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A trio of firsts for the remarkable Meenai sisters

Success in their University of London undergraduate degrees led the sisters to master's at Warwick, Cambridge and Oxford.

Written by Suraya Saleh |

Sisters: Tehreem, Sameen and Umbreen Meenai
“A certain level of focus and single-mindedness”: Tehreem, Sameen and Umbreen Meenai.

The globally recognised programme, with academic direction from the LSE, promised to be the perfect fit for me.

They say good things come in threes, and that’s certainly true for the Meenai family of Pakistan.

The family has three sisters – Tehreem, Umbreen and Sameen – and all three have attained First Class degrees from the University of London and gone on to complete master’s degrees at top ranked universities.

Tehreem Meenai, BSc Accounting and Finance

Eldest daughter Tehreem (pictured left) was the first in the family to study with the University of London in Pakistan, although both her father and grandfather had studied on campus at University of London member institutions.

Tehreem had also originally planned to take up an offer at LSE in London, but in the end decided to enrol for our BSc Accounting and Finance with support from University College Lahore.

“My final decision was driven by several factors, including insufficient financial resources to live and study in London, as well as the comforts of living at home,” Tehreem said.

“Obviously, the globally recognised programme, with academic direction from the LSE, promised to be the perfect fit for me.”

Her choice could not have worked out better. Not only did she gain a First Class degree, she was offered master’s scholarships for LSE and the University of Warwick.

“It was pretty surreal when it all happened,” Tehreem said. “I was certainly satisfied that I had worked as hard as I could have but I was never expecting a First Class, let alone scholarships from two of the best business schools in the UK. To say that I was over the moon would be an understatement!”

She completed her master’s at Warwick Business School and then gained a sought-after position at HSBC in London, where she still works today.

Watch Tehreem star in our 2016 cinema advert for Pakistan.

Umbreen Meenai, Bachelor of Laws

Middle sister Umbreen (pictured right) also decided to study with the University of London, but opted for the Bachelor of Laws (LLB) programme.

“I have wanted to be a lawyer for as long as I can remember. In fact, I have never really considered any other career options while growing up!” Umbreen said.

“The University of London LLB programme is quite well established and was the ideal springboard for a successful career in the international legal market.”

After graduating with a First Class degree in 2009, Umbreen went on to study for a Master of Laws in Commercial Law at the University of Cambridge.

Upon graduation, she secured a training contract at Clifford Chance LLP, one of the world’s leading law firms. She qualified as a solicitor in 2014, and then decided to move to Dubai to take on a job as a finance lawyer at Pinsent Masons LLP.

She credits the University of London degree with setting her on the path to success.

“My studies with the University of London placed me in good stead to go on to do my LLM at Cambridge and also do well in the Legal Practice Course,” Umbreen said.

“The LLB programme nurtured my analytical and technical legal capabilities, something that helps me to this day.”

Sameen Meenai, BSc Accounting and Finance

For youngest sister Sameen, enrolling with the University of London was a no-brainer.

“Having two sisters who had done the same programme, I got to witness how far their degrees had taken them in their very successful careers, so when it was my turn it was quite the obvious choice,” Sameen said.

Living up to the high standards set by her sisters, Sameen graduated with a First in 2016 and was accepted to do an MSc in Financial Economics at the University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School.

When she arrived at Oxford she felt confident she would be able to achieve her best.

“Oxford is a place where there are no mediocre students, but I never underestimated myself because I knew I was capable of it. That self-confidence was given to me by my University of London degree.”

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Sameen Meenai went on the University of Oxford after completing her University of London degree. Watch her story.

The secret to success?

When asked what she thought had led to her family’s success, Tehreem said the girls all shared “a certain level of focus and single-mindedness”.

She also credited her parents for their support: “They created an environment at home that was conducive to learning and always took immense pride in my academic and professional achievements.”

Sameen also said her parents had been a motivating factor in her success.

“When I got to know that I had received a First Class honours degree, I immediately turned to look at my parents' faces and just that twinkle in their eye of pride, I think that is what I was working for,” she said.

“There's really no feeling greater in the world than having known that you've made your parents proud.”

So will there be any more family members following in the sisters’ footsteps?

Maybe one day, but not for the moment, said Umbreen: “Sameen is the youngest in our family so I think we will need to wait for the next generation of Meenais to send to the University of London!”