Multi-disciplinary professional

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Al Moatasam Issam Al Barwani, Section Head-Business Performance at Ooredoo, believes that self-discipline is the single most important attribute that begets sustainable, long-term success in all aspects of life

Al Moatasam Issam Al Barwani, one of the two winners of this year’s coveted NTI BizPro Awards, is quite unequivocal about his success mantra. He has unambiguous vision of what he wants to do and a clear goal of where he wants to be; and he is relentlessly obsessed about achieving it. “There were times I’d wake up in the middle of the night to work on a project that I was passionate about or to learn something new,” Al Moatasam says. He used to carry a notebook with him wherever he went in order to jot down new ideas he came across and wanted to try out. He is still doing it, albeit with an upgraded tool-his Galaxy Note.

Al Moatasam firmly believes that self-discipline is the single most important attribute that begets sustainable, long-term success in all aspects of life. He says, “I read that discipline is doing what needs to be done even if you don’t want to do it. I do my best to form a set of good habits through self-discipline which keep me on track of my goals. But I’m not perfect. No human is. We can’t walk a straight line without falling off track every once in a while. There come times when you have the confidence to move mountains and are at the top of your game. And there will also come a time when you’ll be knocked down with a broken spirit. You have to pick yourself up, get over your loss, learn from it and get moving.”

In addition, family is the fountainhead from which Al Moatasam derives his strength and purpose. He adds, “If you ask a family man why he does what he does, you will find in his heart that it’s all for his family. My family is my greatest strength. They are my drive and purpose.”

Career and education

Al Moatasam who holds a master’s degree in business administration is a multi-disciplinary professional with over 12 years’ experience in banking and telecom sectors and proven expertise in corporate performance management, marketing, sales and business planning.

After leaving the banking sector for religious reasons, he had to start his career from scratch. It was a tough decision to make, considering the sacrifice involved in leaving a managerial position and settling with a junior role in a different sector. “But it was a sacrifice worth making; Allah has truly opened the doors for me,” he says.

Al Moatasam calls his ongoing tenure at Ooredoo ‘a wonderful experience’. He started off doing direct sales. “Going door to door convincing people to buy any product is one of the most challenging jobs in the world. That’s why I have a tremendous amount of respect for hardworking sales people. It takes a lot of heart to keep pushing. You learn to never give up and to become relentless even after 100 doors are slammed in your face. There would be times I’d get a lead with little potential in areas 200 to 400 KMs away and I’d get in my car and go for it. We all did this. And with the continuous support and encouragement from brilliant colleagues and a highly experienced management team, we were unstoppable.”

Later he got promoted as business planning manager. This is where his strategic planning skills were developed under the tutelage of some of the most brilliant minds in the company. Shortly after, he was promoted to section head corporate- performance management, his current role, which continues to challenge and sharpen his analytical skills.

Exemplary role model

Al Moatasam says his parents have been instrumental in developing his character. They taught him to put God first in whatever he does and to follow in the footsteps of the Prophet Mohammed. “It’s amazing to look into his life and find that even the smallest things he did had a profound impact on those around him and on the world,” he says. “My parents would tell me stories about how humble he was even in the face of victory. There are stories in history of kings and queens who would enter the towns and villages of the lands they conquered to destroy everyone and everything in it; but when Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) and his people reclaimed Mecca after being driven out, oppressed, persecuted and having lost loved ones, he entered with his head lowered in total humility. He did not show any pride in the face of those who harmed him and his people, and the beauty of it all is that he forgave them. He is my role model and through my eyes I see him in both my parents.”

BizPro Awards 2018 was an overwhelming experience for Al Moatasam. He did not expect to make it through the first round, let alone win. “I remember stepping into the room for the first assessment and seeing the superstars from the banking, telecom and oil & gas sectors who are department heads and directors,” he confides. “I thought I didn’t stand a chance! KPMG made the assessments pleasantly challenging and NTI did a phenomenal job in bringing this to life. Al Hamdulilah, Allah has chosen me as a winner, but in my heart we are all winners; and I thank NTI and KPMG for making this a platform for recognising intelligence, skillset, knowledge and most importantly, heart and grit.”

Asked about his advice to young Omanis, who are looking at embarking upon a career, Al Moatasam replies, “Put Allah first in everything you do and he will open doors for you in the right places. Be thirsty for knowledge. Develop the right set of habits and tackle your obstacles one at a time. Equip yourselves with the right set of skills because competition is getting fierce. Take the first job that comes your way or start a business and give it your all. Be hungry and be obsessed with delivering your heart and soul into what you do and let God do the rest. There will be moments in which you will fail, get used to it and get over it but pick yourself up as soon as you can because the experience will only make you better. And when you succeed, never become arrogant and never ever forget that God gave you success.”

Al Moatasam sums up his future objective in two words: Financial analytics. He says analytics is still at its infancy in most parts of the world and there is a dearth of experts in this area. In organisations that capitalised on its importance, there is a disconnection between finance, marketing and data analytics; the three seldom understand each other, but combined together, they can become an unbridled force. Al Moatasam’s plan is to be the bridge between them by combing data analytics, financial analysis, programming and data-driven marketing to offer innovative solutions that produce fruitful results.