25 years ago, Ammar Momani’s curiosity in exploring the family’s PC was the start of a life-long interest in technology that developed into a passion for the industry - and it was the moment when he made up his mind about his future career. Today, he feels blessed for how this passion has helped him “roam the world and gain splendid experiences”. He credits some of his success to the confidence and professionalism along with the skills he acquired through the MBA programme.
“30 months at business school taught me a lot about negotiations and entrepreneurial skills, and this has indeed changed the way I think and approach new and unfamiliar challenges. I have made a recent career shift into a new industry – aviation - and applying the skills and knowledge I learned through the MBA programme has undoubtedly helped me face the challenge energetically and with more confidence and grace.
The telecom market was approaching a point of saturation with very slow growth and lack of interest from end customers (“we no longer feel attached to the telecom provider and all we need is a reliable internet connection!”). This has increased the barriers to growth and development for people working in the industry and after spending close to 13 years in the sector, I realised that change was the best way forward.
As an engineer, I believe that I can add value to any industry but this is also easier said than done. To make a successful career shift to a completely new environment, we need to break through three challenges – confidence in our knowledge and experience; the skills of persuasion to convince interviewers that experience matters; and, ideally, to bring a recommendation from someone trusted by the interviewer / prospective employer.
I started the MBA programme with this career transition in mind. Every time someone asked me why I was studying for an MBA, my answer was always around how it could make my skills more industry-agnostic.
Later, with a strong recommendation from an MBA classmate and support from key MBA courses, I was able to successfully overcome the three challenges and to make the career transition from telecom solutions to aviation solutions. My role changed from head of sales engineering to sales manager for one of the most promising areas of business in the organisation.
It is now almost two years since I made the change and I have lost count of the number of times that I have applied the techniques we learned in negotiations, finance and organisational behavior in order to get things done in the real world. Apart from the obvious benefit of being able to provide more educated and critical feedback and forecasting to the management leadership team, I am using a few concepts from other industries to develop new pricing models, and hopefully, we will see these come to fruition soon.
Fundamentally, on the MBA programme I learned that 90% of someone's experience is transferable and usable across industries, and that the rest – the industry specific 10% - can be bridged with the right research and learning skills.
What did business school teach me? Perhaps the most valuable lesson is that the more I learn, the hungrier I am for more knowledge. The AMBS MBA programme makes you think global and you never view challenges the same way after that. Personally, my favourite course was ‘Negotiation Skills’ led by Malcolm Smith because the concepts of this course are applicable in many real-life situations, even beyond business!
And beyond tools and skills, at AMBS I made new friends and what is better and more beneficial than this? It also means that I can easily find student and alumni contacts from AMBS in almost any industry and country, which increases my professional reach and network significantly.
I believe that confidence is the main ingredient that strengthens and pushes a person to seek new frontiers. The University of Manchester gave me a tremendous opportunity to sharpen mine by acquiring vital and practical business insights and acumen, on a global scale.
As for the future, of course, the aviation industry has been hit hard by the current pandemic but we hope this is going to be a temporary situation and expect a full recovery in the next 18-20 months. Like many of us, I have had to work from home for several months and I learned that remote working can be fun, too! I was productive working from home in ways that were both surprising and satisfying to me. I also had the chance to spend more time with family and we had a lot of great moments together, so every challenge brings opportunities and rewards.”