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You Sometimes End Up Somewhere Better

Saif Al Hajri, TAISM Class of 2015

Saif Al Hajri is a TAISM Alum and Omani national who received a scholarship from the Ministry of Higher Education to pursue an undergraduate degree in Criminal Justice with a minor in Political Science from the University of Cincinnati. He completed his undergraduate studies in December 2019. 

When we spoke to Saif, he shared how as a student he always believed he would like to become a diplomat when he got older. Then,with a smile on his face, he shared that life had other plans for him: “Honestly, life has been completely different from what I thought it was going to be. It’s been unexpected and is not at all what I imagined.”

Honestly, life has been completely different from what I thought it was going to be. It’s been unexpected and is not at all what I imagined

After graduating from the University of Cincinnati, Saif returned to Oman and started looking for jobs and trying to figure out what he wanted to do next. He felt like he was at a crossroads and considered pursuing a masters in Australia. It was around this same time that COVID began, turning plans upside-down for many recent graduates, Saif included.

After applying for jobs worldwide, and still coping with the ongoing pandemic, Saif made the decision to stay in Oman and joined his uncle at a consulting firm dedicated to Digital Transformation and Business Consultancy. From day one, Saif applied himself wholeheartedly to his new position. He quickly caught on to the daily rhythms of the firm, working hard to adopt the technical skills and leadership mindset required to rise to the role of manager.  Today, he is the Managing Director of a core team of 15 people at AMAN Consultancy & Business Development. Saif shared with us his journey at the firm, explaining, “I had no idea what I was doing when I started but I learned quickly. It’s been hard, but enjoyable, and I’ve gained so much knowledge.”

We asked Saif what advice he would give a student who didn’t know what they wanted to do with their life. His response was, “ I would advise them to stay open-minded to all the possibilities that life has to offer. I would also remind them to stay flexible in terms of doing what they like, while learning what they don’t like. In my own experience, I did what I liked but I had to also learn the things I didn’t like to do, and together that has helped me move forward with a lot of the things I’m doing in life today ”

I would also remind them to stay flexible in terms of doing what they like, while learning what they don’t like

Saif went on to tell us about how much he loves his work. Even though he never imagined himself as a general manager, there is a deep gratitude for the experience he has gained, and the opportunity he has to keep learning each day. Saif was also very frank with us that he has a lot he still needs to work on, especially when it comes to balancing work with a personal life. Right now though, he is focused on living in the moment and enjoying the fact that he gets to make decisions based on what he believes is right. Saif told us about how, as a Managing Director, he gets to decide when to give his team time off. For one of the recent Eid holidays he added on an extra day to their vacation, with the aim of fostering a better work environment and showing staff they’re valued and cared for. 

Towards the end of our time together, we asked Saif about the impact TAISM has had on his life. His response was profound and inspirational. “I am most grateful for the English that I learned at TAISM. When I went to university I saw other people struggle with the language and I realized how lucky I was. I will also always remember the skill of critical thinking that TAISM taught me. We learned how to analyze, research, and be efficient at TAISM in a manner that other people never learned. These different tools and techniques were immensely valuable in university and have stuck with me as I started working. I still use the same thought process to help me achieve my goals.”

TAISM taught me how to respectfully and properly conduct a conversation with people who are very different from me, but still are people I might connect with and possibly be friends with

Another aspect of TAISM that has stood out to Saif was the international atmosphere. “TAISM taught me how to be accepting of other people. My class had 48 people from over 25 nationalities. We were taught to be accepting of other people's religions and to respect other people's choices. TAISM taught me how to respectfully and properly conduct a conversation with people who are very different from me but still are people I might connect with and possibly be friends with.”

Saif told us that these values have stuck with him on his journey since graduating from TAISM, and that holding on to them will help him for the rest of his life and career.