Hosted at the prestigious Jumeirah Emirates Towers Hotel, the annual career networking event is one of the highlights of the year and the 2019 edition brought together over 100 students and alumni with a range of employer organisations and with the added benefit of a panel discussion on career trends with a focus on ‘employability’.
The aim of the career networking event is to provide students and alumni with access to knowledge about the current job market and trends, job search tips, industry challenges and opportunities, and an opportunity to network with employer and recruitment company representatives. Participating companies comprised AON, Deloitte, Citi Bank, Inspire Selection, Hilti, Mace Macro, Manpower Group, Schindler, Ingersoll Rand, Analytics, Alliance Insurance, and Marriott International.
The 2019 edition of the event consisted of two parts – a panel discussion on career trends, challenges and opportunities, followed by a Q&A session; and a networking session providing the opportunity to meet with recruiters and HR representatives from different employer companies.
The panel discussion was chaired by Elena Agaragimova, Manager – Careers and Alumni at The University of Manchester - Middle East Centre, who led the panellists through a discussion covering the two key areas of support for post graduate careers candidates - preparing for the job market and job search skills, and achieving visibility in the job market – and the steps to take to enhance the overall employability of candidates.
The distinguished panel of speakers consisted of:
- Soughit Kouly Abdelnour - Talent Attraction and Acquisition leader at Deloitte Middle East. As Regional Human Resources Director, she holds responsibilities across executive recruiting, succession planning, employer brand, campus programs, as well as providing HR advisory services to 15 countries within the Middle East network.
- Ana Vitelli - Regional Director for The University of Manchester South America, based in Sao Paulo, Brazil. She has over 20 years of experience in the education market, and is also Head of Human Capital Committee at British Chamber of Commerce, based in Sao Paulo. As an academic, Ana has been teaching ‘People Management and Organizational Behaviour’ on the Manchester Global Part-time MBA, since 2015.
- Nadim Dagher - HR Solutions Leader MEA at Ingersoll Rand, an experienced Human Resources Professional with more than 15 years of experience in the field of HR and Business development. He started his career with the United Nations and is currently the Head of HR for the Middle East & Africa region at Ingersoll Rand Trane.
The wide ranging panel discussion covered the key skills for candidates to develop to enhance their employability - especially the soft skills, such as leadership, problem solving and critical thinking, creativity, communications, flexibility and adaptability, and Emotional Intelligence.
The panellists covered the challenges facing both internal and external candidates looking to enhance their careers or switching careers from a function to management for example, with a new or current employer.
In the discussion, panellists highlighted the importance of education and training, building a personal brand, and internal and external networking. However, they also stressed the responsibility of the individual to manage their career, develop the skills required to achieve their goals, and to adopt lifelong learning to stay employable.
The value of formal learning, such as an MBA, in moving careers forward and even changing careers was endorsed and creates candidate competitive advantage over non-MBA job seekers; MBA students benefit from exposure to networks and practical business case studies, as part of their learning experience. However, MBA holders must still continue to build networks and practical, valuable experience to demonstrate their skills and value, beyond graduation.
Cv or not CV?
On the perennial question of the value and role of the CV, the panel shared its views, describing the CV as a ‘passport’ and a marketing tool reflecting relevant candidate achievements, and it retains its role in the job search process – and should be concise and prepared (not with a template) reflecting the target job description for human review and not an algorithm. The CV should show a candidate’s skills and achievements, and be transparent, accurate, truthful and relevant.
During the audience Q&A, questions to the panel ranged from how to build out a career with a multinational company from an existing position, and the skills that may be needed in the next 10 years in the face of the potential threat of automation.