AUD Alumni Mohamed Swidan explains how he landed his dream job with LinkedIn and why university education isn’t just about what happens in the classroom
When Mohamed Swidan sat down to choose his university major in the year 2000, it wasn’t the advice of his school career director, or the life of a world-famous role model who inspired his choice, but the belief of his grandfather that IT would be the world’s next big industry.
With the difficult part done, his AUD education began and in 2004 Mohamed graduated with a Bachelor of Information Technology.
About his time spent at AUD, Mohamed says: “My best memory after more than 10 years of graduating is a collection of many things, sitting outside the cafeteria chatting and laughing with friends, starting the Egyptian Club, becoming VP of the SGA, sleepless nights studying and finishing a project, and definitely meet everyone I met in AUD
.” Reminiscing on the experience, Mohamed is quick to admit that the focus throughout his education was to graduate as quickly as possible, in order to embark on his career.
“Like any university student all I dreamt of was the day the studying and projects would be over, but after graduation the feeling of ‘what do I do?’ hit me really hard
,” he shares.
What happened next took him on a professional journey that today combines his strongest skills with a job that allows him to support the brand direction and recruitment success of a diverse range of companies across the MENA region.
“The most inspirational classes at AUD were given by those who worked in the field and taught AUD classes part time, in addition to their industry careers. It was very inspiring to know that they based our lessons to what actually happens in the corporate world
,” he recalls.
After graduation, Mohammed sought the support of the AUD Career Office, where he learnt to create opportunities for himself based on his strengths and ambitions. After a long interview process with Cisco Systems Mohamed landed his first role as Account Manager through a sub-contracted organization. But his feet kept itching.
“As any young individual I wanted to make sure that I was building my career in the right industry, and a few months into the role with Cisco I decided to try a completely different industry. I joined the FMCG world to work with Coty M.E. as a commercial executive across a number of markets
“Initially it was very interesting, but completely different from the IT industry
.” So Mohamed reached out to Cisco, who re-hired him as an Account Manager and, within months, he was promoted to a full time Territory Account Manager.
“I don’t want my story to encourage students to jump from role to role, but to find what they enjoy doing and do it. I have been immersed in the industry since the minute I realized my passion for the IT sector and I have worked in different organizations in that domain because this is where I find my joy in what I do
,” he advises.
Now armed with the experience and clarity to know how he wanted his career to play out, Mohamed utilized a personal contact at LinkedIn and after a lengthy interview process landed a job as Key Account Director.
It’s a role that takes Mohamed across the MENA region; guiding and consulting LinkedIn’s key accounts and helping those companies increase their brand equity as employers as well as their influence in recruitment. Each day is a mix of presentations, meeting, collaborative thinking and problem solving.
It won’t be the last step on the ladder; Mohamed’s next ambition is to lead a multinational organization, but for now he has some life lessons to share. His advice to AUD students today is simple: work hard, play hard and take every opportunity to work during their studies, either part time or through internships.
To graduates, he says: “I know how you feel: you want your first opportunity and perhaps even your biggest pay check, immediately. But life is all about steps. Explore what you would like to be part of or do, and start taking those steps towards your goal. Success is one step at a time