Name: Islam Badr
Last job title: Regional Market Access Manager, Eli Lilly and Company
Previous degree: Bachelor in Pharmacy and Biotechnology, German University in Cairo
Why did you choose RSM for your MBA?
“I was attracted to the leadership aspect of the programme, the Personal Leadership Development programme, and the diversity of the cohort. This was important to me. Also, RSM’s environment doesn’t create competition to students, but we learn from each other. RSM is well known for its leadership and sustainability focus. Ultimately, I wanted to learn how to lead others effectively without authority.”
What has been the most challenging assignment or activity?
“The Living Management Project in which we were challenged to solve a real business problem for a company. My team first struggled – we wanted to widen the clients’ scope and this took time. This created huge pressure in terms of time and content creation. To get everyone in line wasn’t easy. But you learn and develop these skills.”
How has the Personal Leadership Development programme affected you?
“This programme makes you tackle undiscovered areas in your personality. It’s about personal discovery and becoming aware of your own capabilities so you know where you stand. This helps to know where you’re going, what your objectives are, and where you need to develop. I’ve been leading others with authority for four years. I now discovered a lot of other skills need to be developed to be the most effective leader you can be. It’s an ongoing process.”
Do you notice different cultural approaches to working within global teams?
“Definitely. In such a global environment you’re exposed to so many different ways of thinking. People’s culture has an impact on the way they think, and how they approach and tackle situations. This has helped me to enrich my personal and professional skills, especially the international understanding of people.”
Can you define the 'RSM MBA experience'?
“It’s a life-changing experience. After working for several years, being a student again isn’t easy. But you develop personally and professionally here. You learn skills for day-to-day living which you need to reach professional objectives and develop a global personally. At RSM you really become a citizen of the world. Also, I have a broader look on different industries. I knew a lot about the pharmaceutical industry but I’ve now learned about so much more. RSM has made me consider opportunities I never thought about before.”
What transformation in your professional life are you hoping to achieve from completing the full-time MBA?
“I’ve had lots of roles in the pharmaceutical industry; marketing, training, strategic planning and business development. I would love to complete what I started and reach certain objectives in this industry. I also started a small pharmaceutical company when I discovered my entrepreneurial interest. I would like a more strategic role in the pharmaceutical industry, and ultimately further develop my own company.”
What advice would you give to others to make the most of their MBA experience?
“Be open to others. And be open and willing to learn. You come here to develop, not to show that you’re the best. On a daily basis you’ll learn from the best people in their industries and eventually that will make you the best.”
How do you feel about living in Rotterdam/the Netherlands?
“It’s amazing here. The culture is very open and everyone speaks English. People are happy about their way of living. Rotterdam has a great vibe.”
After the full-time MBA, what does the future hold?
“I want to go back to the pharmaceutical industry with more solidified business knowledge and be more developed as a whole. I’ll seek higher roles and eventually develop my own company within five to ten years – maybe in Dubai or in the Netherlands, who knows.”