Business student

Malik M. Marafie | London Business School


  • Diploma

    Program:
    Executive MBA Dubai

  • Global

    Nationality:
    Kuwaiti

  • Profile

    Post-Employment Program:
    Head of the Executive Team of the Office of the Vice Chairman and Group CEO, Zain Group

Malik Marafie (EMBADS2016) wanted to study the Executive MBA to make himself known in international markets and develop his global network. Six years later, he already has so much more to show for his time spent studying the program.

I decided to study the Executive MBA because I wanted more exposure to international markets, in terms of studies, case studies and group discussions. In my class of 50 students, we had people from all walks of life, sectors and nationalities. This meant I could hear different ways of thinking and gain new perspectives, as well as see how people from different backgrounds assess and analyze cases. It really helped me expand my thinking, especially when I was challenged by the professor, because no matter how well prepared I was with a case, there were always different perspectives to to listen to that sometimes challenged mine. The application process for the EMBA program really meant that I was studying with the best of the best, with a great alumni network as well.

The program has really helped me broaden and broaden my professional roles. Since completing the Executive MBA, I have taken on new roles and greater responsibilities. I was a director at Zain Group and during the program, I became the leader of the management team of the vice president and the office of the CEO of the group. Since I completed the Executive MBA, I have also been the chairman of an investment company, as well as a member of the board of directors of an energy company and a hotel in the Middle East. I am also a consultant and advisor for many other companies and CEO of a renowned family business in Kuwait.

Every time someone sees that you have graduated from London Business School, you are automatically perceived differently. Graduating from school says a lot about you even before you introduce yourself. You are by default attractive for many different positions. I turned down myriad job offers during the Executive MBA, ranging from managing investment companies to building them from scratch. I wasn’t looking for lateral movement; I was looking for a career leap that would take me to a different league and further enhance my personal development. Without it, I was not ready to change careers. I am also loyal to my current profession and have a sense of belonging to my organization.

The Executive MBA helped my career because I was able to apply what I was learning. I learned a lot from the Turnaround cases. I learned how to literally transform a business and apply theoretical knowledge to an organization. So that became the challenge of my current company; if i saw a diamond in the rough and i knew there was huge potential in the business, i would apply what i learned in school and tweak it a bit, and that really helped me . For example, we applied this knowledge to one of our businesses and successfully transformed it.

So, now that I have the knowledge that I acquired through the Executive MBA, I have avoided the failures that other companies have made. For example, I look at management, the way companies are structured and the way they manage their finances. I can spot the signals in advance and make preventative changes today rather than waiting for the damage to happen. I know you need to be the first to act and have the guts to cannibalize your current industry. Everything in this world is changing and you have to be fast. You have to act and be nimble, and potentially compromise your own industry in doing so. It might hurt you at first, but the results are worth it.

When you study the Executive MBA, you have the choice to make the most of it. My approach from day one was not just to get the certificate, but to learn as much as possible from every hour of class and every case studied. Every day I tried to apply what I had learned, even if it was just a small thing. Some things weren’t relevant to me personally, like when we studied a football club, because the case study had nothing to do with my industry, but it had a huge element of human capital that I learned and tried to apply in my own role. I learned that one of the greatest assets you have in your business is human capital. I tried to invest in our people, and our Group Vice President and CEO also made the decision to send two executives a year to an MBA program, to invest in their training. Three employees have already been sent to the London Business School.

The network I built during the Executive MBA also helped me a lot in my career. Now, whenever I operate in a different country, I always know someone there because of the international diversity within each class of the program. When I have questions about different countries, I ask them to my former comrades. We spent a good year and a half together so trust has grown between us. We also hired one of the alumni; we proposed him for the position and now he is one of our group collaborators.

I studied my Executive MBA in Dubai but I also had the opportunity to go to universities in the UK, Hong Kong and New York as well as an internship in Moscow. So I covered all the essential markets, from the Middle East, to Europe, to Asia, to America. I recommend that everyone get the chance to experience these markets first hand as it really added to my experience. I have met people from so many different countries and backgrounds, in addition to all the people I meet on a daily basis. I was at each university for about one to two weeks.

My time as an exchange student at Columbia Business School really stood out because I got to experience a different way of learning. The American system is completely different from the English system. I loved both. Columbia Business School is in the Ivy League, so it’s one of the best schools there, which I was proud to be part of.

What we learned about productivity during the Executive MBA also stood out as a key factor for me; we learned that employees should be 90-95% productive in the company. If you see someone taking more than two hours a day as a break, employee assignment may be wrong and layoffs may be necessary. So now I monitor employees, their behavior and their productivity. For me, if they’re not 90-95% productive, I have to downsize the department or hire someone with better experience. We need to put the right people in the right positions.

For the next stage of my career, I want to be less involved in day-to-day operations and more involved at the board level, as well as work more on corporate restructuring and M&A research. The best practices I learned during the Executive MBA will help me achieve this, such as knowing the exact elements needed for an acquisition and merger, and how to properly analyze and read financial statements. When you merge, you always wonder what the outcome will be, you never know unless you do; but the London Business School has given us the opportunity to explore so many case studies that we can simulate the outcome.

Overall the most valuable aspect of the program was the networking, it was key for me as well as the exposure to international markets. My advice to anyone considering the Executive MBA is to dedicate time to the program every day. Try not to leave everything to the last minute; being organized is very important. Always proofread your work, always be prepared in class, always learn as much as you can during your lessons and above all don’t forget to enjoy your time at LBS!