I’m a 15-year-old girl and my goal is to be an architect. However, my father does not agree as, according to him, it’s not a career for a woman. What do you suggest?

By its close association with construction, architecture has for long been wrongly perceived as a male preserve. Women have done some outstanding work in this field. Iraqi architect Zara Hadid won the highest honour in architecture, the Pritzker Architecture Prize, in 2004 for her designs, which encompassed architecture, to urban spaces, to products and furniture. The list of such talented women who have contributed to the field of architecture and design is endless. However, to pursue architecture at university, you would need to study maths and physics in high school to develop problem-solving techniques and logic. Proficiency in sketching and drawing will further develop your ability to visualise and conceptualise. Creativity and passion for design are also essential traits to be a successful architect. Job prospects range from being self-employed to working in small to medium-sized firms to much larger practices that will incorporate other professional areas, such as planning, urban design, construction or project management. Governments also employ architects in their planning departments. Other careers that you can pursue with a degree in architecture would be a landscape architect involved in environmental development or restoration architect responsible for conservation and restoration of heritage buildings.

I would like to earn an MBA degree, but am not sure how to choose the right specialisation.

When considering an MBA, the most important thing you should look at is the career you wish to pursue. The industry (or company) that you wish to work in can determine everything from your choice of business school to the length of your MBA. Many companies and industries require an MBA for you to get past a certain level. Once you have understood their preference for an MBA, look at their recruitment strategies. Next, look at the type of graduates and placements of business schools. Does this particular institution do relatively well in your chosen field? Do they have strong partnerships with companies in that industry? Are there specific courses that will give you a competitive advantage and are there well-respected professors? Understand where your skills are weaker and see which MBA programme is best for helping you in those areas.