Nationality: Egyptian / British
Programme: Modular Executive MBA, 2016
Pre-MBA: Project Manager, Global Cloud Xchange, London, UK
Post-MBA: Technology Expert, innogy Innovation Hub, London, UK
Current industry: Finance
Transitions made: Industry, Function
Why did you choose the Cass Modular Executive MBA programme?
As a Technical Project Manager working in the telecoms industry for over 10 years, I felt as though I’d hit a glass ceiling. I wanted to move into the tech start up side of things, but, due to my engineering background, I was always sought out for my technical expertise only. I was looking to become more rounded and learn more about finance and strategy. As a result, I decided to study an MBA to help me shift careers.
I chose Cass Business School as its Modular Executive MBA programme could be studied around my work schedule. The location was also important, as in my role at the time, I was covering North Africa, the Middle East, and Southern Europe, so I was travelling a lot and wanted to travel back to London for my study days.
My office was based in Canary Wharf but my projects were all overseas. Specifically while on the MBA programme my main projects were in Marseilles, Palermo and Alexandria, Egypt. I had prior arrangements to block out the MBA weekends to make sure I was back in London. So I commuted from different parts of the world really.
What are the benefits of the programme?
Of course, the quality of the staff at Cass is excellent, but the huge plus for me was that the faculty has extensive industry ties. The quality of the cohort at Cass is also great. You learn so much from your cohort, who are working in a wide variety of professional backgrounds. They become your family and support network while you’re on the programme and then your lifelong friends after.
The EMBA definitely pushes you out of your comfort zone. The sheer volume of work is a real challenge and you have to learn to juggle work, a relationship and a social life. It really pushes you. You become a lot more aware of your time and how to manage it.
At Cass, you are encouraged to apply the theory and the soft skills – such as negotiation and persuasion – throughout the course and at work. As a result, it helps you to build a lot of confidence, and you gain the skills to tackle lots of different situations. This helped, me to apply what I’d learnt not only in the workplace, but in every aspect of my life.
What were your personal highlights?
The international electives in China and the Vietnam consultancy trip were a real highlight. I’d long wanted to explore China and discover how one of the world’s largest economies works. Not only did we get to meet and learn with international organisations, such as Amazon and Accenture, but we also got to interact with local Chinese companies as well. It was definitely an eye-opener, and invaluable to understanding how companies operate and how business models work there.
In Vietnam, we got to apply what we learned by consulting for the country’s largest wine distributer in a foreign environment. We were thrown in at the deep end, consulting for a company that had an issue and delivering a solution within a week.
What impact has the programme had on your career development?
Ultimately, the aim of the EMBA for me, was to take my career to the next level. So, the Careers and Professional Development Team put me in touch with a careers coach. I worked with her for a few months and she helped me to change my mindset in terms of how I was looking for work and how I could penetrate a different industry where I had not worked before.
The EMBA at Cass enabled me to take my first step – a double jump – to a new function and industry. I pursued an opportunity that opened up through my MBA network and moved into the tech start up world as a technology consultant and group CTO for an accelerator/incubator backed by a corporate VC.
Thanks to my experience at Cass, I’m really looking forward to continuing to work with accelerators and incubators and move further into the corporate venture capital side of things.