Cyril Chemali

Professional background

I earned my undergraduate degree in biology at the American University of Beirut, followed by a doctorate of Medicine; attending one of the oldest medical schools in the region. After completing my studies, I chose not to specialise in medicine, and looked instead for an employment opportunity in the medical equipment and pharmaceutical industries. My first job consisted of a business development role, for a Swiss-based company that was investing in new medical technologies startups. I would have for mission to launch new medical technologies in the MENA region at an early stage of development. The experience was a very steep learning curve for me personally, emerging from a pure medical background. I had to learn how to write a business plan, develop marketing strategies and select distributors. Following that, I had the opportunity to join a multinational company and leader in the field of endoscopy: KARL STORZ Endoskope as a marketer; with which I am still employed to date.

Choosing a Global Online MBA at Imperial

Having no formal training or background in finance, marketing, economics, management or strategy; I knew I wanted to pursue an MBA at some point in my career. Both of my roles made me realise I was lacking in these areas, as I didn’t have the chance to study either in my undergraduate degree or during my time at medical school. The initial idea behind pursuing an MBA was that it would really complement my background. I thought also that it would differentiate me from other candidates and open new doors for me, being one of few people holding both an MD and an MBA.

I initially started looking at Executive MBA programmes locally in Lebanon, but later also researched the best Global Online MBA programmes and Imperial came up. I had known some students that graduated from the Global Online MBA at Imperial and that highly recommended it. Imperial’s Global Online MBA came out on top of other institution’s Executive MBA programme for several reasons including the breadth of professors who teach on the programme, the choice of electives on offer, the flexibility of having an in-house learning platform like The Hub, and last but not least, the impact and legacy of the Imperial brand.

The programme

I have really enjoyed the programme so far. The first year modules covering core topics have been a stimulating discovery process for me. Learning the theories behind some of the practices I was already using in my current employment and being exposed to real-life examples have given me new dimensions in my thinking, in both my current role and for future projects.

Challenges

The most challenging part of the programme has been to be consistent every week in covering the material and keeping up with the pace of the MBA. I knew from the beginning that the structure of the core modules and its assessments places quite a heavy weight on the final exams. While other programmes might have more flexible and lenient assessment criteria, I knew I wanted to join a rigorous programme and that was one of the focal reasons I decided to join Imperial College Business School. In fact, Imperial was the only school I applied to.

Applying learnings to my role

I currently hold a role of Regional Marketing Manager, so one can imagine how modules such as Strategy, Marketing Management and even Financial and Management Accounting relate to the everyday work that I do. Moreover, I was surprised by the relevance of modules like Organisational Behaviour, which can be linked to everyday exchanges in the workplace. We interact with a complex matrix of stakeholders, both internally and externally, and the behavioural modules have revealed themselves to be so rich and relevant to me.

The Hub

The Hub makes the experience one of a kind. To me, The Hub plays the instrumental role of inviting students to work and study. In order to accomplish this role, a platform needs to be user-friendly and very well structured, allowing the student to feel the progression of his work, having direct access to faculty and interact seamlessly with other students. The Hub does all these things. For example, one can see which other students are currently online on The Hub, so if working late you do not feel alone. Small details such as this, motivate students to study week in and week out, and make all the difference between the majority of other programmes and Imperial, who has invested to develop their platform internally.

Using my MBA

I found myself already using my Global Online MBA after taking the first core classes. I am applying many notions we have learned from the programme into my everyday work and a positive difference is felt. Whether I decide to progress in my career in the same field or to change fields, I feel I have acquired such a breath of fresh material that I can use in the assessment of new opportunities. Since I have joined the programme, I have also invested time in networking and this has had a generally positive impact.

Advice for prospective students

I would first of all prepare them for how much work one has to do and the time needed to invest in the Global Online MBA. The first year is demanding and time management is of the essence. Further, a Global Online MBA is the general direction in which the MBA marketplace is going. If one looks at the time and money Imperial has invested into the Global Online MBA programme, it is clear they will not rest before reaching the top of the rankings and be recognised as a global leader in blended learning programmes. Newly released rankings already give a hint of what is to come.

Nationality: Lebanese

Undergraduate education: BSc Biology and Doctor of Medicine, American University of Beirut

Current position: Marketing Manager, KARL STORZ Endoskope

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