“I don’t see it as career shifts, but rather required stages of development towards one’s mission…”
Dr. Mohamed Aly
Lecturer & Development Consultant at the American University in Cairo
Vice-Chairman of Nahdet El Mahrousa
Interviewer: Dina Marei
Edited by: Amira Haytham, Mahmoud El Dsoky
Publisher: Amira Haytham
HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: First of all, Dr. Mohamed Aly, thank you for taking the time to be with us and sharing with us your insights! So, let us begin, can you tell us a bit more about yourself?
Mohamed Aly: You are most welcome. I am Egyptian, 42 years old, graduated 20 years ago from the American University in Cairo, and pursued by post graduate studies in the UK. I am currently lecturing at the AUC School of Business, beside my professional training and consulting career in the fields of Strategic Management and Organizational Development. In addition, I am the vice-chairman of Nahdet El Mahrousa Association. My mission is making a positive difference in the mindset of the Egyptian people; i.e. spread the “strategic thinking” virus 😊.
HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: Tell us more about the inspirational story behind the dramatic shift in your career from Mechanical Engineer to Strategic Management Professor.
Mohamed Aly: I don’t see as dramatic. I wanted to have the systematic thinking of an engineer, but I was more interested in applying this in business. Hence, I joined the AUC to be able to major in engineering while minoring in business. In addition to being able to apply that in practice through the distinguished student activities where I was one if its students leaders.
After graduation I joined the Internet field from its start (mid-90s), till I managed the Microsoft MSN portal / network in the Arab Region. After which I was the general manager of a Project Management company, then left it to the academic and consulting career. I don’t see it as shifts, but rather required stages of development towards one’s mission.
HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: Where do you currently see the future of business with all the modern trends such as Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Currencies?
Mohamed Aly: I see it moving as fast and strong as a bullet that will lead to a huge revolution and paradigm shift of business in 2020s decade. We are living in the last years of “business as we know it”. Whole industries will either end or shift, whole jobs will disappear or get replaced. Tens of other jobs and opportunities will appear and develop too for those who can watch, digest, learn, and develop.
HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: As recognized, Egypt lacks attention in the area of Education, if were in a high-ranking position with a budget, what would be your first decisions?
Mohamed Aly: This isn’t that easy. I would actually fund the development of the teachers right away, any program that doesn’t have teachers’ development as its one of the first steps will fail. 70% of the success of any course is dependent on the teacher, and 30% on everything else. My following decision will be about blended learning in order to make use of the widely spread internet and overcome the shortage in physical space for schools and classrooms.
HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: If you have been asked to put long-term goals for Human Capital Management practices at MENA region, what would they be?
- Integrating the education syllabus with the needs of the market.
- Empowering Strategic Thinking, Organization Development, Human Resources from company seniors. Not mixing OD & HR under each other as they are 2 different yet integrating functions.
- Continuously developing the middle & upper management, on both mental and psychological levels. The main reason of demotivation in MENA region is “direct managers” according to the CMI statistics.
- Having a program for reinforcing and appreciating innovation within employees, focusing on productivity rather than activity, effectiveness and not only efficiency.
HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: Do you think when Egypt will be able to make the transition to Knowledge Based Economy and then to Knowledge Economy?
Mohamed Aly: Can’t tell exactly when, there are a lot of prerequisites that aren’t yet fulfilled in education computability, market dynamics, banking, laws… etc. But we have to RUN, as if we don’t make that transition, we will be out of business and may be even out of history.
HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: Could you walk us through your regular day?
Mohamed Aly: I travel a lot, but usually there are some solid rituals in my weekdays. I wake up early (between 5 and 6am). I like to have sometime for meditation, then I quickly check my mail and update my action plan for the day. Then around 7 I go to exercise for an hour or more before having breakfast & coffee. After that I either head to work or sit and write / prepare / design .etc. I use evenings to either read, surf the internet, or connect with friends. Weekends are my weekly time off for relaxing and exploring, and I don’t check emails or even phone and what’s app during weekends.
HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: If there’s one advice that you would give to the youth, what would it be?
Mohamed Aly: Indeed, They have to have a mission in their lives, working with a mission will make everything fall in its place no matter how odd it looks. While achieving their mission they have to be living their values and be in harmony with themselves in order to be genuine & work with passion, and that will keep them unique and credible. They have to realize that there is no real destination in this life, every achieved goal is just a threshold for another challenge in their journey, just keep going.
HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: Would you care to share your favorite quote that inspires you?
Mohamed Aly: “Luck happens when preparation meets opportunity” Roman Thinker Seneca,
And I would add “so always be ready”.
My Personal Quote: “It is never late to have a mission, live your values, & work with passion”.
HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: Thank you so much Dr. Mohamed for your time and effort, it’s been quite a pleasure to have you with us as part of this interview.
Mohamed Aly: The pleasure is all mine. Wishing you and your readers best of “luck” in their careers and lives.