Founder, The Bread Charity
Mustafa Sheikh developed a strong work ethic during his Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Chemistry degree.
"I wanted to study science because I like how the answers are absolute. There is no subjectivity as in other assignment-based courses, the answer is either right or wrong. With a BSc one can also take a number of electives, so I did Statistics up till stage III as well as some coding papers. I’m fluent in PHP, Python and HTML as well as SAS (stats). It’s a really versatile degree and if utilised well you can come out very well rounded.
"Since I graduated I've worked on a few Startup companies. It involves searching for an innovative idea and developing a financially viable business around it. I have also dedicated a significant amount of time to founding Bread Charity which helps children living in poverty. We also run the largest supercar (Ferrari, Lamborghini, McLaren etc) events in New Zealand with 100% going to children we help.
The work ethic I have developed through university has really helped me. These core values are universal and can apply to any field. A BSc really teaches how to think in a calculated rational manner.
"What I liked the most about studying a BSc is the versatitlity of selecting electives. Chemistry itself is pretty interesting too. It’s not as black and white as one might think. We use electron microscopes to look at samples, design drugs + investigate the binding sites, synthesise compounds in the lab, delve into quantum physics. It really emphasises creativity and involves a high degree of dexterity in the labs. It’s quite a complex degree.
"I was awarded a research scholarship that involved investigating calcium phosphate nucleation. It took my skills to the next level. You’re on your own being paid for a research project, so it really polishes up your work ethic because you have alot of responsibility. You have to be certain and decisive with your thinking. In your undergraduate degree, you can always run it past an assistant, but with research you’re responsible for your work. I had an amazing supervisor who I look up to, to this day. He taught me “do it once, do it right” through that period, and Its made be really focused on attention to detail and getting things right the first time ever since.
What I really enjoy about the work i do is starting something new and watching ideas flourish. The success of the Bread Charity has been amazing. The ability to give back to my community is priceless. Especially since it’s a charity, I think raising $1 for charity is the equivalent for $10 in a normal business. So to succeed and develop a self sufficient funding model, which is consistent, is a highlight.
"Business is like being in the lab. You come up with a hypothesis (what you expect to happen when launching a new idea), develop a business plan which is exactly the same as preparing a lab report, and go through trial and error with different approaches - whereas in the lab we would adjust variables of the experiment. My business reports look exactly like my honours dissertation.
"A BSc is a perfect degree and will prepare you well for life."