It is a position which someone just graduating from university may not be in again for many years to come, so the responsibilities that come with being a President and Director of a company are extremely lucrative. Here, De Montfort Students’ Union’s (DSU) new President, Ahtesham Mahmood speaks of his delight at securing DSU’s top job and what he’ll be doing to make the student experience at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) ‘truly unforgettable.’
After running four election campaigns, Ahtesham Mahmood has finally fulfilled a six year long dream to become President of De Montfort Students’ Union (DSU).
His passion for student representation at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) was evident as he spoke about his university experience to date, his election successes and failures and why he thinks he’s the right man for the job.
“I started at DMU in 2011 and immediately the role of President took a shine to me and it felt like a position I could be successful in.
“So over the years, I’ve built my way up the ladder, having a go in a number of election campaigns and finally, I’m where I’ve always wanted to be.”
Over the last year, Ahtesham has held the position as Vice President Student Activities at DSU. In 2014, Ahtesham fell short in his attempt to become President, so turned his attentions to a Vice President role in 2015 and 2016, with success in the latter.
Outlining one of his reasons for running for President, the Pharmaceutical and Cosmetic Science BSc (Hons) and MSc Pharmaceutical Quality by Design graduate said: “Final year taught me how the student experience can be very different from person to person.
“I always had a good experience of having good lecturers, tutorials and access to everything I could possibly need, but despite my positive impression of the student experience, it isn’t the same for everyone.
“Therefore, I want to make it my aim to ensure that every student who could do with assistance gets what they need to make them happier about university life in Leicester and help student retention.
“By doing this I hope that I and the rest of the executive team at DSU, can move forward with our agenda, champion it and work to the best of our abilities to nail down that DMU is the best place to study in the UK, not just academically, but in terms of the student experience too.”
While studying at DMU, Ahtesham was involved in a number of positions from being a Course Rep, a School Rep Coordinator, a Student Trustee and an Alumni Trustee.
These roles which are directly related to DSU stood him in good stead going into an election campaign.
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“All of these roles gave me the confidence to go for this role, which I probably didn’t have when I first started at DMU or when I ran in my first election.
“In terms of after my time at DMU and DSU, I can’t quite figure out what I want to do yet, but I hope this role, travelling on international academic trips, representing DMU’s 24,000 students, will set me on the right career path.
“This opportunity is one in a million; I will relish it and throw myself into it as much as I possibly can.”
Being President of DSU comes with high pressure and a great deal of responsibility. Not only will here be deciding on the direction of DSU moving forward, but it’s fulfiller will represent students on faculty board meetings, university teaching and learning committees, campus transformation boards as well as being as well as being appointed Chair of the DSU Trustee Board.
So, what does Ahtesham want to do in his time as President?
“What I have learnt so much during my role this year is that I need to streamline my ideas more. I feel like in am constantly peppering the office with ideas.
“We need to ensure we slow down, select carefully the ideas we want to implement so that they are sustainable, make a real difference and meet the strategic objectives and DNA of DSU.”
Ahtesham will set out trying to achieve three key objectives in his role as President. First he wants to ensure students get the adequate exam feedback, so that they can rectify weak areas and work their hardest to achieve a first class degree.
He wants to work on creating a DSU Market Place for students particularly from the Art, Design and Humanities and Technology faculty’s to not only showcase their work, but sell it. This will ensure that when students go to an interview they have the confidence to say that they have already sold their work and have testimonials that they can produce for market.
Finally, he wants to ensure DMU is accessible to all, from where exams are held, where and how work it is submitted and after hours activities, so that students can get involved when it suits them, they have breathing space and are comfortable in their study surroundings.
Ahtesham ended by saying: “Everyone wants to enjoy a good student experience, but some students don’t always make use of the student experience to the best of their ability.
“We want to ensure the first class delivery of services together with the university and I will utilise my developed contacts to ensure we give them exactly what they deserve.”
Follow Ahtesham’s time in office on the DSU website or follow him on Twitter.
READ MORE: Check our DSU's introduction to their new President here.
Posted on Friday 28th July 2017