Graduation 2020: My two-year EMBA, an experience I wouldn’t want to miss!
Looking back at two years of weekend classes, balancing work and study, long hours in the office, and even longer hours on campus finishing group projects—I can say it was all 100% worth it!
An EMBA is all about the experiences
Hult’s Executive MBA is about experiences, growth mindset, getting out of your comfort zone, personal and professional transformation, and above all people: friendship, networking, teamwork, and learning from each other (whether in class, at dinners, during breaks at our favorite coffee shop ‘This is It’, on Zoom, Teams…).
Hult is more than an educational institution, it’s a lifestyle: a feeling that you get being part of it (as an employee or student). As Marina Keegan pointed out, “we don’t have a word for the opposite of loneliness,” but if we did, I could say it is “Hult”.
There are so many aspects of the program that I love: the innovative curriculum, class diversity, schedule flexibility, state-of-the-art campus, but what truly stands out for me is Hult’s professors. Professors who are creating opportunities that invite everyone to participate, who inspire, who changed my life, my perspective, who sparked my passion for business psychology, who introduced me to the science of well-being, and showed me how to become a happier and more resilient person in this crazy and increasingly unpredictable world. Forever thankful to Dr. Amanda Nimon-Peters, Ali Fenwick, PhD., Prof. Mukul Kumar, Mark Esposito, PhD, Yusaf Akbar, DPhil, Prof. Jean Vanhoegaerden, Terence (謝慈銘) Tse, PhD, Prof. Mufeed Rawashdeh, and Prof. Aleksander Grzeszczak.
I am thankful for so many people in my life who made it possible for me to pursue my EMBA by supporting me along the way—Stephen Hodges, Melissa Fredette, Jessica Szubart, my family and friends, my amazing Hult teams, and the Dubai campus team!
Hult Business Challenge: Givenchy
It is important to form a group with fellow students who can work well together for the Business Challenge, as the project can be time consuming. The aim is to learn a lot and to put everything we learned in the EMBA into one final project (marketing, finance, strategy, etc.) and achieve a great outcome. Our team won the challenge, but we spent many hours together—first in person, but mostly virtually due to the pandemic. However, although we were working sometimes for eight hours at a time, we loved the experience. We enjoyed working on a project that was new to all of us. None of us is from the beauty industry and we were two female and four male team members, but interestingly the men in the group had the best ideas as they were able to think outside of the box. The team was international: we had two team members from family business originally from Yemen, two team members from Syria with finance and research backgrounds, one from Turkey from the automotive sector, and me, German, from the education sector. Professor Ali said that after the challenge we will either stay friends for life or we will need a long break from each other—and I am happy to say we became friends for life, which is also the name of our WhatsApp group.
The Givenchy challenge asked, “How can Givenchy redefine ‘luxury beauty’ to become the leader in the industry?” As we signed a disclaimer we cannot disclose our solution, but we conducted qualitative and quantitative research, did tons of interviews and surveys, and were able to come up with an innovative solution that convinced Givenchy that we were the best of our cohort. Maybe you will see it at some point in their stores 😉. We named our solution “UNI-VERSE”. UNI-VERSE is a holistic beauty ecosystem, a new beauty philosophy that will change the existing beauty experience.
Our business approach and stages:
- We started our studies with secondary data to understand the beauty landscape and Givenchy’s positioning in the UAE.
- Than we approached our primary research with the snowball effect in three phases for a more accurate concept development, testing, and validation.
- In Phase 1, we conducted 42 face-to-face interviews with luxury product users until the point we didn’t get any new insights about our problem statement.
- In Phase 2, we took the insights from our interviews and quantified them.
- And in Phase 3, we did our last comprehensive survey to find the fit with the market and our solution and to understand how willing luxury beauty customers will be to accept our solution.
Professor Ali was fantastic, he went above and beyond for the teams, spent extra hours coaching us, and pushed us to our limits. I didn’t know how much more you can achieve if you have a great mentor on your side.
I also thank my Business Challenge team (Noura, Abdulla, Orhan, Ahmed, Bassem) for their time, guidance, mentorship, hard work, patience, passion, and friendship! This was the perfect combination resulting in a winning project for Givenchy. #Friendsforlife
My ambitions and path to success
I hope you all can reflect on something similar in your own lives—if not, look for it, challenge yourself, and get out of your comfort zone. If I can express a wish for the future, it would be the following: I wish to continue working with such great colleagues and friends. I want to continue learning from you while passing my knowledge and experience to others. I want to continue accepting challenges and achieving great results together with you. And I want to see Hult continue its path of success. #nothingisimpossible
Special thanks to my talented friend Venus for my graduation pictures and Nidhika for pushing me to graduate with distinction!