Latifa Aarab

Country of origin: France

Marketing and Communications Associate, PIMCO Europe

After five years working in international business, Latifa decided to add to her skill set via the Lancaster MBA. 

Before I enrolled on the Lancaster MBA I worked at HSBC Global Asset Management (France) for more than five years. I went through different roles from client servicing to business development support, especially for the Spanish market, and global business co-ordinator where I was responsible for co-ordinating the internal business development support with the HSBC Global Asset Management offices worldwide. Here I had the opportunity to focus on product development of Shariah-compliant (Islamic) funds.

These various responsibilities had given me a great insight into business and my academic background in languages – French, English, Spanish and Arabic – applied to international business was very helpful, but I felt the desire to go a step further and understand the different internal and external challenges that a company faces. I wanted to learn how to look at the bigger picture so that I could provide more added value in my daily work. And in response to that need I decided to do an MBA.

I chose the Lancaster MBA because it is a unique and high quality programme. Moreover, the profile of the students is very high and diverse which makes the Lancaster MBA class representative of the dynamics of the world we are living in.

New outlooks

The MBA has equipped me with the required skills in business, as I hoped it would.

With the Lancaster MBA, there is very much a "before" and an "after". You learn from every angle and are always putting yourself in challenging situations so that at the end of the year you realise the extent to which your thought processes have changed. And that's key – it's all about the process! No matter what environment you will be working in, you will be able to adapt because the MBA equips you for that.

Not only did I learn about the key skills in management but I also had the opportunity to apply them during a series of group projects. In addition, the summer research project was a very good exercise for deepening my knowledge of my specialist area of interest.

I am passionate about clothes and one of my favourite hobbies is to design my own. On my summer project I researched the differences between women’s and men’s buying behaviour in the UK. I learnt about the fashion retail market as a whole but above all I learnt about the different research techniques and methodologies that are key to undertaking successful research. I am currently using these techniques in my current job where I follow a strict methodology in the projects I manage.

I recently joined the London office of PIMCO Europe, which is a subsidiary of PIMCO, one of the world's largest fixed income asset management companies, as a Marketing and Communications Associate – and I can now see that my approach to problems has improved and that I am able to think from different perspectives.

Advice for prospective students

Looking for a job is a full-time activity, so I would suggest that anyone joining the MBA needs to be strategic and prepare. Identify what you want to do and then set up the right process to get you there. And finally, follow the excellent salary negotiation videos available as the part of the MBA career advancement programme. I can tell you, it works!