Today we are going to meet Omar Salah, a MiM Alumni that graduated in 2016. Omar worked with Uber Egypt from 2016 to January 2020. In parallel, Khazna was founded in the summer of 2019 and Omar later joined the company as co-founder and head of operations.
Khazna, works to provide financial services for underbanked Egyptians. It is also backed by local, regional and global VCs such as Algebra Ventures, Disruptech & Accion Venture Lab.
Let’s meet Omar and his successful career since he left the MiM:
How would you summarize your time as an IE student?
Nothing short of the best year of my life. The experience was enriching academically, socially & culturally; being in a class of >30 nationalities tells the story quite well. I left IE with great learnings, a wide network of brilliant individuals around the world, and most importantly lifelong friendships.
What was your favourite experience at IE?
Witnessing and dealing with the diversity of the student body on a daily basis. I graduated from IE a multinational.
How did you land your job opportunity with Uber? Did the Careers Department help you?
It was through a referral from a very good friend of mine who was already working for the company. Although the opportunity did not come through the Talent and Careers department, the team has helped me a lot to prepare & polish my resume, to prepare for interviews, and also learn best practices when it came to salary negotiations.
How was the recruitment process (application, interviews…)?
The recruitment process was one of the things that motivated me to work for Uber. Starting the process, I did not have much understanding about the core activities of an Uber Operation. After an intense two-hour online analytics test and four technical interviews jammed with Uber specific situational cases, I knew that these were the kind of problems I wanted to solve every day.
What motivated you to work at this company?
First and foremost is the impact of Uber, both globally and in Egypt. With a brittle transportation infrastructure in Egypt, Uber was there to solve an incredibly important problem for the country. The platform has allowed millions of riders to get a reliable ride at all times and hundreds of thousands of drivers to make a solid living in very distressed economic times. It is very exciting to be part of and contribute to positive change.
How is it going with your new company Khazna? Can you tell us a little bit about it?
It is going great so far. We’ve assembled a great team, attracting top talent and growing in uncertain times. It’s been a great move following 3.5 amazing years at Uber.
The company was founded with a mission to improve the financial well-being of 20M+ underbanked Egyptians by providing access to convenient, customer centric & transparent smartphone-based financial services. Our vision is to improve lives, in Egypt & the Region, by extending world-class financial services for everyone.
What challenges have you faced?
It’s very challenging moving from a multi-billion dollar company with incredible financial and technical might to a start-up aspiring to be just that. Moving from a fancy top office to a one-bedroom apartment was not easy for sure. But I think the vision that we set for the team at Khazna makes it worthwhile. Also, going into a new industry (Fintech) was also quite challenging, but after a couple of months you’re on your feet and you start getting a grip on Fintech and the business.
How did your experience at IE, during the MIM, help you to create this company?
Graduating university with a Bachelor in Petroleum Engineering, the MIM program has been critical for me to be able to make that transition into the Tech world with Uber, and then on to Khazna. Never say never, but I would probably not have landed a job at Uber if it was not for IE and my experience during the MIM.
What would you like to transmit to potential candidates that look up to you?
Never settle for a slow paced job. Slow work pace = slow personal growth. Find a rocketship and hop on it.
Any advice for current students?
I was rejected by multiple consulting and private equity firms in the months leading up to my interviews with Uber. These rejections are hard at the time but they were my blessing in disguise as they helped me be extremely prepared for my process with Uber. Now I’m glad I was rejected. Never give up.
And advice for people thinking of applying to IE?
Be ready for a ride of lifetime.