Reem Awad

Dubai Executive MBA 2018
CEO Office Manager, Majid Al Futtaim

I currently work as the Office Manager of the President of Majid Al Futtaim company. My responsibilities require me to effectively engage across all corporate and business units to ensure there are robust processes in place in order to meet the company targets. Prior to joining the President Office, I worked as the CEO Office Manager in Majid Al Futtaim properties which is quite a varied role. My role was to provide executive-level support to the CEO, manage the admin team within the CEO office and work closely with the board of directors on everything related to board meetings and reports. My role also required me to work with different teams from the company on special projects with a focus on corporate social responsibility activities. Before my role with Majid Al Futtaim, I worked as a Marketing Executive for four years in one of the leading luxury retailers in the Middle East. I handled the marketing and advertising yearly planning and budgeting as well as the company’s public relations activities.

The decision of choosing a business school to study an Executive MBA shouldn’t be taken lightly. Before joining Cass Business School, I invested quality time in the selection process. I attended information sessions and gave myself time and space to consider all aspects to allow me to visualise myself at each school of my interest. After a lot of research, I found Cass to be a top quality business school which is able to provide me with the opportunities to gain the relevant knowledge for my future. The flexibility of the programme was impressive, I was able to choose international electives from different modules - this enabled me to align the programme with my personal career goals. What I also find really amazing is that as a Cass EMBA student I am entitled to attend one elective course every year for the rest of my life. This is a great opportunity for students to refresh their knowledge and stay up to date.

When I applied to Cass Business School, I wanted to get into management consulting but since starting the EMBA programme I have realised that my strengths lie in other areas such as strategy. An EMBA really opens doors that wouldn’t have been opened to me before and gives me the opportunity to self-reflect and think about what I really want to do. My short-term plan is to advance as a Strategic Planning Director at a multinational company, responsible for overseeing organisational reviews, communicating results to top management, and developing strategies. My long-term vision is becoming the founder and the CEO of a fashion company where I can direct the business, create vision and execute it. I want to put my knowledge and experience into my own company and introduce exceptional products and services to the fashion market.

I really enjoy the lectures and I have learned a lot about the art of collaborating with others in a diverse environment, which is very important for my success in the future. Cass professors provide us with knowledge and tools that enable us to be objective, analytical and see beyond the obvious. I like the student-professor interaction during the class. I also learned how to work successfully in a team as all modules require group work and all students are from different cultures and professional backgrounds. Moreover, inviting guest speakers from well-known companies and businesses in the region gives us the perfect opportunity to ask questions and apply knowledge we learned in the different industries and working environments.

The current cohort is based on a diverse student environment and comprised of specialists in a range of industries and functions. The depth of knowledge of my fellow cohort is vast, which allows students to offer the benefit of their expertise to other members of the cohort, thus complementing each other’s skills. This is important to enrich discussions in the classroom, allow critical analysis of an issue or case, and also consider multiple perspectives with which stimulates the best answer or solution. Moreover, with the small cohort size – nearly 45 students – we can make really close connections and spend as much time as possible networking and studying together.

Dubai is a cosmopolitan and diverse city with a dynamic economy that is constantly growing. It is the best place to establish a new business due to many reasons: its strategic location, the investor-friendly environment, the ease and efficiency of doing business, physical infrastructure and the availability of skilled manpower. A major strength of this unique and vibrant city is its safe, family-friendly and multicultural environment, which makes it a perfect location to study as well. When studying in the UAE, you will not only learn about the Emirati culture, you will also have a wide knowledge and insight into a broad range of world cultures. This gives students extra merit when they are looking for jobs within the United Arab Emirates.

Having a clear idea about your future goals and the direction you want to take with your career will allow you to get the most out of the programme. Also, seek advice from current and former students on how the programme is put into practice and an idea about the atmosphere in Cass Business School. Before you start the programme, it is important to talk to your family members or close friends about the time commitment. Communicating beforehand helps you get their support and understanding. Once you start the programme, you have to learn how to create balance between university and personal life by planning time properly to schedule study-time, this is one of the main keys to succeed in the programme. Proper planning will help you remain on top on your studies whilst maintaining quality time with your family and friends. In addition to creating balance, it is recommended to take leadership and get deeply involved in group coursework after each module; this will develop your interpersonal, leadership and team work skills throughout the EMBA programme. You will also learn so much by getting involved in the programme activities and attending the networking events that the School organises for students.