Scholarship Alumnus Rises in Google Marketing
Despite the competitive nature of today’s job market, Tarek Abdalla ’99, Google’s regional head of marketing for the Middle East and North Africa, believes that AUC graduates are provided the requisite opportunities to excel in their chosen fields.
A former PepsiCo Endowed Scholarship recipient, Abdalla recalls his experiences at AUC fondly. Despite lamenting the constant hardship of finding a parking spot at AUC Tahrir Square campus, Abdalla recalls his favorite memories as involving the social atmosphere of the old campus. “My fondest memory was hanging out on the ‘Platform,’ the area in front of the Library, in our old Tahrir campus. There was always something fun happening, whether it was music or an art installation or catching up with friends between classes.”
The strength of AUC’s marketing program helped prepare Abdalla for his current marketing position at Google. As a business administration and marketing major, Abdalla affirms that “the AUC business administration experience is solid both from a pedagogical and cultural standpoint and really prepares students for life in the business world.” Even though he graduated more than 15 years ago, Abdalla learned real-life marketing skills that are central to his management of Google’s consumer marketing, business marketing and research teams across the region. He said, “I am struck today by how up to date and forward-thinking our curricula were back then. Marketing classes that Professor Ibrahim Hegazy and Professor Ahmed Taher taught always had a strong practical element with real-life case-studies that helped shape our thinking on how to apply theory to practice.”
In addition to lauding the quality of an AUC education, Abdalla advises current students to take advantage of the opportunities that an AUC education provides them. “The job market was and remains highly competitive. Merely graduating from AUC even 15 years ago never guaranteed us a great job and when fresh graduates were being considered by employers, distinctiveness was key. In that sense, I can’t overemphasize the importance of career services and that students take advantage of them,” he said.
AUC provides the tools to secure a good job and excel in the working world, but students must be forward-thinking and driven to succeed. Abdalla explains, “AUC remains the leading educational institution in Egypt and among the top in the region, and employers are attracted to it; its critical that students get real-life experience before graduating as this sets them apart when applying for full-time jobs.”
Furthermore, Abdalla emphasizes the impact scholarships can have in obtaining a job. Speaking from the role of a potential employer and a highly successful AUC scholarship alumni, he adds, “When reviewing a candidate, employers ask themselves whether she or he has shown exceptional leadership or participated in extra curricular activities or whether their educational achievements were recognized; so the role an educational scholarship plays is to demonstrate to employers that an educational achievement has been recognized by a third party to the point where it deserves an endowment. That is usually an attractive thing for an employer.” The PepsiCo Endowed Scholarship recognized Abdalla’s hard work and leadership potential, demonstrating his merit to future employers.
In sharing his fond memories of AUC and career advice to current students, it is apparent that Abdalla is a proud AUC alumnus. “I feel fortunate to be part of a community that had the opportunity to benefit from really high quality education while being immersed in one of the most intriguing cities in the world.”