“When I was young, my dad used to build houses and I was really fascinated by concrete and steel and how this is working. It was very interesting to understand the physics, and I love physics and math, so engineering ticked every box.”
With his degree complete, Rasheed decided not to take up a job offer in Australia but to return instead to his homeland of Saudi Arabia. His first role was at a multinational construction and civil engineering group starting as a site engineer, then moving into project management and his next company, a property developer.
In Spring 2022, Rasheed joined the Saudi Industrial Development Fund (SIDF) as Head of Initiatives. His goal is to pivot to more managerial positions in strategy and leadership, which will allow him to build better connections between the project management office and strategy. His primary objective is to enhance the PMO’s effectiveness in driving project success by implementing robust strategies and fostering seamless coordination among various stakeholders
It had always been clear to Rasheed that to achieve his goals an MBA would be part of his development plan: “It was a question of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’.” His mentor, an EMBA alumnus, encouraged him to apply to IMD where he would find a diverse cohort and a one-year program with that all-important focus on leadership.
Upon hearing about Rasheed’s acceptance at IMD, SIDF, recognizing his potential and aspirations, generously offered to sponsor his MBA program. This support from the organization reflects their commitment to Rasheed’s professional development and their belief in his capabilities. By providing this sponsorship, SIDF demonstrates its dedication to fostering growth and empowering its employees to reach their goals.
“IMD is one of the best schools and it’s well recognized in Saudi, and it’s well recognized in my organization,” Rasheed said.
Rasheed feels his experience is preparing him well for future leadership roles. Despite finding it frustrating to join a new team in each of the program modules, he has learned how he interacts with people from diverse groups, revealing his team-building skills.
Many of his professors have already left a deep impression on Rasheed: they have guided him to reflect on what leadership means and how he can have an impact. He cites their expertise, how they share their experience of the world, their ability to make complex concepts clear, their approach and delivery.
“It blows my mind. How they deliver information in a very simple manner and give you a very pure thing that gives you understanding.”
He has also experienced some intense moments like the startup project. The goal of his team was to help their well-established startup to strategize their penetration of new markets – a new and very enjoyable experience and an opportunity for the engineer to deep dive into marketing strategies.
As his wife and daughter have joined him on his learning journey in Lausanne, Rasheed greatly appreciates how IMD has been fully supportive in catering for partners and families: from help with finding accommodation, how to apply for visas and residence permits, providing a playroom for kids, as well as running programs and social events for partners. “That’s why I call them the 5-star hotel!”, he says.
Rasheed is filling in the gaps in his expertise and building the links between all the various aspects of leadership in readiness for his future career. After an intense few months, he is looking forward to the summer break to reflect on his learning so far.