2022 Best & Brightest Executive MBA: Amira El Ebrashy, IMD Business School

Amira El Ebrashy

IMD – International Institute for Management Development

Age: 35

“Making a difference wherever I am is the driving force in all my life aspects.”

Hometown: Maadi, Cairo, Egypt

Family Members: Father, Moustafa El Ebrashy, Mother, Samia El Shawadfy Eman El Ebrashy, Sister

Hesham El Ebrashy, Brother Khaled El Ebrashy, Brother

Fun fact about yourself: I play the piano as per my father’s coaching but never learned how to read the musical notes.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Sadat Academy for Management Sciences, Bachelor of Management Science Major Human Resources

Where are you currently working? Raya Holding for Financial Investments. Egyptian National Corporate with 13 different business lines and 15,000 employees.

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles: My main activities were always on education improvement in my hometown. It was to upskill the underprivileged kids as a complementary education for their primary school education which is part of being a member of community development in Maadi. I also volunteered in the rehabilitation of houses in South Egypt.

Leadership Roles:

Lead role in creating a corporate learning and development department at Raya Holding for Financial Investments with a focus on setting the foundation for leadership development across Raya Group.

Senior Human Resources Manager at Raya Holding, co-managing change initiatives related to talent management and employee engagement.

Head of Human Resources for starting up factory “Haier Raya Electric”, a joint venture between Haier China and Raya Egypt. My core vision is to set the foundation for the people’s system and desired winning culture.

Right after my EMBA at IMD, I decided to expand to a new challenging role – Operations Director in one of Raya’s business lines, a role I am starting in May 2022.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I am proud of my customer assignment. I interviewed customers, diagnosed their input, and turned it into meaningful insights. This is thanks to Frederic Dalsace and the team of experts who made the study materials and framework easy to use and apply in real life.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? It was reimagining the Human Resources department on the Holding operations to co-create value with the business lines hence the people. Specifically, building the team of professionals and managers to believe in this vision and live with it. When I left the role, I was proud to have my team members step up and take the lead. For me, the ability to create a successor to continue building was critical.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? All IMD professors are truly world-class professors. My favorite professor is Ben Bryant, a Leadership professor. The approach to leadership development was entirely different for me, and genuine personal transformation

Why did you choose this school’s executive MBA program? I always wanted to complete an international master’s degree to broaden my exposure. In a chat with the Group Chairman’s on my career, he recommended searching for EMBA in the world’s top 10 schools. When I did my research, IMD program stood out with its unique program design, practical, convenient work balance, blended and action learning methodology, and interesting discovery expeditions, which expanded my horizon.

What is the biggest lesson you gained during your MBA and how did you apply it at work? My biggest lesson is the new “Global Mindset”, with a thought process to use the various frameworks as a diagnostic tool, then sense-making of the different aspects of a given situation. The ongoing reflection is becoming a new habit and enriched by writing more to craft my thoughts into words, thus turning them into insight. I also learned that having fun while doing this makes the ride much more enjoyable.

Give us a story during your time as an executive MBA on how you were able to juggle work, family, and education? I live in busy Cairo. Commuting from my office to home takes at least 1 hour one way, which means a minimum of 2 hours a day lost in traffic. I also had no office due to joining a new factory starting up in our group, so our offices were still in the making. Adding to these challenges initially was setting the tone and including more activities within the day and week, which was not an easy one.

In April 2021, I booked a half-ironman triathlon race which was happening in Egypt for the first time, in November 2021. At that time, I had not started my EMBA mastery stage (six one-week modules over 12 months), and I thought that I could be able to balance. It was impossible, as I needed to train six times a week. So with the training plus the EMBA commitments, basically, I had no time to sleep. By the end of May 2021, I realized that this is impossible as triathlon training requires mental as well as physical efforts. I had to speak to my coach and refrain from the registration. It was not an easy decision as I was very excited for it. However, I had to make my priorities clear, and EMBA was at that point my number 1 priority. I had to drop training to nearly 1-2 times a week to be able to just stay active during my studies.

What advice would you give to a student looking to enter an executive MBA program? Invest in the work-related company assignments to make them real and meaningful, not only to submit for the grade or seek feedback. It is about making it a genuine opportunity to apply the methods and tools. Another critical piece, which may sound like a cliché,, is that the treasure is the network and quality of bonding with your EMBA colleagues. The level of intellectual exchange and discussions has unmatched value.

What is the biggest myth about going back to school?  Not being able to commit to studies again while IMD makes it practical in a way that you feel like it’s your new way of doing things

What was your biggest regret in business school? Not spending more time in finance studies

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I most admire Judith Lamare.

I learned from Judith the true meaning of an Empathetic leader. We helped each other grow. Judith never missed an opportunity in any group work to make a point of how to create sustainable and responsible business models. Committed to continuously exchange on all professional and personal levels in constructive ways, Judith has an open mind and heart and dreams of creating a true impact for her organization and the society at large.

I want to add my special admiration to Sebastien Lènelle, his passion for bringing the whole cohort together and ensuring everyone is included.

His natural inclusive leadership style added a unique value that brought unmatched energy to the whole cohort spirit and may be the reason to make us all lifelong friends as we nominate him as our cohort representative.

What was the main reason you chose an executive MBA program over part-time or online alternatives? It was the practical blended learning approach of the program. The journey covering 4 continents which expanded my horizon, and the quality of talented executives and profiles attracted to the program.

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? I want to play an executive role in my organization which can shape the way business is being run and create a positive impact on the society in terms of enhancing lives, creating more jobs, eradicating hunger and access to quality education .

What made Amira such an invaluable addition to the class of 2021?

“In the current global context, we need confident, humble, and inspiring leaders, who have the courage to ask the hard questions, make the tough decisions while actively listening and being empathic. We witnessed all these qualities in Amira. She is an inspiring woman, over the past year her passion, energy, commitment, solution-oriented mindset, as well as her capacity to build and facilitate teams by balancing reflection and action made her stand out in any group that she was part of, including in the highly diverse and accomplished group of 46 professionals in her class – with an average age of 40, 17 years work experience, representing 26 different industries and 29 nationalities. Her drive to challenge the status quo and live by IMD’s mission, “Challenging what is and inspiring what could be” was evident from the moment we onboarded her into the IMD Executive MBA program. Amira leveraged every aspect of the program. She was fully committed to be at the learning-edge, pushing her own boundaries as well as her classmates, and consciously putting herself outside of her comfort zone to fully benefit from the EMBA learning journey to the maximum. We can see this as part of her professional growth when completing the program. She is making a challenging career switch, where she is transitioning functions and industries at an executive level. We could not be prouder. We admire Amira’s tenacity, resilience, and capacity to pursue a rigorous, global EMBA program, care for her family, achieve a promotion, and be an active member of the IMD Executive MBA community. We are proud to count her among our distinguished alumna and wholeheartedly support her nomination as a P&Q 2022 Best & Brightest EMBA of the Year.”

Maria Schmitt
IMD EMBA Cohort Director


Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.