Nazarbayev University
Graduate School of Education

Graduate School of Education


Nurlan Zhanybek

Nurlan Zhanybek

Nurlan Zhanybek

Program: M.Sc. in Educational Leadership, Inclusive Education track

Year of enrollment – year of graduation: 2013-2014

Research area/ topic: ICT skills & Teacher Professional Development

Current employment status and occupation: Microsoft Kazakhstan LLP
Education Lead for CIS region

It has been some time since you graduated from your program at NUGSE. Looking back, what do you think is the most exciting thing about studying at NUGSE?

I would say there were several great things about studying at NU. One of them was meeting great people: professors. I learned a lot from them on how to do a right a research, taking into account international standards for academic writing. Getting to know them gave me opportunities to ask and learn how the world of academics is set up and what it is to be a researcher. Of course, you have to develop on your own, but “getting started” skills you definitely get. Engaging with professors from USA, Spain, Greece, Kazakhstan and other countries presented excellent exposure to international opinions on hot topics in education and provided clarity on how to make unbiased research and looking at situation at various angles. Last but not least, it is my peers. There were 50 of us, all taking the challenge to become first graduates of GSE. It gave us a pride to do our best and contribute to the society. We are keeping in touch up to date and helping each other where possible.

What has NUGSE gave you? What qualities do employers/partners value the most?

I learnt academic writing, how to do search for scientific articles using research database and many other skills which allowed to complete program successfully. Speaking about employment. It depends on where you would go and work. If it is research institution, definitely, I would say – NUGSE is best place to get those skills. This will be key for nailing that job. I know that many of my peers are business people, having their own private companies. I think it also helps them to provide better services, having skills from doing masters’ degree. Speaking about myself and working for international company, I would say that employers seek experience and skills. Mostly, it will depend of what type of industry you will be working. In my case, this is IT and education. However, right now, I would say most employers regardless of industry seek the following skills that would increase your chances to nail the job of your dream. First of all, ability to work in teams, i.e. collaboration/communication skills. We are getting away from individual work, with more focus on project-based work, where team is the most important component. Secondly, analyzing information and making best of it. Right now, in each market, employers/companies face competition. In this regard, skilled people in analytics can play significant role in company’s success. Lastly, I would say – learning on the go. Yes, you finished university, got the right degree. But if you stop learning, you won’t reach new heights. Here, I would suggest and ask to develop learning qualities, e.g. try to set up a personal plan for development for 3,6,12 months and stick to it. In the long run, it will pay off your efforts. As example where to learn, explore open courses available at Khan Academy, OpenEdX, Coursera platforms

Advise for potential applicants for GSE study

#1. Know your research topic well in advance before applying. This is save a lot and help you work on your research paper early enough to allow better preparation. #2. Learn to read fast. You will be tasked to read plenty of papers, books, articles and make something out of it. If you read a lot, your life as a student will be much easier. #3. Learn from your peers and ask for help. Perhaps you weren’t taught at school/university how to do academic research. Neither was I. So during your study, interact with as many peers as possible, not only from your cohort, but from other schools at NU, so you will have 360-degree view on learning to become top-notch researcher.