2022 MBA To Watch: Omar H. Mawlawi, Ivey Business School

Omar H. Mawlawi

Ivey Business School at Western University

“An analytical thinker who often chooses the road less travelled.”

Hometown: Tripoli, Lebanon

Fun fact about yourself: In the past seven years, I’ve lived in five different countries.

Undergraduate School and Degree: BE in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the American University of Beirut, and MSc in Innovation and Entrepreneurship from the University of Warwick

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Senior Operations Manager at International Tube and Conduit Company (ITCC), Saudi Arabia

Where did you intern during the summer of 2021? N/A Ivey is a one-year program

Where will you be working after graduation? Currently targeting Solution Engineer roles in Tech companies.

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

* Community & Leadership: Member, MBA Association Social Impact Committee

* Awards & Honors: Recipient, Donald K. Johnson MBA Scholarship Award; Recipient, Richard Ivey Excellence Award

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I was blessed to have been asked to join the organizing committee for Ivey’s Social Impact Day. This year has been particularly hard on everyone across the globe because of COVID, so I was glad to be able to give back to community. The cohort’s eagerness to make a difference was a delight. Despite the rain, we had a huge turnout of volunteers at several non-profits in the community. Notably, Mathieu Ruffe and his partner fundraised for Multiple Sclerosis by competing in a 50-km cycling race in BC.

I was proud to be a part of this kind-hearted cohort and happy to have played a role in helping make this event happen.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I was an operations manager at ITCC for most of my career. As part of a rising manufacturing firm, I had the opportunity to introduce new products to the company’s offering and explore new markets. My proudest achievement was finalizing my first sale in Ghana – a country that ITCC had no previous presence in. I worked on every phase of the sale, from winning over the client and consultant to managing supply-chain and invoicing issues across two very different countries. The continuous relationship I have with my client to this day reminds me of the importance of building relationships through persistence and dedication.

Why did you choose this business school? As a new immigrant to Canada, my core goal was to expand my network and make new friends. After speaking to a few Ivey alumni and researching Ivey online, I was extremely optimistic of achieving this goal. Ten months into the program, I can sincerely say that I have made lifelong friends. Moreover, from career and academic advice to helping me find an apartment and keep up with COVID news, I have truly felt the support of the Ivey community at every stage of my journey.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? My Ops Strategy Professor, Dino Pupulin. He learned everyone’s names and professional background on Day One and would cater questions and explain concepts based on our backgrounds. Dino brought tremendous energy to the class and was always available for feedback. I have yet to figure out how he was able to provide assignment feedback at 3 AM and still show up with all that passion for a 3-hour morning class.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? My favorite event was when we organized a soccer match between Ivey teams. During the program, two teams were formed to compete in a local league. This was the beginning of a friendly rivalry.

After a few weeks of boasts and teases, we ended up settling the score on a rainy day in London with a many of our friends cheering us on. We celebrated over dinner afterwards. To me, this reflects both the camaraderie that is developed at Ivey, and the capacity of my peers to shape their own experience inside and outside the classroom. Being on the winning team undeniably made this event more memorable.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? While I am thrilled with the friendships I’ve formed at Ivey, I still wish I worried less about academics and took more time to build deeper connections with my peers and professors. They are undeniably my favorite part of the experience, and what I will remember in 10 years.

What is the biggest myth about your school? My worry was that everyone in the program apart from me had some sort of career plan and knew exactly where they were going post-MBA. And while many of my peers did have plans, it was fascinating figuring things out with many of my classmates. Taking a step back certainly took a lot of the pressure off and opened my eyes to new opportunities.

What surprised you the most about business school? How much people are willing to help you out if you ask. This included alumni and career management helping you prep for interviews or land coffee chats, classmates willing to help you understand concepts, or offering you a ride to school or help you move furniture, business school was more than business for me.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? I knew why I wanted Ivey. Throughout the application process, and particularly during the interview phase, conversations easily flowed, and it was clear to me that Ivey was the right school. I made sure to authentically convey why I was a good fit here as well.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I have several classmates that I admire, but my pick must be Jason Yan. Jason plays by his own rules, never shies away from competition, and is always willing to help his friends. He likely has ice in his veins, as I have never seen anyone as calm as him during 24-hour report assignments.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My biggest influence in pursuing my MBA, among other life-goals, is my dad. He has been involved in a number of business endeavor. Through his successes and failures, he has taught me that tough times don’t last…tough people do, and that I should never be afraid of taking a risk on myself.

My dad also showed me how businesses have the power to improve people’s lives, specifically, communities. I am never prouder than when my dad’s former colleagues call him to let him know of a new development in their lives, a new role they got, sending a kid to college, or finally being able to buy a house. The gratitude expressed for the impact my dad and his business had in helping them realize their dreams is the community impact I wish to carry on.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? I want to start my own company someday. It is not only an invaluable learning experience but also a chance to have a bigger impact. I would also like to give back to all the cities I’ve lived in throughout my life, in particular my hometown of Tripoli, which has been through a lot in recent years.

How has the pandemic changed your view of a career? Seeing the changes imposed by the pandemic made me realize how fast and how deeply things can change. This has pushed me to try and forge a career where continuous learning is not just encouraged, but necessary for success, to ensure that I am best prepared for the future.

What made Omar Mawlawi such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2022?

“Omar is an accomplished student in his own right as he speaks three different languages and strong academically. Omar came to Canada during the start of a pandemic which has proven him to be resilient, adaptive and very capable to overcome any obstacle in his academic journey. As a proud Lebanon student, the first request Omar had was to hang a Lebanon flag in the Ivey classroom with others that had been displayed.  Omar does not forget where he comes from and it is students like Omar who make the Ivey classroom a diverse and welcoming space.”

Mindy Studnicka
Director, MBA Program Services
Ivey Business School


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