Embarking on a Fellowship future | CQI | IRCA Skip to main content
Anar Malikov CQP FCQI

Embarking on a Fellowship future

Progress indicator

Anar Malikov CQP FCQI
Published: 28 Jun 2024

As part of our continuing series of Q&As with CQI members who have regraded to Fellow, Anar Malikov CQP FCQI describes his journey to becoming a Fellow of the CQI.

Q: What was your journey into quality?

A: It began in 1996, when I started as a coating quality inspector on a major pipeline project in Azerbaijan. I took numerous quality control and internal auditing courses, culminating in achieving international certification. These opportunities allowed me to grow in my career significantly.

I balanced roles in quality and occupational health, safety and environment (OHSE). In 2003, I became a QHSE Manager for an international organisation, responsible for developing management systems and achieving integrated management system certification for the branch in Azerbaijan.

After two and a half successful years, I was promoted to Divisional QHSE Director. I oversaw diverse work across the UK, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, the Middle East, Africa, and America, and learned that no organisation can succeed without a robust quality system. Even a strong OHSE system must be built on a solid quality foundation.

Since 2015, I have been running my own business, TCS,  which provides learning and inspection services in the region – with the support of a fantastic team of 70 employees. I firmly believe my experience in quality has been key to my current business success. To me, a quality professional is someone who understands every process in an organisation well enough to ensure it meets requirements and achieves success.

I joined the CQI as a Chartered Quality Professional in March 2021. After two years, I was offered the opportunity to apply for Fellowship, which I achieved in May 2024. I am also a registered Quality Expert with the American Society for Quality and provide API Q1/Q2 and auditing training.

I recently embarked on a PhD, researching construction quality in developing countries, and have published numerous articles, internationally and locally.

Q: When and why did you decide to join the CQI?

A: I joined to be part of an esteemed organisation that represents the pinnacle of quality management standards globally. I recognised the importance of aligning myself with a professional body that not only supports continuous professional development, but also champions quality across various industries.

The CQI has provided me with a platform to engage with like-minded professionals who are passionate about quality. This has been instrumental in expanding my knowledge, sharing best practices, and staying abreast of the latest developments in the field.

The network I have built through the CQI has been invaluable, and enhanced my approach to quality management.

Joining the CQI symbolises my commitment to excellence and continuous improvement in all aspects of my work.

Q: What prompted you to become a CQI Fellow?

A: It was a natural progression in my career, driven by a few key factors. First, my long-standing commitment to quality and the desire to contribute at a higher level motivated me to pursue this prestigious recognition.

Over the years, I have dedicated myself to developing and implementing robust quality systems across various industries and regions. Achieving the status of Fellow was a way to formally acknowledge and validate this dedication.

Second, the opportunity to be part of an elite group of professionals who are recognised for their expertise and leadership in quality management was highly appealing. As a Fellow, I would have the chance to influence the direction of quality practices, mentor the next generation of quality professionals, and advocate for the importance of quality in every aspect of business.

Finally, becoming a Fellow aligned with my personal and professional growth aspirations. It symbolised reaching a pinnacle in my career, providing me with a platform to share my extensive knowledge and experience with a wider audience. This recognition also opened doors to further opportunities for collaboration and innovation within the quality community.

It was about embracing a role that allows me to lead, inspire, and contribute meaningfully to the field of quality management.

Being a Fellow of the CQI is not just a title; it is a responsibility to lead by example, mentor others, and continually strive for excellence.

Q: How did you find the regrading process?

A: During the process, I prepared a structured plan for each criterion and meticulously analysed all the activities I had undertaken, to ensure they fitted the required criteria.

Another advantage was my volunteer activities, which began in 2018 with the establishment of the Risk Management Professionals Community. Since then, we have organised forums and World Quality Week events, mentored students, and collaborated with universities to promote quality, risk and OHS professions.

The first step of the preparation was straightforward, requiring me to present all the activities I had undertaken to meet the five criteria, along with evidence to support my statements.

The second step involved an interview with professionals from the CQI, who rigorously challenged my activities, contributions, and volunteer work. Overall, it was a great experience and well worth the effort to achieve such prestigious recognition.

"Being a Fellow of the CQI is not just a title; it is a responsibility to lead by example, mentor others, and continually strive for excellence."

Anar Malikov CQP FCQI, Director and owner, TCS, Azerbaijan

Q: How did the CQI support you with the regrading process?

A: I found the process quite challenging, especially as I am based in a different part of the world and in a different time zone. This made certain processes more difficult to achieve, such as contributing to branches and special interest groups, or providing inputs to committees in the UK. However, this presented unique opportunities to contribute to the local quality network in Azerbaijan.

The membership team was very supportive and approachable; their assistance was invaluable and greatly aided my success.

I also found great value in watching the videos offered on the CQI website. The website also has useful tips and clear guidance for members aspiring to acquire this grade.

I would like to express my appreciation to the CQI membership team for their support, especially Ian Howe, Head of Membership, for his patience in answering all my questions and supporting me throughout the journey.

Q: What have been the benefits to your career of becoming a Fellow?

A: There have been numerous benefits. It has significantly enhanced my professional credibility. Being recognised as a Fellow is testament to my expertise, commitment, and contributions to quality management. This recognition has opened doors to new opportunities and collaborations with industry leaders and professionals worldwide.

The Fellowship has also expanded my professional network, connecting me with a community of highly experienced and knowledgeable quality professionals. These connections have provided valuable insights, mentorship, and opportunities for collaboration, allowing me to stay at the forefront of industry developments and best practices.

Moreover, the Fellowship has given me a platform to influence and contribute to the advancement of quality management practices. It has enabled me to take on leadership roles within the CQI and other professional bodies, where I can share my knowledge and experience, mentor emerging professionals, and advocate for quality excellence.

Q: What advice would you give to anyone who is considering regrading to Fellow?


  • Prepare thoroughly: start by understanding the criteria for Fellowship. Prepare a structured plan for each criterion and gather evidence of your activities, achievements, and contributions to the field of quality management.
  • Reflect on your journey: identify key career milestones, projects and initiatives that demonstrate your expertise and impact. Highlight significant achievements and contributions that align with the Fellowship criteria.
  • Use resources and seek support from the CQI: make full use of the resources on the CQI website, such as the videos, articles and guidelines. Reach out to the membership team for guidance and support.
  • Request a mentor: if you think you need more guidance and support, consider requesting a mentor.

Finally, don’t forget, Fellowship is a journey – and is just the beginning, not the destination.

Ready to regrade to Fellow?

Find out more about the process of regrading to CQP FCQI. 

Access CQI Mentoring

Log in or sign up to CQI Mentoring below

Access the CQI Quality Learning Hub

CQI Quality Learning Hub .png

Supporting your professional development

Quality Careers Hub

Exclusively for members, the CQI’s Quality Careers Hub is designed for every career stage. So whether you’re just starting out, ready to move on or up, or looking to build on your experience, there are many ways to progress.