Pharmacy and Biotechnology, Class'09
Product Development Manager, Danone Egypt
Did you ever feel that every day simply feels like a new big challenge where you need to prove yourself and push yourself to the maximum?!
Have you ever felt so exhausted from work that you do not even have the strength to open your eyes or drive your car back home, but you still persist, achieve and deliver good results?....Last but not least: Did you ever feel that you had to travel half way across the globe just to figure out who you really are and what you really want?
Well, if the answer to any of the above questions is ‘’YES’’ , then we definitely share something HUGE in common and I can guarantee you that you will enjoy your next couple of minutes.
And if the answer to all of those questions is’’ NO’’, then I definitely recommend that you continue reading my humble story because you have definitely missed out on some of the most rewarding and amazing feelings in life (good marketing for my story, right ?)
Well, with no further dues, here is my very humble and short journey in the world of adults since I graduated from the GUC in 2009. Actually, let me start a little bit earlier. My story starts back in 2007. I was finishing up my second year at college and I started thinking about what I wanted to do next after I finish my undergraduate studies.
And guess what???? I had the typical dream in mind…masters and phD…in Egypt or abroad…it wasn’t of a big difference for me..What I cared about at that time is to continue my postgraduate studies and join academia !
In that same year, I had the chance to do an internship at the University of Stuttgart in the Biotechnology lab. I’ve went there and completed my internship successfully…But you know what?…I did not enjoy research AT ALL.. I simply did not feel excited and the rhythm of research was too slow for me. I felt throughout my internship as if I am working in the back stage of a very important show or movie....but I am left at the back and I cannot hear or see what is happening LIVE on stage.
Despite all that, I kept on planning for a career in academia after I came back. And why??? Simply because I was a top ranked student and that was what all top students were doing. Academia was the career if you want to make the best use out of your pharmacy knowledge.
The year after, something totally unplanned, unexpected and unforeseen happened. Procter and Gamble came to the GUC to announce for internship positions across different European Research and Development centers. Believe it or not, I was totally not interested. After 5 years of heavy duty, hard labor Pharmacy studying, should I go for working in a non pharmaceutical company?
Then I thought to myself: What do I have to lose? I have nothing planned for my next summer anyway (it was the summer commencing my 4th year in uni). So why not go, enjoy a European summer and meet people from around the world?
So, I have gone through the famous series of P&G interviews (which were extremely competitive by the way), got accepted and simply packed my bags…and for the second year in a row: OFF TO EUROPE!!! This time my destination was Brussels. The city of chocolate, diamonds, fries and the most amazing waffles EVER .
Once again, the totally unexpected happened. I got to spend one of the most amazing summers ever….And it was not only because of the amazing waffles… I actually enjoyed so much working in a multinational and very dynamic business environment. I enjoyed working in R&D for such companies and become the “BRAIN” that drives the business forward. Far and foremost, and for the first time ever, I felt that I was finally IN THE MOVIE and not at the back stage anymore. The rhythm of research was just what I wanted: dynamic and agile. I did an amazing job in my internship el 7amdu LELAH and got offered a position of R&D manager in the Brussels Innovation centers (one of the biggest research centers for P&G). HOW AWESOME IS THAT? Who would ever dream of such an opportunity that was ready and waiting for me after my graduation?
Wait, wait…It’s not that easy. Are you kidding ya Nadine? You want to go abroad alone and work while everyone else is doing a masters? Be wise and stay on the safe side !. So, I went back, finished my studies and graduated as the 7th ranked student. Finally, I decided to go for masters at the GUC and become a TA like the rest of the top students. I was too scared to admit the mere fact that I am simply following the crowd.
And here it comes, GOD’s unexpected intervention for the 3rd time. On the day I was about to sign my contract with the GUC, they decided to hire only hire 6 full time TAs based on the faculty requirements. I was number 7.. OH GOD!!! I was so frustrated, bitter and angry at the whole world. After all this hard work and being in the top 10 students, I cannot work as a TA. I was totally depressed.
Now I realize that this was actually the best thing that ever happened to me . Six month later, I was working as an R&D manager in one of the biggest research centers in P&G, doing what I really enjoyed doing: Research in a multinational business environment. I stayed for two years in that position and my performance exceeded the company’s expectations el7amdu LELAH.
Were those two years an easy ride? HELL NO. It was full of uncertainty, business challenges and bearing the responsibility of representing my country and religion to the whole company. On the personal level, it was even more and more challenging. It was the first time for me to live alone, away from my family and my two years there could be easily summarized as follows: The most challenging self-discovery journey EVER! But I can tell you that in every single day of my corporate experience, I was growing and learning like never before. It was fitting my personality and my passion much more than academia did. And I was on the verge of giving up my dream just because I was following the crowd.
So, my one and only advice for you is as simple as this: DO NOT FOLLOW THE CROWD!! Never be scared to think out of the box and follow your passion
PS: I came back to Egypt 1 year ago and still working in the R&D field but for another company (Danone), since it was one of the very few consumer goods’ companies that had good R&D positions.
For those people who will for sure ask: Why on earth did you come back? I will answer you a very cliché answer but it’s really sincere: I wanted to give back to my country and my community! As simple as that !
To apply for Danone: Please visit our Linkedin group “Danone Egypt” (http://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=2995498&trk=group-name) and ask the group admin to join. Vacancies are posted on a monthly basis, so whenever you find a position that interests you, just send your CV to the HR admin