Kumaran Bala

Kumaran Balasubramaniam

Khaled Boudemagh

Nationality: British
Programme: Executive MBA in Dubai, 2017
Position pre MBA: Vice-President - Regulatory Compliance, Barclays UAE
Post-MBA: Vice-President - MEA Compliance, Deutsche Bank AG
Current industry: Banking
Transitions made: Function

What factors made you decide to choose the Cass MBA over other programmes?

The need for intellectual challenge was the main driver for enrolling in the Cass Executive MBA in Dubai programme. This need was definitely met during the two years at Cass Business School. Additionally, I wanted to brush up on my knowledge and awareness of financial markets and instruments to help me transition from a wholesale banking environment into the global markets space.

How would you describe your overall experience on the EMBA?

While my initial intentions were to expand my technical knowledge, the real insight and ‘light-bulb’ moments came from the organisational behaviour, strategy and digital leadership modules – where I developed a new passion for these topics. These courses are all taught by international experts and, more importantly, full-time faculty from Cass Business School in London. As much as one can hope to learn from a stellar faculty, the quality of the Dubai EMBA cohort was equally impressive and allowed me to learn and exchange ideas with a very diverse group of peers.

My preference for the weekend modular course, which consisted of a four-day class every month was certainly the right decision for me. I still do believe this is the best way to truly immerse yourself in a postgraduate programme without being distracted by work and personal commitments that might arise if one were to opt for an evening course format. Additionally, the weekend format is a great way to build your network on the course during lunch breaks and evening social activities with the cohort.

For those thinking about the international electives, the range of these on offer is truly fantastic. My only regret is that I didn’t do enough of these.  Do as many of these electives as you possibly can - you won’t regret it.

I chose to do the China international elective, and it was an eye-opening experience. Anyone who wants to do business in China must attend this elective.

The highlight was meeting senior management from JD.Com at their amazing office. It’s essentially a company that is the Amazon of the Far East with ambitious future plans for East Asia. It was a real eye-opener to see how an Asian company is truly embracing digital technology, having already implemented the active use of aircraft drones for deliveries in China.

Another key highlight for me was attending a riveting lecture on Chinese renaissance by leading sinologist, David Gosset. He provided us with an insight into how China approaches the world of international trade and commerce, and more importantly how it differs from what we are generally used to in the West and Middle East

Could you outline how the EMBA has benefited your career?

I have been surprised by the soft skills that I have developed, thanks to my studies on this programme. Every student will find that the ability to work successfully with others is perhaps the most important by-product they will take away from the EMBA. It is a significant skill to master in the workplace and one that should not be underestimated. Your colleagues in the work environment will certainly notice it, appreciate it, and thank you for it.