What have you been doing since your time at Four Principles (FP)?

At the moment I’m handling the rental car business for AVIS in Saudi Arabia. It’s considered as one of the pillars of the automotive sector in Saudi, where you have the consumer services provided through renting cars, which is a very dynamic type of retail. I face a lot of changes on a daily basis and always have to have momentum to continuously improve and change processes, have mitigation plans and allow for flexibility when it comes to the daily retail lifecycle. I’m always leveraging my previous experience to make improvements, stay ahead of competition and provide the best service for the customers.

What advice would you share with aspiring consultants?

Consulting needs to be explained to people fully, before they get into it. Consultants are not simply people who show up, give advice and then leave. The advice you give to a client has to be analysed and well-thought through. You have to work closely with customers to make sure they achieve their desired goals, but do not give unrealistic recommendations or design something from out of the blue. A highly academic approach often cannot exist on the ground. Consultants should ask themselves; is it practical, is it feasible, what will be done, what will be the results, will the customer be happy? It’s also important to be down to earth, hands-on and get as much as you can from networking.

Finally, always be yourself. A customer is more likely to accept someone who says “I don’t have this information, but I can get it for you”, over someone who pushes advice that isn’t well thought-through. And on a personal basis, consulting is tough, so be ready for that and your self-confidence will build over time.

What attracted you to your current role?

I was hired in a Business Excellence role and on my first day when I arrived, they said, ‘we might need you to handle the rental car business because the whole department requires business excellence implementation’, so for me it was interesting to take on the whole project and be accountable for the results. Working as a consultant, you usually don’t have the authority to change everything and you need to be in alignment with other people. Internally, you have to align, but you also have the final call and you can see the ideas that you have planted, grow into successes.

Secondly, the work-life balance is much more convenient, especially as I had kids and wanted to spend more quality time with them.

What was your experience transitioning from a consulting firm into an internal operational role at Hala?

I had experience in many internal roles prior to my experience in consulting, so I might be considered more of an expert rather than a traditional consultant. Being an expert actually helped me to go back to a “normal” work life. I already knew how to structure my day and manage the balance between work and home. But generally, working as a consultant helps later, when you move internally as you have this self-motivation, you don’t have to wait for someone else to give you direction, you always have this “Consultant DNA” you can tap into, which gives you a competitive edge.

What are you most proud of in your career so far?

Honestly, it’s my time at FP, because this changed me a lot. I gained more confidence, I learnt to pilot a project and became comfortable to step into a chaotic situation and slow things down, analyse a situation and fix it. I learnt the tools that I still use all the time today and gained exposure to different situations and industries. I met some extremely interesting, positive people, who in normal life, I probably wouldn’t have met. These guys, you spend more time with than your own family at times! Building those personal relationships and bonds, makes the team really strong. I do miss those times as they were fun and I look back with very fond memories.