Dr. Nasser Marafih, CEO of Qtel Group
Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar kicked off its “Making the Connection” lecture series Tuesday with a talk by Dr. Nasser Marafih, CEO of Qtel Group. The program brings to campus a diverse range of industry leaders to speak with students about their organization, their careers, and to share their insights into business.
The series is part of a broader Connections program organized by Carnegie Mellon University’s Office of Professional Development that aims to build partnerships between the university and businesses. Through these partnerships, students develop a deeper knowledge of industries and gain practical experience through internships, while businesses benefit from the fresh ideas of potential future employees.
“It is important for Carnegie Mellon University to ensure our students are exposed to a realistic picture of professional life after college,” said Khadra Dualeh, Director, Office of Professional Development at Carnegie Mellon. “We invite corporate leaders to educate and enlighten our students by helping them understand the decisions they make about courses and internships and the impact it will have on their career development.”
“Our goal is to expose students to successful, visionary role models, and we sincerely believe they could learn a great deal from our partners in industry,” Dualeh said. The lectures are also beneficial to Carnegie Mellon faculty, as the networking opportunity fosters collaboration and enables research partnerships with industry representatives.
In a well-attended lecture, Marafih inspired students with his presentation on Qtel’s history and how the compnay has grown by captializing on new trends in the telecommunications industry.
“At Qtel we were faced with many issues and obstacles, which we have successfully resolved and overcome,” said Marafih, who has been working with Qtel for 19 years and became CEO in 2002. Qtel exists in 17 markets throughout the Middle East, North Africa and Asia, and strives to become one of the top 20 telecommunications companies in the world by 2020.
According to Marafih, hiring the right people to execute a strong vision helped Qtel become a successful company.
“Graduate with flying colors – with a good education and a degree that is relevant to the market – go after what you are passionate about, learn from the best, and finally, be associated with a company that can help train and develop your skills,” Marafih said.
During the lecture Marafih listed critical skills that would enable students to succeed in this field and join Qtel Group. He also shared with students the list of programs available to them, which included scholarship programs, summer internship undergraduate programs and research activities that are offered by Qtel.
“It was really nice to see a very successful public figure talk about his experience to students. This is how we learn, get inspired and develop our personality – by meeting and listening to experts who chase after their dreams to make it to the top,” said Haider Zali, who is studying Business Administration at Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar.
“Making the Connection Lecture Series gives us a sense of direction; it helps us decide what to do in the future. What I have learned from today’s lecture is that nothing is impossible and where there’s a will, there’s a way,” he added.
Carnegie Mellon’s “Making the Connection Lecture Series” was launched in 2005 and has hosted renowned experts in various fields and industries. It features prominent figures who bring their insight and experience to students and the Doha community. The series is focused on helping Qatar realize its National Vision 2030, by developing students to contribute to a knowledge-based economy. Past lecturers include Vikram Pandit, Chairman & CEO, Citigroup; Robert P. Kelly, Chairman & CEO, The Bank of New York Mellon; Dr. Douglas Comer, VP of Research, Cisco; Tim Flynn, International Chairman, KPMG and Frederic Riberias, CFO, GE (Oil & Gas).
The second lecture of the series will take place on Sunday October 23, and will feature Yacine Messaoui, Manager of IT and Digital Media at Al Jazeera Network. The lecture, titled “Technology-Enablers of the Arab Spring,” will be open to the public.