An established shipping company in the United Arab Emirates has turned to a University of Northampton student in his early 20s to help transform it into a major global player.
“I love challenges and this is the best challenge I have faced so far in my life,” said Sathish Raj, who has been appointed business development manager for the Abu Dhabi Shipping Agency (ADSA) – while still studying for a Master of Business Administration (MBA) postgraduate qualification.
Founded in 1979, ADSA hit choppy waters during the last recession, losing two key clients. As a consequence, the firm adopted a stabilising policy of looking after its remaining customers and putting expansion plans on hold.
Now, the business is looking to grow, and has tasked 24-year-old Sathish with plotting the best route to expansion.
And it was a little stroke of luck that led to Sathish finding out about ADSA’s search for somebody who could take the company forward.
He said: “I’d done a tremendous amount of self-marketing, networking with influential industry contacts on the LinkedIn website.
“This led to me being offered a job by Accenture UK earlier this year, but I turned it down as I wanted to move away from the technical work I performed in a previous job, and pursue a business development role.
“As luck would have it, I discovered one of my MBA course-mates, Mohamed Almehairbi, is the son of the owner of ADSA, and he mentioned they were looking for a business development manager.
“I met a representative from ADSA, who was impressed with the way I had been networking, and they offered me the job.”
While his self-marketing made Sathish stand out from the competition, his success was also down to a combination of having worked for a major multinational organisation – he spent three years as a system engineer with IBM India; an exemplary academic background; and learning key lessons from University of Northampton academics within the Faculty of Business and Law.
“I’ve been guided by three academics, all of whom have extensive industry experience,” said Sathish, who grew up in the Southern Indian city of Chennai.
“Before I arrived in the UK, I expected the MBA course would teach me theory, and not much else. But in fact, the academics have all taught me invaluable lessons from their own experiences, and that has been worth so much to me.
“I’ve asked them so many questions and they’ve taken the time to give me their viewpoint, and I’ve never stopped learning – it’s been fantastic here at the University of Northampton and has helped me so much to get where I am now, and will undoubtedly help me throughout my career.”
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