Sheeba Sultana

MIB Student Spotlight: Sheeba Sultana

Sheeba Sultana (MIB ’23) is an online student in the Master of International Business (MIB) program. She shares how the program has empowered her professionally and as a woman in technology.

Sheeba Sultana

Q: Tell us about yourself.

Sultana: “I’m Sheeba Sultana and I hail from Bangalore, also known as the ‘Silicon Valley of India.’ Growing up, I was always fascinated by technology and its potential to transform our lives. This led me to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science Engineering, which I completed with honors. Throughout my journey, I have always been drawn to taking chances and trying new things. I am not the kind of person who is afraid to take risks and step outside my comfort zone. I’m always eager to explore new avenues and learn as much as I can. This willingness to take chances has made me who I am today. When I’m not tinkering with computers or experimenting with new ideas, you can find me exploring the great outdoors, swimming or indulging in adventurous sports.”

Q: Why did you join the MIB program?

Sultana: “For starters, I did not want to pursue a traditional master’s degree as I felt that it would limit my career prospects. Instead, I was looking for a program that would provide me with a more versatile skill set and prepare me for the dynamic and constantly evolving global business landscape. I was particularly excited about the range of opportunities that the program provides, including study abroad programs, internships and other experiential learning opportunities. This program is designed to develop the skills necessary for managing the complexities of international business, including cultural differences, foreign policies and global competition.”

Q: As an online student, what were the challenges you faced?

Sultana: “One of the main difficulties I have encountered is staying motivated and engaged. It can be challenging to remain focused and productive while studying in an online environment. You have to be self-disciplined and manage time effectively to meet the coursework requirements.”

Q: What is the best part about the MIB program?

Sultana: “The best part about this program is that it offers flexibility in choosing subjects, allowing me to specialize in the areas of business that interest me the most. This has enabled me to tailor my education to my personal and professional goals and better prepare me for the type of career I want to pursue.

“Moreover, the program has provided me with the opportunity to learn from a diverse cohort of students and faculty members. The global perspective offered by the program has helped me to gain an understanding of different cultures, languages and business practices, which is critical in today’s interconnected world.”

Q: How has this program prepared you for the job market?

Sultana: “At UF we have a dedicated career services team that provides guidance and support to students looking for internships or full-time employment opportunities. Thanks to Debra Marcum and her team, I attended workshops and seminars to learn about the job market, networking and how to prepare for interviews. They also helped me with resume and cover letter reviews, which helped me to tailor my applications for specific jobs.

“I’m also planning to take advantage of the immersion programs offered by the MIB program, which provides an opportunity to gain international experience and develop a global perspective. These experiences not only enhance one’s knowledge of foreign cultures and business practices but also help to make professional connections that might be beneficial in job search.”

Sheeba Sultana on a city street.

Q: Tell us about your current job. How do you manage working while in school?

Sultana: “Three things that have really worked for me are effective time management, communication and prioritization. As a Market Research Analyst at Salesforce, my role involves conducting research on market trends and competitor analysis to inform business strategy and decision-making. I work closely with cross-functional teams, including sales, marketing and stakeholders to develop insights that drive business growth.

“I try to prioritize my work and academic responsibilities based on their urgency and importance, making sure to allocate sufficient time and attention to each task. By maintaining a detailed calendar, effective study habits and prioritizing my health and wellbeing, I am able to achieve success in both my academic and professional pursuits.”

Q: What is your advice for other online MIB students?

Sultana: “Take advantage of the flexibility of the program while staying organized. Having a schedule really works! It can be tempting to procrastinate or let coursework pile up, but setting aside specific times each day or week for studying and completing assignments can help you stay on track and avoid falling behind.

“Also, be proactive in communicating with your professors and classmates. Even though you may not be physically present on campus, there are still opportunities to connect with your peers through online discussions and forums. Participating in class discussions and reaching out to your professors for clarification can help you stay engaged and connected to the course material.”

Q: What does International Women’s Day mean for you?

Sultana: “As a woman working in tech, International Women’s Day holds a special place in my heart. It is a reminder of my own journey and the struggles and obstacles I have faced, but also a celebration of the progress that women in tech have made. From a young age, I have been intrigued and captivated by technology. But as a woman, I often felt like an outsider in this male-dominated industry. Despite my passion and dedication, I found it hard to break through the barriers and stereotypes that held me back.

“But over the years, I have seen the tech industry slowly but surely become more inclusive and diverse. I have witnessed the incredible contributions of women in tech. I feel fortunate to be a part of a company like Salesforce that truly values diversity, equality and inclusion. Our women leaders, such as CEO Arundhati Bhattacharya, COO Sangeetha Giri and many other senior women leaders, are paving the way for other women to succeed and thrive in their careers.

“For me, International Women’s Day is a reminder of the persistent challenges that we face, including unconscious bias, gender discrimination and the gender pay gap and the importance of continuing to push for gender equality in the tech industry and beyond.

“It is a day to celebrate our collective strength and resilience, and to achieve anything we set our minds to. I feel a deep sense of gratitude and pride for all the women who have come before me and for the incredible community of women in tech who continue to inspire and support me.”

Q: Is there a woman in your life who has been particularly inspirational to you?

Sultana: “As a young corporate professional, I always try to find inspiration from women leaders who have broken glass ceilings and inspired others to follow in their footsteps. And in my personal opinion, I love the personality of my boss, Arundhati Bhattacharya, the CEO of Salesforce India.

“Bhattacharya’s career, spanning over four decades, is a testament to her resilience, perseverance and leadership. She began her career as a probationary officer with the State Bank of India (SBI) and rose to become the first woman to head the bank as its chairperson. Her tenure at SBI was marked by significant reforms and a focus on social causes like financial inclusion, education and empowering women. After her retirement, she joined Salesforce India as CEO. Her appointment as the first woman to lead the company in the country broke barriers and set an example for women in leadership roles.

“I have been fortunate enough to have an opportunity to interact with her, and to listen and learn from her experiences is inspirational. What makes Arundhati Bhattacharya truly admirable is her commitment to empowering women in leadership roles. She has been a vocal advocate for gender diversity in the workplace and created several opportunities for women to advance their careers. Her efforts have paved the way for a more inclusive and equitable workplace for women.

“She has shown that with hard work, perseverance and a commitment to excellence, anyone can achieve their goals and make a meaningful impact in their field. And I find this exact this to be most inspiring about her.”