Mohamed Medhat Elshoubary, DBA graduate 2019: "I consider the whole DBA experience as a turning point in my life—it primarily made me discover a lot not only about myself but also about my career. I am willing to take the benefit of the great deal of knowledge I gained over the last four years of learning. "
Study abroad is the single most effective way of changing the way we view the world.
In addition to my expertise as a pharmacist working for 20 years in the marketing department of strategic pharmaceutical companies in the Middle East, my postgraduate studies for my MBA and DBA gave me a great deal of knowledge concerning the academic field.
Once I finalized my MBA, I was always thinking about what would be the next step. I still had a passion for studying and learning; I wanted a firm discipline and a real development of my knowledge. I realized a DBA would be the model answer; so, I spent much time researching to choose the fittest program for me. I started with a shortlist of triple-accredited business schools, and at that time (2015), only 56 schools were crowned with such accreditation. GEM was ranked number four among French business schools and offered a blended learning system suitable for professional individuals. Moreover, the DBA was a double-degree program with Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna, adding the Italian touch to the DBA. I remember my first trip to GEM and how stressful it was getting out of my comfort zone until I met the friendly face of Tiphanie, the program administrator who facilitated everything.
Although my original field of study was pharmaceutical science, I can say the DBA was a much tougher and demanding program. I was lucky my advisor offered his consistent help for my DBA study and its related research; I'm grateful for his understanding, inspiration, and colossal learning. His direction helped me in all the seasons of my study and composing my research postulation. I couldn't have envisioned having a more excellent guide and coach for my DBA study; he was my sincere coach during my full four years of research. In my opinion, the advisor is the cornerstone in the success of the DBA.
Throughout the DBA journey, I faced many challenges, and the balance between family, full-time job, and other obligations was a real burden. I had to scarify most of my social life; all my vacations were dedicated to studying and then writing my thesis. Harmonization between my DBA studying and work duties, such as travel, project deadlines, meetings, new product launches, and management of a team of product managers, was a real dilemma at the beginning with many pressures everywhere until I learn to handle the whole situation. My most challenging decision was to finalize my DBA in only four years, not more—I send a big shout-out to my family who gave me a big caring hand and showed understanding.
I also owe a genuine thank you to my cohort, with whom I shared extraordinary agreeable occasions and from whom I received a great deal of help. One of the advantages of studying for a DBA at GEM is the multicultural and diversified backgrounds of classmates. We came from nine different countries and 10 diverse industries, enriching the exchange of expertise among all our colleagues. Besides, from Beirut to London, I have friends in every city I visit.
Since day one, the group coalesced both personally and professionally, and we had fun in the evenings, which was a real change from the morning workshops. We explored every inch of Grenoble, enjoying dinners mixed with pleasure and a passion for learning. We were also lucky to take the last workshop in Pisa, Italy, which was a privilege of the joint degree. We had many good times and gained tons of new knowledge to sharpen our saws.
I will always remember the long trips to Grenoble involving multiple flights, trains, and buses. My viva voce day was a memorable one with the cold fresh breezes of December and positive vibes that I always felt around the school. I had a great day, which I will never forget and ended a long enjoyable journey. That night, I slept as I hadn't for years, and I almost missed my flight the next day. After a short run, I finished dressing in the train on my way to the airport!
Finally, I can never forget graduation day and its mystical night. The graduation day reflects GEM's spirit—excellent preparations, friendly professors, and a mix of diversified cultures and ages. It was a full day flavored with morning passion and ending with adrenaline stirring everybody of various ages to celebrate. The graduation day was the end of a hard time of student life to a new beginning as an alumni.
Mohamed Medhat Elshoubary, DBA graduate 2019