Manager, supervisor, international business owner.
Mohamed Abdellatif already had an extensive amount of experience before he entered the online Master of Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing program at Southeastern Oklahoma State University. Now that he’s an alumnus, Abdellatif is eager to get back into the workforce.
“Meliorating one’s education should always be a top-priority goal,” he said. “Undoubtedly, many employers appreciate and understand the value of getting a master’s degree — especially an MBA.”
Abdellatif, who is Egyptian, had extra motivation to return to school. He was enrolled in an MBA program at Kansas-based Pittsburg State University before he had to quit due to unforeseen family circumstances.
After he worked managerial jobs at a catering company and a mattress company, Abdellatif knew it was time to forge a new career path. He was able to take a work hiatus to focus solely on completing his degree in 12 months.
“Since I decided to travel to the U.S., my parents were always supportive both financially and emotionally. Also, my wife [Medina] was like, ‘Definitely, go ahead and get the MBA if you know it’s going to help you get a better job,’” he said.
“All my family members, including my sister and son, were so supportive. While an MBA educates and prepares students to be potential successful managers, MBA graduates should know that it takes time and effort to apply such knowledge,” he added.
Abdellatif earned a Bachelor of Commerce in Business Administration and Management from Cairo University. In 2009, he started New World for Importing in his homeland. For 14 months, he ran the company, which imported construction tools and painting accessories from China into Egypt.
“I’ve shared my experience in business with several of my colleagues,” he said. “In 2011, Egypt faced an unprecedented revolution followed by an economic crisis. The economy wasn’t stable at the time, [and] turnover rates were high. Many companies had to let employees go.”
“I wanted to start a family business, however, I didn’t know which business has the potential to succeed. I initially thought of international trade, but it was difficult to choose the product category I should import from. Then, I decided to import construction tools because a family member worked as a sales manager in this field and, at that time, his expertise could be utilized. Indeed, I learned a lot from this experience.”
Once that venture came to an end partly due to difficult tariffs, Abdellatif moved to the United States to pursue higher education. He settled in Kansas.
“It was not really a culture shock,” he said. “My aunt lived in Hurghada, a coastal city located in Eastern Egypt, where tourists from all over the world came to enjoy the nature. So, since I was 10 years old, I was exposed to divergent cultures and languages. This childhood experience minimized the cultural switch I faced when I arrived to America. Coming to America was the right decision at the right time.”
Where to Next?
Abdellatif, who now lives in St. Louis, did extensive research on MBA programs before he found a perfect fit for all of the qualities he wanted with SOSU.
“One of the great advantages that SOSU offers is an AACSB-accredited MBA program with no GMAT requirement,” he said. “Many business schools believe that the GMAT is a very important requirement. However, a rising number of business schools, such as SOSU, consider relevant experience as a substitute to the GMAT requirement.”
Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) accreditation was another big selling point for SOSU and its John Massey School of Business.
“For two months, I was looking and couldn’t find a school that was AACSB-accredited, no GMAT, and offered online, which is what made SOSU stand out from many other universities. Southeastern had everything I was looking for,” he said. “Prospective students should understand that It’s not just about hanging the diploma on the wall — it’s more about getting a high-quality education and being able to apply this knowledge.”
SOSU’s MBA with an emphasis in Marketing degree program was the first experience with online education for Abdellatif. It didn’t take long for him to become a fan.
“The only real difference between on campus and online is the flexibility, which is a great advantage of e-learning,” he said. “You conduct research on your own and then, later, you can respond at your convenience.”
“Some may argue that the face-to-face environment is more stressful than online. I understand where they come from. However, when you work on your own, you have more difficulty to organize your time, research on your own, and prepare for exams. While the e-learning environment can be challenging, SOSU’s professors strive to provide the best support to their students.
Abdellatif knew he was also in the right place for an accelerated degree.
“As a technology fan, I was excited to experience the e-learning setting offered by SOSU,” he said. “The way Southeastern provided the [online format] was very convenient. You can get one course if you’re enrolled part-time or have two courses if you’re full-time over a period of 7 weeks.”
Although he opted for the marketing concentration of the MBA, Abdellatif is keeping all of his options open for his next gig.
“I felt like I wanted to graduate quickly so that I could enhance my career options,” he said. “I really want a good job in marketing. When you spend an extra year of your life to further your education, you feel like you want to get out there to this world and apply what you learned.”
Ready for ROI
Abdellatif is excited to see where the MBA, coupled with all of his leadership experience, can take him. He knows the hard work will pay off. He completed the online program in July 2017 and will walk the stage in December.
“As you go through the year of education, don’t expect to sleep as usual or have enough free time because you have to get assignments done and continuously work on research,” he said. “After working hard to earn my degree, if I don’t get the proper attention from employers, I’m going to feel that something is wrong.”
When it comes to higher education, Abdellatif said choosing the right university is the key to success.
“Consider the reputation of the university you’re applying for,” he said. “Sometimes a university is popular because of its medical school or law school, for example. However, if you are applying for a business school, you have to consider the reputation of both the university and the school of interest. Some universities are regionally or nationally accredited, but their business schools might not be. So, you have to make sure to look at both.”
“Then, look at the curriculum and ensure that it fits your needs. Before choosing a concentration or major, make sure that you have a considerable interest in that field. As for E-learning, it is becoming popular and respected by many employers. It’s convenient for those who work part- or full-time.”
Now that Abdellatif is updating his resume to add the online marketing-focused MBA, he has one more bullet point that’s bound to get noticed by prospective employers — a 3.92 GPA in the master’s program.
“I’m hoping to find the right job soon,” he said. “In my journey to get the MBA, I tried my best to maintain a 4.0 GPA, but I ended up with a 3.92, which is I’m still proud of. I always recall when I was in college, I was too young and didn’t pay enough attention to studying. And that’s why I didn’t have a great GPA, but as I got older and wiser, I have regained my trust in myself.”
Learn more about the SOSU online MBA with an emphasis in Marketing program.