Strathclyde People 2017
Alumna of the Year
Baroness Nosheena Mobarik CBE
Baroness Nosheena Mobarik CBE was born in Pakistan but moved to Glasgow aged five. She is joint Chief Executive of M Computer Technologies and a former chair of the CBI Scotland.
She is founder and convenor of the Scotland Pakistan Network and a tireless campaigner for humanitarian causes and was recently appointed to represent Scotland as an MEP.
She graduated with a BA (Hons) in Economic and Social History from Strathclyde in 1991, and was named Alumna of the Year for 2017.
- What did you want to be when you were growing up?
Always an artist. I loved art at school, and I remember my teacher being very annoyed when I didn’t apply to go to art college.
- What made you choose to study at Strathclyde?
I thought that Strathclyde would be a less formal and intimidating university. And that’s how it turned out. I always felt at home there – it was a relaxed and welcoming place to be.
- Do you have a favourite memory of your time at university?
Apart from graduation day, I valued the friendships I made with history professors John Butt, Jim McMillan and Gordon Jackson. All sadly no longer with us, but gigantic personalities and authorities on their subject.
- Looking back, what advice would you give your 18-year-old self?
It’s a cliché but I wish I’d told myself to be more confident. Don’t listen to the people who say you’re not good enough or not smart enough.
- What do you consider your biggest achievement in business?
My husband and I started M Computer Technologies in 1987 and with a lot of incredibly hard work created a successful business. Surviving the economic downturn of recent years was probably the biggest achievement. We came out of it stronger, fitter and smarter.
- What motivates you to lead in public service?
Honestly, I see it as my duty. Both my parents gave their time and energy (and money) to help others.
My mother ran a school at weekends to teach Urdu and Arabic – she believed it was important that Asian children in Glasgow retained their culture and religion. My father (Tufail Shaheen MBE) was a leading figure in the building of the Glasgow Central Mosque.
- What problems in the world keep you awake at night?
Without a doubt, the political instability around the world today. There seems to be new flashpoints as we speak. The breakdown of law and order, poverty, environmental issues... it’s all so overwhelming.
- If you were invited to speak at the United Nations, what would be the theme of your speech?
I’d call for greater understanding between nations, religions and cultures. We are THE human race, with so much technology and resources at our fingertips to make the world a great place for all.
- Describe your perfect day off?
Easy. I’d get up early and head to the north of Scotland and go walking in the hills. I’d feel the fresh air, read a book and have a cup of tea. Then back home to cook a nice meal for friends and family. Plenty of chat, then watch an episode of Game of Thrones.
- Do you have a favourite website?
I can get lost in websites featuring contemporary Scottish art. There are a lot of talented artists out there.
- You’ve been described as one of Scotland’s 50 most influential women. Who inspires or influences you?
I’d have to say my parents but I’m also in awe of ordinary people who work so hard and selflessly to help others.