Meet The Imperial MBA Class Of 2019

Ghaida Ayidh

Imperial College Business School

“A meditation addict with the intellectual curiosity to build and grow.”

Hometown: Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Fun Fact About Yourself: After working hours, I transform into a yogini. I’m actually a hard-core yoga enthusiast and instructor.

Undergraduate School and Major: Bachelor in Business Computing and Information Technology from Aston University, Birmingham, UK.

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Performance Management Analyst at the World’s largest fully integrated oil, energy, and chemical company – Saudi Arabian Oil Company, known internationally as Aramco.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: It goes without saying that the Imperial MBA obviously is one of the best journeys I’ve embarked on. Another notable accomplishment was when I got the opportunity lead a team to win a Dragons Den challenge. We had 24-hours to pitch ‘water’ to a panel of venture capitalists hoping to secure investment from them. We had water tasting experiences, meetings with designers in order to create a ‘bottle’ shape (trust me the bottle design matters), and finally preparing the pitch overnight. I was extremely thrilled to win the competition. We literally reinvigorated a brand of bottled water and sold it for a premium!

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? They are extremely diversified. They are multinational explorers with a goldmine of qualifications and experiences, including aerospace researchers, pharmacists, engineers, designers, and excellent analysts. There is great breadth of family businesses from car dealing to cookie dough. They are also incredibly resourceful; I actually have a lawyer classmate who helped me to understand my legal rights when it came to moving in London.

We take our class discussions and simulation practices beyond the textbook. Every student has either a great story or an experience to share and our faculty actually encourage these dynamic discussions. You will be encouraged to live a real business situation and co-learn.

Aside from your classmates, what was the key factor that led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA and why was it so important to you? Given that I aspire to make an imprint on the community, Imperial offers a wide variety of clubs that offer experiential learning. That way, I can add a meaningful change while expanding my education. Imperial offers an incredibly robust, practical, and exciting educational experience. Also, I wanted to be located in central London, an urban, edgy city and a hub that generates environments that welcome innovation in the startup market or even large consultancy companies. That by itself will help me to expand my network of connections in London. So far, the Imperial MBA experience has been exceeding all my expectations and checking the boxes.

What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? I am a committee member of the Intelligent Business (IB) Innovation and Entrepreneurship Club. I lead as the Events Manager; we serve our school and members by offering related employers and networking events. The name of the game is ‘Be Innovative’ so we keep thinking of new ways to keep members engaged and entertained, such as activities like Pitch Karaoke.

In addition to that, I am also a member of the IB Consulting Club, so I can connect with and learn from key individuals within the industry as it aligns with my future career path in innovative strategic consulting.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? I reached a stage in which I need to gain a competitive edge to ‘accelerate’ through my career. With five years of corporate and entrepreneurial experiences, I need to master two key areas to succeed in my goals: improving my general skillset and sharpening my entrepreneurship skills, both of which I can attain with a MBA.

Additionally, in my home country, we have a series of aesthetics and economical changes, which is known as “Vision of 2030,’ that is designed to empower new initiatives. Setting our future role is no small task and I truly aspire to be part of such a transformation and be able to maximize my learning and influence change.

How did you decide if an MBA was worth the investment? In short, absolutely yes. When I consider it from the perspective of opportunity costs, it took me a lot of soul searching and talking to friends from different MBA programs to learn how the MBA improved their careers. This not only reaffirmed my decision but rather I became certain that the program comes with several advantages like meeting up with inspiring individuals from different industries and access to recruiters and employment opportunities. It has been a fantastic experience thus far, not only the educational experience but also the personal growth aspect.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? I applied to Kellogg School of Management and Oxford Saïd Business School.

How did you determine your fit at various schools? After extensive research, I decided to look into a programme that fit with my professional background and personality, yet is still a prestigious and elite school. The culture of these schools is student-centred and highly tailored. I was also looking at stand-out elements, such as entrepreneurship and cutting-edge technology ecosystems. Moreover, I wanted a focused class size small enough to have the opportunity to mix and work with creative minds.

For example, Imperial has a highly demanding, yet flexible one-year programme that allows me to craft my own education plan with an extensive focus on career development. In fact, each student has a devoted career consultant who works with them to the end of the programme to assist in literally anything from settling in to finding ‘the’ career job. As for the student body, it is a small and diverse cohort of 74 students, yet you have the ability to engage with peers across the College through initiatives such as MBA Connect. I wanted to be part of such a strong, influential, and extensive cohort, even after we graduate.

What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? My defining moment was achieving my childhood dream of solving problems for chocolate and candies for more monetary rewards. As a child, I grew up in a family who appreciates problem-solving board games. However, my love and dream has developed into a passion in critical thinking and out of the box innovative solution to problems. During the first month of my MBA journey, I believe I have intensively grown my interest into innovation and strategy. Achieving my childhood dream has really shaped my confidence to pursue any ambitions in life.

What do you plan to do after you graduate? I have been building a strong interest in strategic roles and been nurturing my analytical and creative problem-solving skillset, especially in the area of innovative solutions and transformation. However, I am open to all kinds of opportunities to expand my horizons and ensure the right fit for me.

Where do you see yourself in five years? I’m confident that I will tap into one of Saudi Arabia’s untapped resources – the ‘Female workforce’ – and found a non-profit business incubator that is aimed at accelerating the growth and success of capable and inspirational female leaders.

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