Work Like is a series of videos dedicated to interviewing star performers from each industry to find out what their work life is like and what career choices, work routines and productivity methods help them stay on top of their game.
Careem Egypt’s commercial and governmental relations director, Mohammed Abulnaga Nagaty, has significant business development experience across four industries including energy, transportation, financial services and food and beverage.
In addition to being an AUC engineering graduate who worked with companies like Toshiba and Fawry; Nagaty’s also a board member at SolarizEgypt. We caught up with Nagaty to know the secrets of his success.
First of all, tell us about your background and how you got to where you are today
I started my journey with Careem 9 months ago. I was the business development director, and now I’m the commercial and governmental relations director. Aside from that, I’m also a board member at SolarizEgypt; an EPC that designs, installs and commissions grid-connected PV solar power plants.
I didn’t wait for graduation to start my professional life. I joined many activities and worked as a PR agent for restaurants and cafes while I was an AUC electronics engineering student. This experience taught me a lot about life, people and the food and beverage industry.
After graduation, I worked for several companies: Toshiba, Mubadala, and Eviko for short periods of time. Then after the revolution, I decided to start my own business in the food and beverage industry since I already had some experience. Shortly after that, I was invited to join Fawry. By then, it was just a small new startup trying to explore the fin-tech industry landscape in Egypt. We grew together, and I ended up being the business development cash manager. Fawry got an exit, so I left. A couple of months later, I joined Careem.
What apps, software or tools can’t you live without?
I love Audible; it helps me listen to books on the road. I also use Microsoft Access to organize and keep all my professional contracts.
What’s your best time-saving shortcut or life hack?
Every night before I go to sleep, I jot down everything I need to do the next day, that way I always know precisely what I need to get done, and I go on with my day knowing exactly what to do. This saves me a lot of time and effort.
What’s your favorite to-do list manager?
I usually depend on my memory to manage my to-do tasks. I know it’s not ideal and I should start thinking about using a note-taking app or something soon.
What are you better at than everyone else? What’s your secret?
I am a closer; I close deals. And in sales, this is hard to find.
Do you listen to music at work? Or do you prefer silence?
I prefer silence. I am either on the phone or in a meeting, and when I use my laptop to finish some work, I deal with excel sheets and numbers. So I have to be entirely focused with no distractions to avoid any errors.
What are you currently reading? Or what’s something you’d recommend?
I am listening to Brad Stone’s The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon for the second time now. It’s a fantastic book to read!
Also, if you are into sales and business development, I recommend The Art of War, it’s a perfect read especially because working in this field mainly depends on negotiation. I also like reading about human psychology to have a better understanding of people so that I can communicate more efficiently with them.
How do you recharge? What do you do when you want to forget about work?
Well, I consider myself a workaholic. I rarely take vacations, and when I force myself into one, I feel anxious, and I start getting sick. People say you should balance your social life and work, but it just doesn’t work like that for me.
What’s your sleep schedule like? Are you a night owl or an early-bird?
I keep being told that you should sleep early and wake up early to be successful, but again that’s not how I work. I stay awake until the time of the Fajr prayer, I pray, and then I write down everything that I need to do the next day. I then wake up around 10:30 am and keep working till 1 or 2 am.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
“Keep your work and personal life separate.”
If you have a problem at work, let it stay there and don’t take it back home. Likewise, don’t bring your personal issues to work. This has been life-changing advice for me, and I encourage everyone to do the same.
What’s the most significant risk you’ve ever taken?
I see myself as a risk-taker. I think most of my career decisions were significant risks. For example, when I decided to leave the comfort of managing my restaurant to join a small fin-tech startup called Fawry, when I left the favorable position I had to join Careem (which was at that time not in that big of a ridesharing business), and even SolarizEgypt, a company that specializes in the solar energy industry which is a hard sell in a country like Egypt. Which is the biggest? I don’t know, you tell me.
Any advice you want to add?
I see a growing trend among millennials. They all want to take off and escape the country instead of staying here and trying to build something. I understand their reasons, but if you ask for my advice, I’d say wait here, work hard and give it a try, and if it doesn’t work, leave, but at least try.
Were Nagaty’s words of wisdom helpful? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.
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