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Why MBA: ESSEC Business School

Lebanese telecoms executive Samer Farhat has led strategic projects in Europe, Africa and Asia, but the ESSEC Global MBA adds a new dimension to his profile!

By  Ifeatu Nnaobi

Thu Oct 11 2012

Samer Farhat’s career in telecoms spans nearly a decade with extensive involvement in international projects, but he felt that he needed an MBA to take his career to the next level. 
Samer worked with Sofrecom France for over four years before leaving his job as a consultant and project manager for the ESSEC Business School Global MBA. Sofrecom is an Orange group subsidiary which provides specialist telecoms consultancy and engineering in both developed and emerging markets. 
Samer is originally from Lebanon and moved to France over ten years ago. Throughout his career, he has led strategic projects for major companies in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East. 
Samer told us that he felt the ESSEC Global MBA adds a new dimension to his profile since his career prior to it was based mostly on technical knowhow from his Electrical Engineering Bachelors from the American University of Beirut, and project management professional qualifications. 
He was ready to move onto the next phase of his career but felt he needed new knowledge to take on the additional responsibilities. “I needed the business knowledge especially in finance, accounting and marketing strategies”, he said. 
In choosing  a school, Samer’s top priorities were high quality teaching and optimum interaction amongst students, and also between the students and faculty. He also wasn’t very keen on moving, having travelled a lot as part of his former job. He wanted to have Paris as his base while he made the most of the excellent learning opportunity. 
ESSEC’s Global MBA matched Samer’s criteria. The school also responded fast and offered better value for money than some of the other French schools he considered. The programme also gave him the chance to study in Singapore and work on international projects. 
Although, Samer already had experience of working international projects, he said the global part of the MBA was very enriching. “The Singapore experience was very rich and we also went to Russia to learn about the business environment there. It gave me exposure that I can use in my career."
During the MBA, Samer also spent four weeks in Cairo, Egypt with a microfinance company PlaNet Finance. 
Samer had just completed the MBA when we spoke with him and was getting some much needed rest after 12 months of intensive learning. He's keen to stay on in the telecoms industry but moving from the more technical and operational aspects to becoming involved in revenue generation, customer and service improvement strategies and developing innovative ways to capture value. 
If there is one thing he will take away from the MBA, it's the lesson of how important diversity is in the workplace. "I honestly learned so much from my colleagues: 12 nationalities in a batch of 24 from so many different backgrounds and diverse experiences. It really shows you what thinking outside the box is", he said. 
Read more about the reasons people head to business school  in the Why MBA section