We catch up with Master’s in Management alumna Soufya El Kharbili to see how she has been getting on since graduation. The following article has been produced following an interview with Soufya conducted by Cranfield University staff.
Throughout my life, I have always been pushed by an energy. An energy motivating me to reach my life goal of having a positive global impact on the world.
Before I started my Master’s in Management at Cranfield University, I was studying engineering in France. As part of it, I was president of the Junior Enterprise, a consultancy at my school, and managing a team of 16 people; this experience made me want to think more about entrepreneurship and consulting. I really wanted to meet more people in the field and it was very clear to me that I needed to add some business-orientated study to my repertoire! My engineering background gave me good operational, analytical and problem-solving skills. But I wanted to study business strategy and management to gain a more systematic overview of how things work in the business world and to gain an insight on organisational human behaviour.
During my Cranfield experience I have always enjoyed being surrounded by ambitious and goal-oriented people with diverse backgrounds and nationalities; people who had already created a company, who were way more experienced than me but with a similar mindset to mine. As I was one of the youngest students on the course, it gave me the opportunity to learn a lot, because we helped each other on several topics. It has also allowed me to deepen my understanding of others, with the different real-world stories based on their diverse experiences, which was an eye-opening encounter.
My Master’s in Management from Cranfield has been very complimentary to my previous engineering study and has expanded my horizons in new areas. The professors’ teaching style was of high quality; they have always made sure to focus on using real-life case studies and to explain the theory through their own work experience. Their way of teaching was different to the French way that I was accustomed to. The staff were open-minded, happy to help and to give constructive feedback about any ideas I had. The three-month internship was a big factor in me choosing the course. I did mine at Deloitte in Milton Keynes and it was a great way to learn the basics in the field of consulting.
Since I graduated from Cranfield, I have been working as a Strategy Consultant for a French consulting company specialising in banking, insurance, retail and supply chain. As part of my role, I usually change clients every three to six months. It’s a really diverse and challenging environment; there is no ordinary week!
In addition to my full-time work, I am currently working on several projects mainly related to artificial intelligence (AI), education and empowerment. I truly think that AI will have a huge impact on all fields and markets worldwide within a few years and decades. It is a fairly new field and the breakthroughs and latest developments have a whole set of interesting solutions to many different problems. I am self-taught and I have focused on the topic from its business side, meaning being able to distinguish the business cases in which AI could be used and propose a fit-for-purpose solution. Like all technologies, artificial intelligence will reflect the values of its creators. In order to try and ensure that the field of AI is not affected by any bias or stereotypes in the society, I had cofounded a non-profit international organisation aiming at reducing the gender gap in the field of AI.
After having carried out activities for several months, we have realised that we could do more to ensure that AI is accessible to everyone no matter its gender, racial background, age, … Thus, we have co-founded the non-profit international organization All In, an all-inclusive community. However, we want to continue developing the talent of women specifically in the field. We are aiming to empower each other in the field of AI to ensure that there is a long-term impact. We want to inspire, create interest and curiosity around the AI field by highlighting diverse role models.
To succeed in this new mission, we will be carrying out two types of activities:
- Running different workshops to gain knowledge on technical topics; we are designing an educational programme with a board of educational experts and conducting workshops designed for companies
- Networking events through regular meetups to share views on various topics with a focus on real-life case studies
Looking to the future, I feel it is very important for me to give back to society. My impulse has always been to take time to gain skills and try to help others. My Cranfield experience enabled me to meet like-minded people who have inspired me to apply my entrepreneurial spirit to every part of my life.
Find out more about the Cranfield Master’s in Management…