Graduate stories: Murtuza’s Netflix binge when COVID interrupted celebrations

Posted on: 2020-09-07

COVID-19 has turned 2020 into a very tough year but amidst the pervading gloom, there have been stories to warm the heart and people achieving great feats. Our June Graduation ceremony was one of countless events unable to take place this year* but we wanted to mark the achievements of our graduates, and recognise the years of hard work they have put in to complete their degrees in pursuit of enhancing their careers in the Built Environment.


So, this week it’s Graduate Celebration Week – a chance to congratulate our graduates and hear their stories. First is our MSc Quantity Surveying graduate, Murtuza Challawala – an M&E Quantity Surveyor in Kuwait. Here, he tells his story of how he came to study with UCEM, how he found the programme and how it felt to reach his goal and graduate…


Murtuza Challawala

I am an Electrical Engineer and had been working as a contractor QS for a few years. I wanted to have a degree in quantity surveying in order to have a sound knowledge of the subject, so I decided to study on UCEM’s MSc programme.

The thing that attracted me to undertake the course at UCEM was that it is a conversion course so as a student without an academic QS background, I was able to study on it – the course is designed for students like me. Another aspect was the competitive fees for the course offered by UCEM when comparing other universities who provide similar courses, not to mention the various accreditations from professional bodies, all of which led to me to study with UCEM.

The MSc Quantity Surveying programme

The programme is very good. As a conversion course, the programme was designed in such a way that it introduced you to the topic from the basics. From there, it takes you through understanding the best practice to be followed as recognised by the industry, and the assignments test your understanding based on real life scenarios. The tutors always encourage you to think critically about the subject.

My career has changed since the inception of my studies. I have gained strong knowledge about the quantity surveying practice as a whole and become more confident when dealing with any aspect or challenge at work, with the clear knowledge of the industry best practice to be followed each time. My experience and knowledge has widened.

Student support

The support on the programme by the tutors is truly fantastic. Whether it’s on the discussion forums, webinars or chats, the tutors are available if you have any doubts about any topic. They are patient and, with many of the tutors having industry experience, have the necessary practical knowledge of the subject to make you understand. They offer assistance and help during the assignments and exam times. The tutors undertake a lot of webinars and are extremely active each day on the discussion forms. They make you aware of assignment deadlines and exam dates months in advance and help in all possible ways to help you achieve success.

Online learning

Online learning is really the way to go forward if you are looking to balance your work and studies. UCEM outline your study materials each week which vary from interviews, textbook reading, presentations  and weekly webinars which you can access at any time.


Graduating was a very special and satisfying experience. All the hard work of hours of studies, especially on the weekends, and skipping many social events was worth it in the end when receiving that elusive MSc degree. It was a sense of achievement and pride. However, a feeling also lingered about what to do next as completing the studies left a huge void which was always filled in the past few years on UCEM’s VLE with studies, tutor webinars, assignments, exams and discussion forums. My future career aspiration is to become a chartered surveyor and become a claim quantum specialist so I’m sure I’ll be busy again soon!


Initially I had planned to have a gathering of family and friends over dinner and celebrate with them but with COVID playing the spoilsport, it was reduced to just texting my fellow mates at UCEM and sharing the joy. Not to mention hours and hours of binge-watching Netflix…

Attending Graduation

Surely, it would be a tremendous opportunity to attend the Graduation Ceremony and I look forward to attending it in future if and when it takes place. I can’t wait to meet so many of my fellow course mates with whom I had lots of discussions on forums and supported each other. I would also appreciate the opportunity to meet up with the superb tutors on the MSc programme, especially Gordon [Browne], Matthew [Smith] and Paul [Fitchett].


I would like to thank the tutors for their immense support. Considering the virtual learning basis of the programme, the tutors provide the best of support and made the entire learning process enjoyable. Many Thanks to the Tutors!!!!

Thanks for sharing your story, Murtuza, and all the best with your future career!

If you would like to find out more about Murtuza’s programme, head to the MSc Quantity Surveying webpage.

* Though we are still hoping to host a Graduation ceremony for the cohort at a later point.