2021 MBAs To Watch: Juhina Elmajdoub, ESADE Business School

Juhina Elmajdoub

ESADE Business School

Libyan Canadian adventurer and scholar, experiencing the world through travel, work, books and people.” 

Hometown: Tripoli, Libya

Fun fact about yourself: Inspired by my love of Korean pop culture, I self-taught myself Korean and achieved B1 level proficiency

Undergraduate School and Degree: Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering, Masters of Applied science in Biomedical Engineering, Masters of Business Administration

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? XEROX Research Centre of Canada, R&D Associate – Project Lead

Where did you intern during the summer of 2020? The Boston Consulting Group, Dubai, UAE

Where will you be working after graduation? Consultant, The Boston Consulting Group, Dubai, UAE

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School: Member of the MBA Student Association (MBASA), Forté fellow member, Esade ambassador

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Nominating myself for MBASA elections and winning it. Working for causes I believe in have always driven me, but prior to the MBA I was someone who shied away from limelight. However this MBA for me was when I was going to be more adventurous in terms of my professional aspirations. Winning and working as part of MBASA for an accomplished class like mine truly boosted my confidence as well as allowed me to grow more as a leader.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? An achievement I am most proud of is submitting a trade secret during my previous job at XEROX as a scientist. Having my name as a scientist for an innovation gives me great pride as that is something I have wanted to achieve since I started working in R&D

Why did you choose this business school? I applied to 3 or 4 great schools. When it was time to make a decision, the final thing I looked at which school truly embodied the values most important to me. I wanted a school full of spirit and about collaboration: one that makes you feel at home away from home and has welcoming staff and a truly international footprint — one where diversity isn’t just a number. Being someone with a very wide international experience, I always look for institutions where I am able to feel I am truly part of a diverse mix of people, cultures, and countries. Now looking back, I can confirm that ESADE was the best choice to both benefit from and contribute to a very diverse pool of talent.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? It was Professor Jordi Quoidbach who taught us the negotiations class. I’ve always been interested in negotiation and have attended few seminars on the subject, so I was already keen for the class. However, Jordi was able to create such an interactive class even though it was one of the first classes that was moved online due to COVID. I was able to fine tune my negotiation skills further and get a different perspective on various situations. Also, Jordi was very receptive to having discussions outside of class and even led an internal negotiations seminar upon our request focused on women in the corporate world.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? My favorite event at the MBA was Gastrofest. With over 50 nationalities within our cohort, we were able to experience little snippets of each country, region, and culture through their food, drinks, and music. Take one step to the left and you find yourself in South Korea having a bite slurp of mul naengmyun (cold buckwheat noodles), take a step back and you get to eat ceviche from Peru. It was a very colorful, delicious, and fun experience.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? I am not one who regrets anything because I believe every step, small or big, led me to where I currently am; changing anything, even if small, might change the course I am currently and happily on. However, if I must choose one thing, it would be traveling more often. Due to COVID, our MBA experience was cut short, just in time for a more relaxed semester and one that we all believed will be filled with traveling, touring, and experiencing different cultures with friends from our cohort. So I wished I took the time to travel earlier on, especially to attend football matches for my favorite team.

What is the biggest myth about your school? The biggest myth about our school is that it is not a consulting school and it’ll be very difficult to achieve a triple jump with consulting as one. However, I believe that while it is true the school isn’t solely consulting-focused, it is one that will nurture students to get into any field they want. They provide all the support for anyone who is determined enough to break into what they want to pursue. I’m truly thankful for all the support I’ve received from the school.

What surprised you the most about business school? What surprised me the most is how friendly the staff of the school was as well as how truly collaborative everyone’s spirit was. This was something the school advertised, and it honestly was embedded within the school genes. I’ve spoken to students from different programs when I participated in various case competitions and it reaffirmed to me that ESADE was more of the exception, not the standard.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? I believe my diverse cultural background, international experience, and unique work background gave me an edge at the school I chose. I stressed upon how I would be able to bring different perspectives in class discussions being someone who has been in the STEM and R&D field and worked in academic research, as well as bringing the Arab perspective including geopolitical influence on the business world. With class discussions being one of the pillars of the MBA experience, having a unique voice is one of the most important factors in enriching this experience.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? The person I most admire is actually a fellow P&Q nominee, Sarah Schilling. People always say having a support system is the most important and she was mine and I hers during the MBA, as we had similar goals we wanted to achieve out of the MBA. She is also someone who never shies away from extending help even during stressful times for herself. She’s smart, hard-working, kind, a great classmate, and a very close friend.

How disruptive was it to shift to an online or hybrid environment after COVID hit? With all the uncertainty and the newness of something that they were not prepared for at all, I personally felt the shift was as smooth as possible in the circumstances. I think it is telling enough when one of my favorite courses and classes I’ve taken at ESADE was done in an online setting during COVID times. What’s most important is that the upper management was very receptive to any issue or problem that popped up and were always there when we needed their support.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? I believe the person who influenced me the most will have to be my mother. She didn’t influence me to attend business school per se, but more influenced me to pursue what I want even if it means more education and quitting my stable job. She believed that if consulting is what I want and business school is the way with the highest probability for me to achieve it, then I should go ahead and pursue it.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?

  • Become a well-known successful Arab Hijabi woman in the business world – I am highly motivated to set an example for bright little girls out there that “different is good”, while also making my parents and country proud
  • Work within the vegan industry in a c-suite position post my consulting career, since veganism will be a great tool of positive change in my opinion

What made Juhina such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2021?

“Having lived in four different continents and being fluent in English and Arabic, Juhina feels – by nature – that she is already international.  In her spare time, she has learned an intermediate level of Korean.  She is passionate about team sports, and plays soccer as well as basketball – she even competed nationally in Dubai during high school!

Juhina is quite social media savvy, being the creator of a book blog and a YouTube channel with more than 500,000 views and 15,000 subscribers.

Uncertainty exposes natural leaders – and Juhina has flourished as an exemplary leader, role model, and communicator in our student body. She has gained the respect of both students and staff members and inspired us through holding leadership positions in our MBASA, the Healthcare Club, and at case competitions. She is a natural leader who ensures everyone’s voice is heard.  Being the only female in the class to wear a hijab, she has found it has actually been a topic for positive discussion and has exposed students to ideas about different cultures and religions. Her hard work, her academic preparation focused in analytical matters (MBA, MA Sc. in Biomedical Engineering with a Bachelors in Chemical Engineering), and extraordinary inner strengths such as resilience and communication skills, have enabled her not only to get three internships in Strategy Consulting / Healthcare, but also to land her dream job at BCG, in the UAE.

Last but not least, Juhina is also a part of ‘Lean in Canada’, a community of professional women empowering each other to build purposeful and fulfilling careers.  She is proactive in supporting her female colleagues and has succeeded in negotiating job contracts on their behalf to ensure they understand and maximize their real value in the workplace. At the Business School she coached students and advised MBA applicants as a mentor, as a WiB Club member, and as a Forte fellow”.

Jan Hohberger
Associate Dean, Full Time MBA at Esade


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