Alumni Stories: Dima Al Tabbaa, Oxford Saïd Business School | TopMBA.com

Alumni Stories: Dima Al Tabbaa, Oxford Saïd Business School

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By Thomas Nugent

Updated February 25, 2021 Updated February 25, 2021

Dima Al Tabbaa is used to being out of her comfort zone. After graduating from the American University of Beirut she spent two-and-a-half years working for Deloitte in Syria during some of the toughest years of the civil war.

Although a lot of her friends and family thought her crazy for moving back to the country for work, she knew she had to prioritize a job that would enhance her career tenfold.

Her experience acted as a fast-track to an MBA—higher education was always her plan, but the resilience and knowledge she built in Syria allowed her to pursue the degree at a much earlier stage in her life.

When it was decision time, Oxford Saïd Business School came out on top.

Dima was exposed to the chasm of ideas that emanates from within the school’s walls. She shared a classroom with people from more than 58 countries, dined with neuroscientists, marine biologists, and entrepreneurs—all these interactions distinguished Oxford from any other institution for Dima.

She joined the 80 percent of Saïd Business School MBA graduates who land jobs within three months of graduating—with an average salary increase of 99 percent, and an average salary of US$145, 537.

Dima is Senior Vendor Manager at Amazon in Germany, where she says she applies her MBA acquired knowledge on a daily basis.

BusinessBecause caught up with Dima to find out more.

How did the job at Amazon come about?

I applied to Amazon during a recruitment event they had at Saïd. Initially, I came into the MBA knowing I would like to move out of the financial services sector and was looking towards tech companies and their roles.

After attending the Amazon presentation, I liked the combination of retail and tech and I felt it would be a cool place to work, while also challenging me with a steep learning curve. The school really supported us in preparing for interviews with tips, training, and running mock interviews.

We were also supported with alumni connections to understand more about their roles, and to get more ‘hands on’ feedback on certain career tracks.

What advice do you have for international MBA students looking to start new careers in Europe?

I think looking back, the best piece of advice I received when I was career hunting during my MBA was from a mentor of mine that said, ‘do not only focus on getting the job that checks off 3/4 of your criteria but emphasise on choosing a role that would get you closer to checking off them all’.

I think this helped me put things into perspective when evaluating offers not based on short term checks but rather on long term prospects.

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Why did you decide to pursue an MBA at Oxford Saïd?

At Oxford, you don’t just get a business degree, you get an education, a culture, and a network that extends to business professionals, scientists, philosophers, mathematicians, and many more.

I was accepted to many schools in the US, and making the decision is never easy, but when considering the full benefits of the MBA, the network, and school diversity, it was a much easier decision to make. I also gained a full scholarship from Oxford for my MBA.

Would you be where you are today without it?

In short, I definitely wouldn’t be where I am today without the MBA. The MBA allowed me to grow and learn on a personal level by exposing me to diversity within the class and hearing first-hand experiences about issues from around the world.

Without the MBA, I wouldn’t have the great network of friends and business contacts I currently have and continuously rely on for support and guidance. Finally, I wouldn’t have been able to tap into the European job market without the support of the school and the MBA qualification.

Why are website like BusinessBecause useful for MBA applicants?

I think the most important benefit for MBA applicants from sites like BusinessBecause is getting insight into what is happening in the field, as well as what other candidates and current MBAs are doing.

This helps you when filling in your application, preparing for your interviews with schools, as well as making a choice on schools.

This article was originally published in September 2018 . It was last updated in February 2021

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