Zaid Asfour

Country of origin: Jordan

Area Sales Manager, Fluke

Zaid graduated in electrical engineering, specialising in communication and electronics, and then joined the French company Schneider Electric, where his prime responsibilities revolve mainly around developing the company’s retail market.

‘Working with Schneider has changed me,’ Zaid says. ‘My engineering degree did not include any courses in management or marketing and sales. But now my work exposes me to these kind of issues, in various ways.

‘After two years of working for Schneider Electric I saw it was necessary for me to reshape sharpen my skills in management, sales and marketing, because that is the core of what I am doing. They are skills I have acquired, in one way or other – particularly by doing some extra courses and doing some voluntary work which helped a lot, but I still felt I needed a professional degree – and that’s why I started looking at some MBA degrees.

As part of his extensive research, he came across Lancaster, and the Executive MBA – and was impressed both by the programme’s modular structure and by the School’s ranking: ‘To find I could study with a strong university, but still carry on with my work in Jordan – that was a tremendous opportunity and really helped make up my mind.

‘The ranking in the UK and worldwide encouraged me to go forward with this University. At the same time, the recommendations and feedback I got were also encouraging me to go forward for Lancaster.’

Applying learning directly to practice

‘I’ve been doing the programme for one year, and we’ve now taken most of the modules. Each module has something I feel has elevated and added to my experience at work.

‘Having assignments that are practical and connected to the work environment definitely makes a difference to the course. Each module has an assignment – generally a case study – and I was encouraged to do these case studies in my work environment. So for each module, I take one aspect of the topic under discussion – for example, for marketing I took branding, for organisational behaviour, I took psychological contract and organisational reforms – and I try to apply these concepts to my own work. I try to connect what I’ve been studying to what I am practising, and I’ve  found it so useful for enlightening me about my work.

‘I’ve found I’ve gained a better understanding of what’s happening within my own organisation. It’s a Fortune 500 company, and I can simply take and apply all the principles I’ve been learning through the MBA and see where it fits in my work.’