Home City, Country: Dubai, U.A.E.
Pre-MBA education: B.A in Business Management at Richmond American University in London
Tell us a little about your work background. What were you doing before the MBA?
Since graduating in 2016, I have been working at PMDC in Dubai. PMDC is a family-owned engineering consultancy that specializes in project management for a variety of industries, including civil aviation, marine, residential communities, industrial facilities, and commercial developments. My initial roles were on the technical side, working as part of project teams. My first position was as a Project Coordinator on a residential build in Dubai.
Later, I worked as an Assistant Project Manager on an industrial manufacturing facility that fabricates aircraft components. In September 2018, I was promoted to Business Strategy Manager, where my responsibilities shifted from the technical day-to-day running of specific projects to a broader, business development/corporate strategy outlook on all of our projects across the Middle East.
Why an MBA now, at this point in your career?
Having worked in a variety of functions at PMDC and having gained experience managing large and strategic projects, I felt like I was running out of ways to grow and challenge myself within the company. I knew an MBA would act as a bridge to help me transition from the construction industry in the Middle East to the tech industry in Europe/US.
Why did you choose HEC Paris?
Firstly, I spent ten years in the French Lycee educational system in Qatar and the U.A.E, so my foundations are in French. Secondly, during the admission process, I felt a real sense that the recruiters were invested in my profile and story and that I could develop my skills at HEC better than at the other schools I had applied to. Thirdly, I received some really positive feedback from my interviewers and other alumni about opportunities for career progression. That was my number one priority in choosing an MBA program.
What’s been your favorite learning experience so far?
Despite my skepticism about the effectiveness of programs like the outdoor leadership seminar, I really enjoyed it. It had a blend of leadership development and business learnings within a bootcamp setting. It offered an authentic learning experience despite the COVID restrictions that meant the seminar had to take place on campus in 2021.
What’s one thing that has really stood out for you in the program that you don’t believe you would have gotten at another school?
When the second wave of COVID hit France and the school had to abruptly switch to an online model for a few months, it was handled quite smoothly. Between student-led clubs hosting events, MBA case competitions, company standalone presentations, development workshops, and career fairs, there was always an opportunity to challenge yourself and learn something new.
How will the HEC Paris MBA enhance your career?
Prior to the MBA, my biggest concern about my resume was that although I had good experience for my age, it was all at a single company not known outside of the gulf region. I wanted the MBA to add stature to my resume and open doors at my targeted companies. I also wanted to back up my experience with the academic rigor that the HEC Paris MBA provides, and develop my learnings through the Strategy specialization.
Do you already know what you’ll be doing after the program?
I have accepted an offer to join Wipro for the G100 Leadership Development Program which starts in July 2022. Until then, I’m planning to travel and visit family and friends in the US which was quite hard to do during the pandemic. I will also take the HEC certification in Digital Transformation this spring.
Can you tell us what your experience with the HEC Paris MBA alumni network has been like?
When I got the interview at Wipro, the first thing I did was look at the alumni network to see if anyone had any experience with this program. I found that a J20 student is currently in the program, having starting it in July 2021. I reached out to him, and he gave me advice on the interview process and provided some information about the company and program. When I got the offer, he made himself available to help answer any questions. Being linked to this network has been a big help.