Mentor Community Spotlight: Asim Bharoocha

I have been mentoring all my life – guiding and counseling friends, classmates, workmates, family members. It was a platform to go worldwide.

Our spotlight this week is on Asim Bharoocha. Asim is a Mentor for Introduction to Personal Branding.

Share something about yourself 

I live in the world’s cheapest city, Karachi. It’s the first capital of Pakistan and the financial hub. It’s the city of wonders, a wonderful sea, mangrove forests, industrial and academic heartland of Pakistan.

I am married to the most amazing and wonderful girl in the world, and I have a three-and-a-half year old son. My friends call me Djinn and Google, but I call myself Google Beta, and my son as Google Final Version.

I am a former musician, a writer, teacher, trainer, assistant professor, a doctor in educational psychology, research supervisor, an online bakery manager, personal branding consultant – people think I love talking, and I am full of ideas. My teacher described me as a hopelessly optimistic person. However, I define myself as a storyteller who loves traveling alone.

I love reading. I try reading 7 books a week. I am addicted to it. I love cooking, traveling, eating and spending time with my family. Every month and a half I have a sleeping day. And every week I need some “Me Time” in which I just walk alone and have a light snack.

I could go on and on as I know myself the best – but that should be it.

What was your first Coursera course, how did you find out about it and why did you decide to take it?

My first one was the Irrational Behavior Course. I knew about Coursera well before it but couldn’t put my finger on what to do. I came to know about Coursera through my friend (who’s yet to finish a course here!).

I decided to do it because behavioral economics interests me a lot. Besides, I needed some courses to help me ease my road to my doctorate in educational psychology. I also needed the vital info because I had to teach university students about shop management, and this course had some really practical things for people at sales and marketing.

I am running an online bakery too. At that time it existed only in my mind. I needed to plan about it and know how to boost my sales.

I also did social psychology and university teaching courses with the same objective.

What’s your favorite Coursera course and why?

My favorite course was A Beginner’s Guide to Irrational Behavior.

The reason being is that it appealed to my sense of humor, my ideas about the world and society. I had economics in my Bachelors, and the regular rational actor model always puzzled me. It was incomprehensible. Lacked appeal.

I bumped into behavioral economics, and needed some basic guidelines to understand it at a conceptual level in layman’s terms.

Dan Ariely gave me just that.

I still get back to the course, often without any purpose. Just so that I can have that moment of intellectual luxury.

What impact have Coursera courses had on your life?

Coursera has sometimes been my second wife. My first wife used to get angry at me for finishing off assignments well before deadline, discussing the goings on here with her.

It has helped me in my teaching, my course outlines, my relation with my office mates, and God knows what else.

I was able to plan my bakery startup better just because of coursera.org and ted.com

I did the conflict resolution course to refresh what I learned in the university. It helped me in my role as a moderator.

Many courses combined to make me think logically and clearly in emotionally upsetting situations.

Which course do you Mentor? What do you like most about the course?

Introduction to Personal Branding. Since finishing that course and doing some more courses on Coursera I have sort of gained a small following who consider me a personal branding consultant and expert.

How did you decide to become a Mentor?

I have been mentoring all my life – guiding and counseling friends, classmates, workmates, family members. It was a platform to go live, worldwide, and I availed myself of the chance.

What would be your number one tip to give to a new Mentor just starting out?

Think hard but don’t think long. Quick-witted is the word.

There are many factors and your time’s precious. The people who need help may not be in an emergency situation, but they need a response in a hurry – see who needs response and who doesn’t. Think “should I get involved or better to leave that one?”

These and much more are there. But you need to be quick without being wrong. Your words or the lack of them, your presence or lack of it, your stance, your solutions and all – everything should be spot on and quick.

What does the Coursera/Mentor community mean to you?

That’s a tough one. I think we’re in it together. If you’re there and others are there too, if they’re taking care of the situation – you need to be there to help them out.

It’s more like long gone friends living far away only connected through Facebook, but if someone’s in trouble you do whatever you can to be there.