Happy days - the MBA that challenges and makes a difference

Happy days - the MBA that challenges and makes a difference

Rami Dweik
Sales Manager, Service Providers - Gulf & Levant
F5 Networks
Cohort of 2007

I started my career as a satellite engineer working in the field and this was the ambition of   every fresh graduate engineer, at the time. Then, I moved to sales because I was passionate about connecting with people and enjoyed this more than just working with machines. 

Today, I’m a sales manager for an ICT MNC with a focus on cybersecurity, based in the Gulf. We are a tech vendor supporting telecoms companies and providing cybersecurity solutions. 

How did the MBA help me? 

It has given me the knowledge, tools and skills I needed to put into practice at work and to excel in my career. The ICT industry is very competitive and I needed to differentiate myself so an MBA programme tailored to engineering seemed to be the right fit – and it was; I have put into practice what I learned and advanced my career - my goal was to move up the sales organisation in an engineering company.

I started the MBA with an engineering mindset, where everything is in a box and black or white, and followed a problem solving approach from a scientific perspective. My career shifted and I looked at the engineering business quite differently. There was no black or white, and I needed to take a more balanced view of all the aspects of the business and take a more thoughtful approach. The MBA really helped me do this.  

Very often, our customers already have something specific in mind when they arrive but leave the room with solutions they had maybe not considered. It comes down to knowing how to deal with people.

I have learned by experience but the MBA journey and the various courses I took have made a difference. For example, the MBA workshops – now held in a hybrid format – mean you meet new and like-minded people. You need to work them as a team for three full days to deliver an outcome. It’s not easy but you learn how to manage people, when to cede leadership and when to make a stand. 

Happy days! 

Back in 2007, we were just a small group of MBA students and it genuinely felt like a family, from the head of the Middle East – Randa – to all the faculty, students and support staff, it was such a nice journey. Just now, I was chatting with a counsellor about how she used to chase me for homework and assignments and faculty used to call us to check we were ok and to see how we were getting on. 

So, I’m a big fan of this programme and when asked, I say it’s a no-brainer and this MBA is among the top programmes in the region.

My goal was to accelerate my career and I have definitely achieved this. The MBA 
gives you a broader view on personal life and work horizons. You start to think differently and it helps shape your character, contributing to success in life as well as career.

In 2007, I was based outside the UAE and travelled to Dubai for the MBA workshops. I am still in touch with some of the old gang who studied together in 2007 but things have been slower with the Covid-19 pandemic. I moved to Dubai in 2019 and re-connected with friends and the Middle East Centre team. 

Dubai is the regional hub for the ICT and cybersecurity industry and so I need to be here in the beating heart of the industry, so I moved here to be closer to the circle of ICT vendors, systems integrators and programmers and to be part of a thriving community. Dubai is a competitive market and there were better opportunities for me here because I was an MBA graduate.

In 2007, Dubai was still a village and it has grown and developed dramatically ever since. The team at the Middle East Centre has crafted 15 years of success with all the students and graduates they have supported and everyone talks about the positive reputation of the University. 

When I moved to Dubai I wanted to join the alumni group but they had reached the maximum number and so I joined a separate smaller group. The team has done a really great job of promoting the University and the staff and faculty from the UK have maintained the strong reputation. The programme and positive word of mouth of students and alumni have all helped promote the programme. 
In 2007, when I was deciding on the University, I did my research before deciding on the Global MBA and I looked at 4-5 options in Dubai. I was looking at the ranking and Manchester was doing a great and consistent job, and it was one of very few with triple accreditation. The flexibility and hybrid model of study was my preference over an online only course, where you don’t get the full experience and the mixing of students and faculty was the best part of the MBA programme for me.

Were there any challenges? – are you kidding! Yes it was full of challenges and the question always makes me laugh because my whole life changed during the MBA.

I started the programme as a satellite engineer, moved to sales and this consumed a lot of my time, so there was no work-life balance. Other challenges included getting married. We were pushed by the Middle East Centre staff and we really became friends. In the final year, I had to devote a big part of my life to completing the programme.

It’s certainly worth the investment but it needs commitment. It’s also fun and you are a winner no matter what. Graduation in Dubai was a very nice day with some great memories along with my wife and four year old child. Success in the MBA and graduation has a different taste to other material success because you really earn it. Today, I’m so proud, happy and privileged to be a member of this community.

To current students, I would say you are on the right programme and you must give it your full commitment and take it very seriously. It’s always a win to have the MBA degree and so make your own unforgettable memories and enjoy the journey. 

The MBA degree put me on a different level and I could say that it put me where I am now.