As part of a series of interviews with IE alumni, The Stork had the privilege of sitting down with Nuha Safar. Nuha currently serves as the Director of National Corporate Social Responsibility for the United Arab Emirates. Furthermore, she plays a pivotal role as a key member of the board of directors for “Friends of Cancer Patients. During her interview, Nuha explained how her years at IE, where she pursued an executive master’s program in Positive Leadership and Strategy, were extremely impactful. She described the experience as nothing short of “life-transforming” and expressed her unequivocal recommendation of the program to anyone seeking personal and professional growth.
What makes IE’s master’s in “Positive Leadership and Strategy” so special?
Nuha explained how the program’s essence lies in mindfulness which is the practice of being fully present and aware in the moment. In the program, she not only learned about important aspects of her career but also about herself as a person. To quote Nuha, “If you start with your own self when you are mastering your own body, soul and mind. You can conquer it all. So this is what it helped us do.”
In addition, she explained that one must also be brave to honestly know oneself and therefore be true to oneself. With all of this in mind, Nuha emphasized how IE’s teaching methods differed significantly from those of other universities. She clearly recognized this distinction right from the program’s get-go, as it began with breathing exercises. This was a surprising start that defied her expectations.
One thing that truly differentiates IE from any other university is the teaching method and the people that she encountered while she was studying the program. In addition to IE’s distinctive teaching methods, she loved how she was working with people from all over the world to achieve similar goals and ideals. Even though she’s not a fan of social media, Nuha has tried to stay in contact with her peers as she has made meaningful connections. To her, it is much more important to connect over a cup of coffee and actually converse with anyone who reaches out.
When Nuha reminisces about her time at IE, she wishes she would have valued her time studying abroad and her university experience much more. As she says “I miss the classwork, I miss sharing my true self with people who do not even know you”. Even though her program was part-time, Nuha´s time in Madrid was truly special to her.
What did Nuha take away from her time at IE?
“I was 40 when I learned how to breathe properly.” A quote from Nuha that summarizes how the program truly changed her. She grew as a person, made meaningful connections, and mainly focused on how it would impact her life. While Nuha was studying the program she did not focus on how it would add to her career because she sees her work as a life mission. She explains that if you love what you are doing and it is a topic on which you are passionate about, you do it with the utmost happiness. Nuha simply wants to help others, whether it is her community or the world.
As a person who has experienced it all, from different job positions to various amounts of money, she concluded that what truly matters to Nuha is the experience. Investing in enjoying your life, living in the moment, and especially if your life mission allows you to do so. Every job position that she has filled has helped her learn different skills such as being productive, being time efficient, all of which she now applies to her job in the public sector.
Nuha’s job is more of a journey to happiness than anything else, where she hopes to create a team with the right mindset for the mission they have. One of the things she values the most in communication is listening, then unifying ideas, and lastly magnifying how all of these proposals can come together to meet the best of expectations. Listening to stakeholders and seeing how their needs can be satisfied is the key to success. Finally, she concluded by saying how, in Nuha’s personal life, she values “Radiyah” an Arabic word for being content and satisfied. She applies this term to her family, friends, and people she cares about.
In sum, Nuha’s experience at IE changed her in many ways, going from the importance of one’s well-being to learning about various other parts of the world. She would recommend the program, the experience and the city of Madrid to anyone interested and most of all consider her time in the program as one of the best decisions that she has made for her education.
Photo by: IE University