number of surprises and obstacles, the project required the ability to conduct sound business analysis while keeping the client’s mindset firmly in view.  As adeptly as any McKinsey or BCG consultant, Azwad stepped into the client’s shoes, adhered to first-order questions, and found creative ways to make the business stronger and better positioned for the future. Among the qualities I admire most about Azwad are his patience, his self-awareness, and his passion for continuous improvement. With his rare talent for removing rose-colored glasses while simultaneously looking on the bright side, Azwad helps teams and organizations face facts, see possibilities, and quickly move in a positive direction. Whatever the challenge, I would sign up eagerly if I knew Azwad were leading the charge.”

Dr. Janet Marcantonio
Executive Professor
Mays Business School



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