Business Development Lead, Middle-East

Public Policy/Research

The Economist Group (The Economist Intelligence Unit)

I can’t believe its 10 years this year since I was a fresher..!

I had originally been interested in reading Law at UKC but came across the Politics and International Relations (with German) degree and thought it would be a better fit. I found the course modules very varied and interesting and that’s what appealed to me most.

My career journey started out in Templeman Library where I remember creating a very amateur spreadsheet that listed all the possible graduate programmes on offer in the UK. I broke each of them down according to their entry requirements, salary on offer, location etc. I probably had over 30 graduate schemes that I aimed to send an application to. I didn’t get any of them. Until one fateful application that I made and after multiple rounds of recruitment, I made it! I strongly recommend trying for a graduate programme as they offer a lot of rotation and variety. It created a very solid foundation for my career and definitely opened doors for the 2nd (and now 3rd job) that I am employed in since leaving UKC.

Not everyone knows that The Economist has a consulting practice. I lead their business development across the Middle-East and North Africa, specifically on topics related to public policy, economics and politics. I engage with policy and law makers across the region and help them tackle broad topics from health, gender equality, education and labour etc. This involves working with global NGOs, charities, governments and other public sector stakeholders. Our capabilities help policy-makers utilise the best research possible to make informed decisions.

The one piece of advice I would offer to current students is don’t over-stress yourself. You have a world of stress to look forward to so enjoy this time while it lasts! There is no straight-road to obtaining a high-paying job, job-satisfaction, easy-life (whatever it is that you want). I really think in the first years after university just try and absorb as much as you can. In terms of interviewing – always look at who your manager will be! This individual will have a big influence on your formative career development. I also think it is important to ask yourself how you define “success” – for some it means money, but for others it could mean something completely different. Define your own goals, not by those set by those around you.

When I am not busy with work, I enjoy spending time with my wife and our new born boy. We love travelling as much as we can as I truly believe the world is the best teacher. I’ve previously lived in Jordan and my family have been in the Middle-East for decades – in fact I’ll be relocating there soon too. I love languages and can (just about) speak: Urdu, Hindi, Arabic and German.