Meet The MBA Class Of 2023: Saud Arshi, HEC Paris

Saud Arshi

HEC Paris

“I am a welcoming and agreeable person, a big-time city traveler and foodie.”

Hometown: Manama, Bahrain. However, I grew up and went to school in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Fun Fact About Yourself: I did my undergrad in French, without any prior knowledge of French, so I had to learn French for a year. Today, I am a proud Francophone.

Undergraduate School and Major: Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi, Bachelor’s in economics and Management. University of Rochester, Simon Business School, master’s in finance.

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Mumtalakat (The sovereign wealth fund of the Kingdom of Bahrain), Investment Analyst.

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of HEC Paris’ MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? I am really excited to experience the entrepreneurial environment at HEC, through the HEC Paris Incubator and the HEC SEED entrepreneurship conference. I believe that being surrounded by an environment that fosters and encourages innovation, has an impact on one’s creativity and mindset.

What course, club or activity excites you the most at HEC Paris? In terms of courses, I am looking forward for the giving and receiving feedback class. I believe feedback is an important aspect of teamwork that is disregarded by many. Working in teams, I came to appreciate colleagues’ feedback as a self-development tool.  As for clubs, I want to join the French connection club. I am looking to truly immerse myself in the French culture, and benefit from the HEC Paris location.

HEC Paris is just 17 kilometers from Paris. What do you see as the best part of earning your MBA so close to Paris? Understanding the Parisian work culture, and the French business culture in general. Even as digital transformation will probably have a huge impact on the way business is conducted, the way people interact, and companies take decisions is different from a country to another. HEC Paris is the perfect gateway to getting to learn the French business culture.

I am looking to develop lifelong relationship with colleagues in Paris and have a strong Parisian network.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Six months into my employment at Mumtalakat, I was handpicked to be a part of a private equity transaction. The transaction was a complex one entailing a cross-border minority stake acquisition of a Spanish electromagnetic component manufacturer that is a supplier to major automotive companies. The experience was an eye-opener into the world of private equity and taught me how to deal with stress during a live transaction.

How did COVID-19 change your perspective on your career and your life in general? COVID showed me that nothing is certain in life. What that means is that I need to have plans A, B, C, and even D if things do not go as planned. Furthermore, postponing decisions is not really a solution. Be ready that your plans are thrown off course and be decisive when they do.  

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation? Ever since I did my undergrad, I knew that I wanted to do my MBA. As I transitioned into work life, I understood that the MBA is more of a journey than a degree. Yes, you will learn accounting, financial and marketing concepts. However, it is about developing the attitude of a team leader and the skills to deal with daily challenges that matters most. I want to come out from the MBA as an astute business leader that can help companies navigate and conquer short term and long-term strategic challenges.

During 2020, I did a training program with McKinsey, where I learned the McKinsey approach to problem solving. It made appreciate the consulting mindset. Post-MBA, I am targeting to join the consulting industry.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? LBS, INSEAD, Georgetown McDonough

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into HEC Paris’s MBA program?  My advice is to interact with the school and alumni as much as you can and enjoy the admissions process. Prior to starting your application, do reach out to the school admissions, they are helpful and can show you what the program really looks like. The admission process (especially the essays) is meant to make you reflect on what you had done so far, and what you want to do in the future. In the interview round, do not shy away from interacting with alumni, they are willing to answer all questions you have about the program.


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