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MBA: reaching new heights

By Mohd Iebadeh - Posted on 11 July 2018

Mohd Iebadeh did his MBA in Strathclyde Business School's Abu Dhabi centre. Here, he shares how his MBA developed him and helped him reach new heights both professionally and personally.

There were two main factors that drove me towards seeking an MBA; one was environmental and the other was personal. Firstly, in 2015 oil prices started to take a plunge downwards and job security in the Oil & Gas industry was sketchy at best. This meant that I needed to expand my capabilities and knowledge base to other industries.

This was the catalyst for seeking to further my education, but at this point an MBA was not my primary option. What got me to focus my search for higher education on an MBA was a personal reflection exercise. I evaluated my knowledge base, benchmarked it against others and found that my knowledge covered a wide base of engineering and management aspects, but lacked in aspects of business and strategy. This, coupled with my desire to transition from engineering firms to management consultancy firms, directed me towards seeking an MBA since most professional consulting organisations would look for candidates with an MBA.

As I embarked on my search I set several criteria that would guide my decision making process. Firstly, the programme should be recognised world-wide. Secondly, the programme should be accredited locally and internationally. Thirdly, the focus of the programme should be in-line with my learning objectives. Finally, the cost should be competitive in comparison with similar programmes. I evaluated the programmes offered locally and conducted a cost-benefit analysis to reach my final conclusion with Strathclyde emerging at the top of my list. Strathclyde offered a no-frills programme with flexible payments and a strong focus on strategy and consulting.

I can unequivocally say that the quality of education and learning experience I received from Strathclyde has been top-notch. I developed professionally and personally further than I ever expected. The courses in the Strathclyde MBA programme covered a width and depth that were ideal for breaking me out of my engineering mind-set. I found myself reflecting and questioning how I had done things in the past and how I would be able to do them much more effectively in the future. It opened my eyes to the importance of business cases to any new project or work. It also gave me confidence that developed my communication and reporting skills using facts and tools. It empowered me to realise my full learning potential by pushing me to my limits.

The most rewarding experience of the Strathclyde MBA programme for me was the progression of knowledge in strategy; more specifically, how everything fell into place in the last strategy course "Strategic Consulting in Practice" (SCiP). I still remember the feeling I had when solving a real client's issues during the SCiP course. All the pieces of the puzzle fell into place and I was able to pool the knowledge I had gained throughout the MBA programme to solve a real world problem. After presenting our recommendations to the client, they were so impressed with the results that they called me in after the class to elaborate further. In fact, to this day, the same client is still in touch with me and we meet occasionally to discuss strategy.

Having experienced SCiP and the satisfaction of helping a client solve real world problems, I was adamant to do the same for my MBA Project. With the help of Strathclyde, I was able to find a client that required extensive research into its business and development of a model that would optimise its performance. I took on the challenge, met with the client and agreed on the objectives of the project. After a gruelling six months of research, learning and experimenting I had learned about a whole new industry, I learned a complete set of new skills, I learned how to use business intelligence tools and most importantly the results of my project introduced perpetual savings for the client in the millions. The client was overwhelmed with the results and ended up offering me a job at their organisation to continue my research even after finishing my MBA programme.

At first, I was a bit sceptical about the teaching style at Strathclyde; where the academics fly in from Glasgow to teach a two day intensive seminar and then they hand over to local counsellors to supplement the course; however, I soon found out the many advantages of this system.

Firstly, the professors that teach the course are experts that are exposed to a variety of teaching environments through their visits to the different centres internationally. Secondly, this intensive learning experience gives a feel for the big picture, but to really capture the fruit of the course we had to rely on self studying, group work and learning by doing. The knowledge retention and gratification with this teaching system was much higher that it would have been with a prolonged series of lectures spoon-feeding the contents to the students. I came to enjoy and appreciate this academic teaching style and value its effectiveness.

The Strathclyde MBA enabled me to both change industries and jobs twice-over for the better. Firstly, the MBA Project got me into a new industry and a new job then, with the new-found knowledge, experience and capabilities I developed after the dramatic change in career path, I was able to gain the confidence to go for yet another industry and job. After a single interview, the hiring manager was highly impressed with what I had achieved in such a short time and offered me a position as a change agent in his team. I am grateful for the knowledge I gained through the Strathclyde MBA because I would not be where I am now without it.

Nowadays, having an MBA on your CV does not necessarily make you stand out from the crowd. It's just a tick-box that allows you to apply for a certain job; however, what you should be looking for is to develop yourself as a person so that when you sit with someone in a professional environment or a job interview, they are genuinely impressed by you rather than the checklist you carry (your CV). Strathclyde will do that for you in a way that many others cannot. If you are looking to reach new heights professionally and personally, go with the Strathclyde MBA and put in the effort to learn everything you can to the fullest.



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