In terms of cosmopolitan cities, we often hear about New York, London, Shanghai or Sidney but the city of Dubai has nothing to envy to these major cities. Indeed, this global city has become through the years a must-be business hub for companies in the world. Still today, Dubai is the most active city in the region in terms of project with its main revenues coming from tourism, its transportation hub, real estate and financial services.
The city, where money has never been a problem to innovate, build and create amazing projects, is nowadays one of the most attractive city in the world for company to establish. Therefore, culture diversity is widely spread and it is playing an important role within the city. Around 90% of the population has immigrated in Dubai, meaning that only 10% of the population is Arab UAE nationals.
To understand this strong multicultural asset of Dubai, we interviewed Mohamed Maktabi. This young professional is a 27 years old Lebanese who works for Ernst & Young (EY) in Dubai and thus witnesses this multicultural aspect on a daily basis.
After graduating from the Lebanese American University in Beirut, Mohamed started his career in a local investment bank in Lebanon. In 2013, he moved to Dubai and has since been working in the transaction advisory services division for EY.
Thanks to him, we were to better understand the multicultural assets of living in Dubai…
CL: You’ve been working for EY for approximately 2 years, could you tell us briefly what is your role within EY?
Mohamed Maktabi: I work in the transaction advisory services at EY. We provide our clients with financial services in order to help them take business and financial decisions. We assist them by undergoing valuations, feasibility studies, market entry strategies and due diligence.
Why did you choose Dubai as a working destination to start your career?
Working for one of the « Big 4 » in a city like Dubai is an ideal place to start and develop your career. Dubai allows you to mature exponentially with its pace of development. It is one of the few cities in the world that changes immensely every half a decade. And being in the center of this development can only impact you positively.
Could you tell how is a typical day in Dubai as a young professional?
Although living in Dubai, the environment in which you work in is very similar to any other city in my point of view. When working for a big firm, you need to be fully committed and know how to manage your time. During busy periods we work until late at night, which I assume is the same anywhere else in the world.
How many nationalities do you work with everyday?
In my team, there are 9 to 10 different nationalities but the office accounts more than 30 to 40 different nationalities.
What are the challenges accompanying the management of such a multicultural project team?
I wouldn’t say it’s a challenge, but you need to adapt. Certain people have a different interpretation to certain things. You sometimes need to do efforts or to be lenient in order to cope with those barriers.
And what are the benefits taken from working with such a multicultural team?
Working in such a nationality-diverse team can only be positive to the firm. Professionally, when having work-related discussions, the different thinking leads us to a higher creativity in work. When we have people coming in from different backgrounds and different cultures, exchanging ideas can sometimes allow you to achieve better thinking and therefore get us different outcome.
Could you give us recommendations to work in a multicultural work environment?
I think there are 3 words to remember: to adapt, to be open-minded, to be patient in certain occasions.
So why not give a thought about working in Dubai?