Shehab El-Sherei graduated from the IE International MBA in 2016. In October 2016, he returned home to start his first assignment for the Eli Lilly Corporate Leadership Development Program in Cairo, Egypt. His job title is Corporate Leadership Development Specialist, the role is focused on Sales & Marketing and equips you with business acumen required for a fast-track to General Management roles. Before joining the IE International MBA, Shehab used to work within the IT industry, in multinational companies such as Oracle, Samsung & Microsoft. He started as technical consultant and moved to sales/account management roles across Africa, East Mediterranean, Gulf & Pakistan before coming to Spain. This is his testimony on career change, progression and success.
Q: Post-MBA, did you make a significant career change?
A: During my MBA year and with the help of Talent and Careers, I was exposed to multiple company presentations and other useful resources which triggered my interest to pursue my career in different industries. I made a significant career change from IT to Pharmaceuticals as well as expanding my job responsibilities from purely sales to a combination of Sales, Marketing, Brand Management and Corporate Strategy.
Q: Has your personal career strategy always been focused on the Pharmaceutical industry? Or on Marketing and Sales? Or both?
A: My personal career strategy was always focused on Sales & Business Development; the exposure to the pharmaceutical industry came through the company presentations provided by IE; which shed a lot of light upon the industry. I was privileged to meet with Eli Lilly and Company recruiters who explained the different roles inside the Pharmaceutical industry. After several discussions, I came to realize that by joining such program I would expose myself to in-depth knowledge about Sales in Pharmaceuticals as well as the role of Brand Managers from Marketing & Business Development perspectives.
Q: How did you find out about this job opportunity?
A: I was invited to attend several Eli Lilly and Company presentations, organized by Career Advisor Lorena Martinez. The first presentation was online, and I learned about the industry and Eli Lilly and Company’s aspirations. The second presentation was conducted on-campus during the Talent Forum where Eli Lilly and Company recruiters explained the open opportunities and how to apply, this was followed with a small networking event.
Q: How did Talent and Careers and your IE experience help you during the recruiting process? Did you use specific career resources or did you come across useful information via an advisor or alumni?
A: When I applied to the job and received an interview invitation, I reached out to Lorena Martinez. She was more than welcoming to help me prepare for the interviews as well as provided me with advice on what to focus on. Taking her advice, reaching out to classmates that worked in the industry as well as practicing what IMBA professors had taught us about company due diligence, building insights and understanding industry trends to be prepared for unforeseen questions or situations. The several Behavioral and Career Fitness sessions taken to develop the appropriate mindset, mock interviews and career sessions came in very handy.
Q: How was the recruiting process?
A: The interview process started just after the on-campus presentation. I had 2 screening interviews followed by 2 sets of assessments (Qualitative, Quantitative, Managerial Behavior, BioData). After passing the assessments, approximately 6 interviews took place: HR, Regional HR, Country Manager, Sales Director, Marketing Director, Regional Director.
Q: Would you want to share any tips or advice with student interested in applying to Eli Lilly and to their Leadership Development Program?
A: I would be more than glad to share or assist other students interested in Eli Lilly and Company.
Q: Could you share any advice for those pursuing a professional career on either Pharma industry or Marketing and Sales functions?
A: I would say bring your A game, pharmaceutical industry requires high motivation, passion and analytical skills. Depending on your first assignment, make sure you understand the industry and its KPIs. Be humble as it’s a mutual beneficial learning experience, you want to learn and excel as well as give back and share the knowledge attained through your MBA. It’s a very dynamic sales industry that measures market share per week so hard work and dedication is essential. It’s also very regulated industry so comprehending the marketing strategies is crucial.
About Eli Lilly and the Corporate Leadership Development Program
The pharmaceutical industry is a challenging innovative market, it’s crucial to our wellbeing and plays a vast role in our daily lives. Eli Lilly and Company is 140 years old giant with long heritage in making the world a better place to live; it’s mission to help people live longer, healthier and more active lives. Eli Lilly and Company promises to have a direct impact on the world population. The Corporate Leadership Development Program is a 2-year rotational program; it provides different business functions and geographical exposure that sharpen your skills to undertake future General Manager or Global Functional roles.