The Crown Master – Dr Sameer Quraeshi
Dr Sameer Quraeshi is one the most renowned prosthodontists in Pakistan. Dr Quraeshi is a graduate of FJDC, Karachi and then went on to do his Masters’ in Fixed Prosthodontics from the University of Manchester. He is known both nationally and internationally for his thirst for knowledge and professional development. During the course of the interview, Dr Quraeshi explains how the Clinical Masters’ changed the course of his professional career.
Q. What made you do a masters’ from the UK?
One should always keep alive the hunger for learning and development; this hunger has to be at the maximum level when you are young. I, after doing my BDS, wanted to learn more and do more. I started searching for available options and also consulted my seniors. Soon I found a direction which led me to an M.Sc. in fixed prosthetics from the University of Manchester.
I had set myself an aim to bring back something that we were lacking here in Pakistan.
Q. What difference did you see in the teaching system of Pakistan and the UK?
Well, firstly I would like to say that whatever I am today is because of my teachers. Pakistan has one of the best teachers in the world, but they are limited by resources.
In comparison, I would say that the whole approach is different, perhaps everything is different. The teachers and even the students are extremely professional and focused. You are set deadlines, and then it is for you to meet them. There is just no room to err; and perhaps this is what develops you as a strong professional. The teachers are very humble; you really don’t realize the professional stature of a teacher when you first see them, but as soon as you go through their credentials – you simply get amazed.
I have felt that the teachers there have a hunger to teach, they want people to learn. Then again, it is for the student to learn. The more you desire, the more you will learn.
The curriculum is very different. There are several things that we see in books only, there you get to use them. There were several instances, when while in the UK, I was asked to use instruments that I had seen only in my text books. Today I make sure that I make my students use most of what I have learnt.
If I were to summarize it all in one word, I would say that the system in the UK simply opens up your mind.
Q. What were your inherent fears when applying for the program?
Well, there are some pre application fears like program acceptance, visa, travel and more; but I don’t think that this is that big a problem. Most things usually fall in place automatically once you take the first step. The fears did also include the apprehension to leave my family and friends, but the world today is a global village. Today it is easier to travel and stay in touch with your family than ever before.
Then, I had cultural fears. How fit would I be in the University? How easy would it be for me to communicate? How much study strain would I take upon myself? Will I go through the program? How will the program help me professionally? How much do I need to learn, and how? How can I make the most of my time?
Well, these are just what goes through every student who is going to study abroad. The positive thing is that to address the above mentioned, Universities have an orientation program. The orientation may last up to a week. During this time, the University makes sure that the student is made comfortable with the environment, schedules, routines and most of all – people. The program at Manchester was excellent.
Q. Why do you think is it important for professionals from Pakistan to get foreign education?
We are ambassadors of our country. We are being observed for everything that we do, how we do and what we do. It is essential that good professionals for Pakistan go and study at foreign universities; and there they must act as country ambassadors. It is important that we play our part to change the global perception about Pakistan.
Here I would relate an interesting question that I was asked whilst my stay in Manchester; “Do you work in tents back in Pakistan, Sameer?”
You would expect that the person couldn’t have been serious while asking this question, sadly he was. This is the perception that the world has about us; and it is time that we play our part to change it.
Q. What would be the best time for a student to plan a Masters’ Program and how should they plan the finances?
That is truly for the student to evaluate. The student must assess carefully the field he wishes to pursue and then choose the subject of specialization.
Medical and Dental Education is expensive, and this applies globally; but I can assure you that every penny spent is worth it. I can also guarantee that you will recover your spending in terms of Professional growth, stature, respect and development. Students should look to broaden their horizons, only then can they excel in this competitive world.
Q. What would your advice be to the youngsters who wish to be the next crown master?
Horizons will always be limited until you put an effort together to raise the bar. Set yourself challenges, and then challenge yourself to achieve those challenges. Look for a better future and aim for a Master’s program that could take you to newer levels. You must be abreast with the latest technology and practice of your time. Keep looking to upgrade and keep looking for a change. Ask Allah to help you achieve your goals, and work with utmost sincerity – you will be successful!