Joining UBS from a management consultancy, it was the first time in my career I almost instantly felt that "I’m part of something."
As a management consultant, I worked on a varied set of projects. I can’t say this didn’t have its perks - fully paid flights to Miami, training in Chicago and Formula 3 racing excursions made living out of a suitcase slightly more bearable. It certainly sounds glamorous, but with that came long, grueling work hours, sometimes because I didn’t have the company of family and friends or had nothing better to do. So I made a decision to try to get back to London.
I started at UBS in the Risk function, right at the time of the 2007 financial crisis. Working as a test lead, I quickly found myself liking the role. The people were great, it was lovely being back in my home city of London and I enjoyed specializing in developing test strategies for my function.
I also became involved in UBS's extensive network opportunities. I volunteered for the Cultural Awareness Network and the Martial Arts society and joined a faith network. I quickly became the lead for the faith network and the martial arts society, as well as a member of the steering committee for the Cultural Awareness Network. This is when I started learning some valuable lessons.
A career isn’t just about working hard. It's about learning something new and recognizing how best to apply it in other areas. That is where the real recognition lies.
This led me to take on a custom-created role as a problem resolution project manager in Risk IT, culminating in a nomination by senior management for a year's training in Switzerland, in the newly formed Process Excellence (PEX) function.
Now, almost four years on, I’m still within PEX, now a 200+ person function, working as a Global Change Lead. I lead projects to help departments and teams (effectively as an internal consultant) that takes me to locations such as Basel and Shanghai. I work across a diverse global team with colleagues that I can both trust and rely on, but also get on well with.
A senior manager once told me 'perception is reality.' How did I want to be seen? Having really put my mind to this, sure enough, the perception I strived for became reality: I grew to be seen as the fun, energized change lead that teams, managers and clients wanted to work with. This reflected not just in my day job, but also in my becoming the current lead of the Cultural Awareness Network and my having won external recognition for philanthropic endeavors via the 'Top 30 Rising Stars in the City' award.
I have always been inspired by my father's words: "work to be the person you want to be by the time you are 45, because after that your priorities will naturally change." I work for UBS because, nine years in, I have opportunities to enjoy work, to challenge and change work culture, and to give something back. All of this has allowed me to see the person I want to be finally taking shape.
Omar in a nutshell
Omar joined UBS in 2007 and currently works as a change lead, running front-to- back process improvement efficiency projects on a global scale across Operations, IT and Finance. Omar recently welcomed the arrival of his third child, his first daughter, and enjoys practicing martial arts, especially Muay Thai (which he has been training in since college).