Programme/year: OneMBA Class of 2015
Job title: Site manager in Al Jubail
Company: Arabian Chemical Terminals Ltd
Previous degree: BS Maritime Officer
1. Why did you decide to join the OneMBA?
"I wanted to develop my career and my personal growth. I transferred from project engineering to a general management role ashore in petrochemical plants. An MBA will give me more abilities and a broader holistic view on different business processes than as a maritime officer with hands-on business experience. RSM is the best business school in the Netherlands, and has a high reputation with impressive global rankings for its MBA programmes. I also like travelling and it’s great to network with RSM alumni, professors and my classmates."
2. How is the OneMBA experience affecting your work?
"The OneMBA started with a surprising element, which was the course module Leading and Managing Global Organisations. We focused on the cultural side of working in a global organisation and organisational behaviour, an important tool in managing international organisations. I’ve been working abroad for 14 years, but never properly learned the theory behind dealing with cultural diversity within teams until now. I work for a 100 per cent Saudi organisation and was the first western expatriate in the company. The Arab culture requires a good understanding of habits, work behaviour and cross-cultural awareness. The OneMBA helps me understand people and international dimensions better, which is directly applicable in my work."
3. What is the return on investment that your company expects from funding your OneMBA?
"The OneMBA is helping me to be more effective for the company in business development processes. I will bring more academic knowledge and global experiences to the company, which will make me a better decision-maker. I will also be more flexible in any future position because of the broader knowledge and skills gained throughout the programme."
4. How has the Personal Leadership Development programme (PLD) affected you?
"The PLD is teaching me to be open to feedback from others. The tests help me to reflect on my work and personal life. During the last assignment in Rotterdam I coached others and more importantly, others coached me. I know myself pretty well, but during this group work I learned from others too."
5. Do you notice different cultural approaches to working within global teams?
"Absolutely, and I recognise this diversity from working with different cultures myself. The group process is interesting. The Dutch are very direct, but not everyone appreciates that. For example, the South Americans in the group have a very different approach. You try to use all the strengths and styles in the group to benefit the assignment. You constantly learn a lot from this blend of interesting people."
6. With your busy schedule, how do you manage the cross-continental projects?
"The global group projects are challenging because every group member’s flexibility counts towards the group’s success and final assignment grade. I can manage my time myself. Some others can’t. I can schedule around the clock, for example to Skype with one of my team mates who lives in the USA. Although the OneMBA costs a lot of time, RSM does a great job in balancing and notifying the time management you need for assignments and to attend residencies."
7. What was your favourite part of the Global Residencies?
"We’ve had one residency so far, it was in Washington DC. As a maritime officer, I’ve never discussed business in class before. I know all about math, engineering and straight forward solutions. Especially the Global Operations Management classes about macroeconomics were interesting as the topic was new to me. It’s also good to meet your global peers with different backgrounds instead of having online contact only."
8. What has been the best part of the OneMBA for you so far?
"I’m learning not only from professors, but also from my peers. As we share knowledge, that pool of experience adds so much. People come from all sorts of industries, such as health, marketing and law. Everyone has a different perspective that we can learn from. Also, women aren’t allowed to work in Saudi Arabia, so it’s nice for me to discuss business topics with women and get their valuable perspectives."
9. After the OneMBA, what does the future hold?
"As an expat, changes are inherent to working abroad in projects. For now, I will continue leading this new company in Jubail and utilise it to its full potential. I also consult to clients and might even set up a consulting company sometime. Most big multinational companies in the petrochemical industry require a master or an MBA degree, so ultimately, the OneMBA will open the door to more opportunities."