Alumni Stories - Farah AbdulHadi, Warwick Business School MBA ‘16

Alumni Stories - Farah AbdulHadi, Warwick Business School MBA ‘16 main image

The Brexit vote of June 2016 sent shockwaves across the UK business school community.

In late 2016, almost half of over 9,000 international MBA applicants surveyed by GMAC said that Brexit made them less likely to study in the UK. There were fears over employment prospects and visas, while some UK business schools started to lose their market share to those in mainland Europe.

Palestinian Farah AbdulHadi was a full-time MBA student at Warwick Business School in the UK when the Brexit vote happened. She’d moved on from auditing jobs at EY, and the Palestinian Investment Fund in the Middle East, to gain more international exposure and start a new career in consulting.

During her MBA, she took full advantage of the opportunities on offer. She went on an international exchange to SDA Bocconi in Milan; she worked on a consulting project with Jaguar Land Rover, and she served as director of the school’s annual Healthcare Case Challenge, sponsored by GE Healthcare.

Regardless of the political situation, Farah used her MBA experience to make the career transition she wanted. Now, she’s a senior management consultant at GE Healthcare in London, working internationally, in the UK, and the Middle East.

BusinessBecause caught up with Farah to find out more.


How did the job at GE Healthcare come about?

Find out why Brexit didn't stop Farah AbdulHadi from studying her MBA in the UKI was director of the Healthcare Case Challenge during the MBA and that challenge—to do with solutions for managing dementia—was sponsored by GE Healthcare.

When I gave a speech at the final ceremony, a senior partner at GE Healthcare was listening. He sent an email to the school, recognizing how the case challenge was a success, and he also mentioned me by name.

Consulting was what I wanted to do from the start and, in healthcare, I felt I could not only benefit myself but help other people as well. I reached out to the GE Healthcare director; I was offered an interview; and I landed the job!


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

Take the initiative. Most people go to career fairs, networking events, and resume workshops, which are all channels for getting a job. But there are also other opportunities that can help you stand out.

When I started working on the case challenge, I didn’t expect to get a job out of it—I didn’t do it because GE was the sponsor. I got into it to milk my MBA experience—to take part in extra-curricular activities—and then it paid back. At a careers fair, I would have been one in a thousand applicants—it’s not only about the traditional route.

I would also say turn your challenges into opportunities. I came to the UK in a difficult year. Brexit was mainly about immigration and I was coming from the Arab world. But in the mindset of all of that, I found the opportunity; I found a sponsor for my visa, and I made my way.


Why did you decide to pursue an MBA in the UK?

My experience working in Palestine was quite good. I was fortunate enough to get a good pay, but I didn’t find my career challenging. I wanted to climb the ladder and explore consulting. I decided that an MBA would be the key to increasing my confidence and my ability.

I didn’t want a part-time MBA. I wanted the full experience, and part of that is getting international exposure. The UK was always the number one destination for me. I believe in the strength of education in the UK and I also loved the fact that most MBA programs in the UK are one-year programs.


Why Warwick?

Warwick’s MBA program emphasized leadership and soft skills. I felt that while it’s easy to read a book and learn from it, you need someone to help you with your soft skills if you want to develop them. Warwick did that.

The Commonwealth Office covered a third of my MBA, Warwick another third, and I covered the rest myself. That was also a huge incentive for me to take the MBA.


How useful are websites like BusinessBecause (and TopMBA.com) for MBA applicants?

Very useful! My recommendation is always to go online and read to explore your options. When you read about someone’s personal experience, it’s much more relatable to you—it feels like you’re in their shoes.

When I was planning for my MBA, I read articles about student accommodation, rankings, every aspect of MBA life, before I made my decision of Warwick and the UK.

Marco De Novellis
Written by Marco De Novellis

Marco De Novellis is a business journalist and editor of BusinessBecause. BusinessBecause is a trusted source of business school news, with punchy daily editorial about the lives of MBAs and the career paths they choose, as well as practical resources for b-school applicants.



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