"It’s not about a bunch of rules you can learn at school and just apply them in real life" - Tarek El-Gindi
Interviewer: Well, hello! My name is sara Elaraby, it is October 25, 2015 and it is just about 10:30 pm , and I will be interviewing Mr. Tarik El-Gindi on the effects of university after graduation for my JRMC 2202 class project. So! Mr. El-Gindi, could you please introduce yourself? Tell us who you are, how you spell your name, where you live, and how old you are?
Interviewee: That’s a lot of questions all in one Sara! Well, of course; my name is Tarik El-Gindi, that’s spelled T-A-R-I-K (space of course) E-L-G-I-N-D-I. I live in Dubai, I’m here in vacation, on vacation sorry, in Egypt. I never actually lived in Egypt, nor do I have any relatives here, but like I… since I studied at AUC and everything I feel like it’s a second home away from…the home, which also isn’t my home, back in Dubai as well. But yeah, what were the other questions?
Interviewer: How old you are?
Interviewee: I am 24 years old.
Interviewer: Okay…you said you were in Egypt for AUC, when did you graduate?
Interviewee: I actually graduated back in 2013; I’ve only been there for a year, most of my university career was actually in AUS back in the UAE; but I spent a year here, after that I came in 2012 and it ended in 2013. I graduated as an Advertising Major, and I’m actually working now at an advertising firm! Advertising / Marketing firm, back in the UAE called “Elephant Nation”. It’s not a startup, nor is it big, it’s somewhere in between where its new, not as strong as the competitors in the market, but we’ve done some pretty major projects and thankfully I was lucky enough to move up in the ranks pretty early on. I started off as an account manager, and now I am a senior executive account manager; the difference between the two is it’s just that now I have power over other people and I’m like, you can say, as a team leader. I lead team projects, and yeah, that’s basically it in a nutshell.
Interviewer: Oh wow. That’s a very big move up, congratulations!
Interviewee: Thank you, Thank you!
Interviewer: So you also said you were doing advertisement in university, and that’s what you majored in when you graduated, so do you feel as though having been an alumni for awhile, and having graduated with that same major you’re working in professionally now, did university actually help you prepare in some way for that professional life?
Interviewee: Oh definitely, definitely! Like…When it comes to a major like advertising, or a career of advertising, of course like other careers it definitely…it’s not about a bunch of rules you can learn at school and just apply them in real life, you also have to have field experience as well, but thankfully, and I’m not one to praise AUC all the time, but the programs at AUC actually do involve a lot of real-life experience. We did a few projects for advertising firms, I have a couple certificates from that, we also do a lot of… we also did a lot of hands-on projects basically, like we worked with professionals, not just did things for these advertising firms and they assess it, but actually worked with them hand-in-hand… there were a lot of mentoring…what’s the word? Mentoring…mentors, if you want to call them, or mentoring programs where some of my professors they had some connections, which is great. And yeah, no, I’m pretty sure university did definitely help, it gave me a big push, but also thankfully because I lived in the UAE before actually coming to Egypt, I lived there almost my entire life, I had a lot of connections myself other there so a piece of advice is to just make sure your net is out there, you throw it out there and make sure you can catch onto everything, or sorry, as much as you can; catch onto as much as you can because you’re going to need them in the future.
Interviewer: So would you say there was anything professionally that maybe university didn’t really help you be prepared for?
Interviewee: I’m sorry, could you repeat that?
Interviewer: Oh, I’m sorry! What I mean to say is, do you believe that there was anything that university wasn’t able to prepare you for in the professional world?
Interviewee: Oh definitely, that’s the thing, it’s like I said in the beginning, its not just in my major specifically, a lot of my friends who also graduated and have been working for a year or two now, they say the same thing… it doesn’t matter what career you decide, the market or the industry that you’re in, plus also on top of that the firm you’re actually working for, no matter- whether you like it or not, you’re going to have to learn new things in order to be able to work with them, like even if you’re say …you’ve been working as a “marketeer” for, say what, two years, right? You have the experience and everything, and you go to another organization, your going to have to learn some things from scratch as well, but the university did definitely give me the base, a very strong base, which I was able to build things on from. But again, career-wise, no the university …no university actually can teach you how specific organizations work. Because everyone has their own competitive advantage and everyone has their own style, you know?
Interviewer: So what would be your best bit of advice for students who just graduated, or are about to, and they’re basically transitioning from a student life to a professional one?
Interviewee: It’s a very big transition, like if I can go back in time and give myself a little piece of advice would be to, and I know a lot of people are going to roll their eyes hearing this, but, with the educational part of it, also try to get some in-field training as well ; whether it be internships , if you know someone that does something that you probably want to do, ask questions! Believe it or not, there are many many advertising places or firms here in Egypt that offer like just quick month long or two-week long internships for students, they are benefitting something out of it but like its in-field training. That’s one piece of advice that I’d give you , its not 110% necessary, but it gives you a big push for sure.
Interviewer: Alright Mr. El-Gindi, that is all the time we have, but thank you so very much for agreeing to speak to me today on such short notice, and I hope you have a wonderful evening!
Interviewee: Oh thank you for your time Sara, have a great evening.
The Audio Feature
A soundbite audio feature commenting briefly on the original interview
"No university actually can teach you how specific organizations work." - Tarek El-Gindi
With students nowadays spending extensive time trying to earn a college degree, one would assume a career is nearly guaranteed after graduation. However, the ability to secure a job with just a degree has been decreasing, sending fresh graduates on a mad scramble, either for further education or settling for unpaid job experience. For the lucky ones though, they have steadily made their way up the corporate ladder, learning along the way. Tarik El-gindi, an American University in Cairo graduate, talked to us about his success.
Tarek El-Gindi (TG): “I graduated as an Advertising Major, and I’m actually working now at an advertising firm....we’ve done some pretty major projects and thankfully I was lucky enough to move up in the ranks pretty early on. I started off as an account manager, and now I am a senior executive account manager.” ( 20.7 Seconds (SB))
Perhaps one of the biggest issues that come with students’ job searches is the failure of their universities to apply career practice to their previous curriculum. Those of who are actually able to secure a job after graduation end up being forced to re-evaluate everything they knew, and learn new things along the way.
TG: “… it doesn’t matter what career you decide, the market or the industry that you’re in, plus also on top of that the firm you’re actually working for, no matter- whether you like it or not, you’re going to have to learn new things in order to be able to work with them” ... “no university actually can teach you how specific organizations work. Because everyone has their own competitive advantage and everyone has their own style, you know?” (23 Seconds (SB))
While some argue that the necessity of a college degree is decreasing in the current job marketplace, it can still provide a valuable foundation for a career to be built. The issue now is whether to focus on fulfilling a degree to its potential, or to gain as much career experience as possible during your time at university to help plant your foot in the corporate door.
Sara Elaraby, A-U-C Radio.