In this edition of our Students and Graduates Programs series, we interviewed Khalid Galal Shaban, Security Digital Offering Representative for IBM Middle East and Africa about his experience with the IBM Middle East and Africa (MEA) University program.
Why did you apply to the program?
I remember someone saying to me “IBM is a big school where you can learn a lot inside”. This was the main reason I joined. I wanted to learn as much as I can from such a big mentor like IBM – how corporate life works and how to be prepared for the corporate world.
What interesting experiences have you had since you joined IBM?
Since I joined I have been exposed to many experiences – I got to meet clients (CIOs and CISOs), and have been engaged in technical presentations and demos. I handled many roles in just under eight months, which support my words above when I said that IBM is a big school that you will learn a lot in.
Currently, I function as Security Digital Offering Representative where I assist clients in their purchase journey – from showing them the product from a technical perspective to closing the deal at the end. It’s really an educating role, I get to meet some customers and conduct remote demos through our digital tools. I stay up-to-date when it comes to my offerings, technical and sales-wise, which becomes a continuous cycle of learning.
Where do you see your career going next?
I am fascinated by the word “entrepreneurship”, and I always desired to be one thinking it means to have a business of my own. I soon realized that entrepreneurship is a mindset and not a career. Having an entrepreneurial mindset means being open to change, being a problem solver, someone who takes the first step, who goes out of the comfort zone, and someone who is innovative.
Entrepreneurs think and do things differently. But you can be entrepreneurial even if you are working for someone else, with the buzzword “Intrapreneurial” highlighting the desire of employers to have adaptable, flexible employees who can think for themselves.
Being intrapreneurial means knowing your industry inside out, and being able to take advantage of that knowledge to create new opportunities. It means sharing ideas freely, and celebrating failures as learning and growing experiences. Being intrapreneurial means simply thinking outside the box which is pretty much what we do here in the IBM Cairo Digital Sales center. We do team up marketing to create innovative campaigns for our products, trying to figure out the best way to approach a customer and to figure out their needs. We are always innovating and that’s my vision for my career, an intrapreneurial who’s continuously learning and innovating inside his workspace.
What stands out about the MEA University program?
The IBM MEA University program offers a great chance to learn new things, and meet great people. The program offers me the chance to meet top industry clients, people with huge experience in their fields. I was also mentored by my many colleagues in my office, each offering great assistance that enabled me to understand and adjust quickly. The program gave me the opportunity to meet a rare breed of individuals who are extremely helpful and encouraging. I couldn’t thank them enough for their support.
What challenges you have faced with the program?
The fast pace of change was the most challenging part. In this role, I had to learn to adapt and be flexible to the different roles assigned to me, and the different products to be learned. This helped me a lot to learn the agile way and get a little closer to my goal of being an intrapreneur.
What tips can you share to help future applicants?
Be open and flexible. We are now in a time where everything changes quickly – there are always new technologies, new companies, new opportunities, and IBM is a leading example of this. Embrace the opportunity and learn as much as you can from the experience.
Discover what you could do at IBM. www.ibm.com/employment/emea/africa/