Loay Elkhouly – Founder & Managing Partner, Synergy Bridge

Loay Elkhouly

Elevating yourself - and others

Loay Elkhouly has come a long way since his early career in sales, in Egypt. He has moved through a procession of heavyweight, household names in the FMCG sector – Unilever, Mars – while rising through the regional executive ranks to the role of Managing Director MEA at Barilla Group, with full P&L responsibility. Over a career spanning 22 years, he has developed many of the executive leadership skills you would expect and has focused on strategy perspectives – roadmaps, customer engagement, business and operating model transformation, sales & marketing, and organisational and team development and leadership.

Today, Loay leads ‘Synergy Bridge’ – a consultancy and advisory firm he founded in 2021, in the UAE. Synergy Bridge provides a range of service offerings around market entry and Route to Market strategy and support, helping companies to expand internationally and scale existing operations or to diversify across new markets. He leads a team of experienced professionals with a deep understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing companies in today’s complex environments and focuses on bespoke solutions and strong client relationships.

Beyond his day role, Loay is also a member of Vistage - the world’s largest CEO peer advisory and executive coaching organisation that has been helping business leaders make better decisions that deliver better results, since 1957. As a business leader, consultant and member, Loay is committed to elevating his company, his clients and his peer communities and networks.

Here, Loay shares his MBA experience.

Describe your career journey so far

“I started out as a salesman back in Egypt, 23 years ago. Since then, I have experienced highs and lows with the only constant being that I enjoy what I do and I am always evolving and upskilling. I have had the pleasure of working with great people and privilege of leading great teams, as a part of 

mission-driven organizations. My regional roles over the years mean that today, I call multiple countries ‘home’.”  

With all your experience, why join an MBA programme?

“Well, this was actually a really easy decision to make. I believe that MBA programmes, especially those offered by reputable universities like Manchester, offer a great way to scaleup your skills across multiple business disciplines, broaden your knowledge and build an active senior network of peers. All while accelerating your career development.”

How was your MBA experience?

“My specific learning objective was to broaden my cross-functional knowledge of business and this was fully achieved. Beyond this, I really enjoyed the programme and the flexibility it gave me to continue to work while studying, combined with face to face workshops every six months. So, I was able to maintain my career momentum while also studying my tailored programme. 

“I focused mainly on two parts – strategy and transformation, and also joined the elective course on ‘Doing business in China’. This was a real eye-opener and opened up potentially valuable business opportunities beyond the MBA. This also meant that I was able to attend workshops in Shanghai, as well as Dubai – and I also decided to go to Manchester to join workshops on campus. 

“The entire MBA programme was a great experience. I learned a lot and worked hard and the academic highlight was my first course which was on Game Theory and a truly breakthrough experience. I also started great new friendships.”

What difference has the MBA made?

“The MBA has helped me in three main areas: firstly, it allowed me to upskill significantly in areas that were not necessarily my strong suits. Secondly, it offered a great opportunity to learn and test ideas in a closed environment and so really focused on my professional and personal development. Lastly – and certainly not least - it gave me more personal and professional confidence and the ability to take a ‘big picture’ approach.” 

How does the MBA contribute to your professional network?

“I made friends and still have a good network of contacts among my peers across the globe. I am proud to be part of the Manchester MBA alumni network – it’s very active and every member is always willing to connect, engage and help each other.”