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As a senior vice president focusing mainly on the public sector in the Middle East region, I help government clients achieve their strategic agendas. I have helped various clients in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman on some of the most interesting strategic challenges they face.
The public sector, particularly in this part of the world, is looking to Booz Allen to help answer some challenging questions. A lot of the work we do is high impact and broad reaching, whether it’s helping our clients build new cities, conceptualize new industries, or modernize government institutions.
It takes a lot of brain power. It takes a lot of effort. It takes a lot of resources to really help them come up with the right answer. Just the sheer kind of impact you can have on a country as a consultant working with their government is, for me, pretty exciting.
Rasheed Eltayeb leads Booz Allen’s Middle East public sector practice from the firm’s Dubai office. His areas of expertise include:
Prior to rejoining the firm in 2014, Rasheed was an associate partner at McKinsey & Company, a principal at Booz & Company, an associate at Booz Allen Hamilton, and a consultant at Accenture. He holds a master’s degree in engineering, civil, and structural engineering from the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom.
In a region where the work is at the nation-building level, what do you see as the three most pressing needs in the public sector in the Middle East? Improved education and a more highly skilled workforce. An economy that produces jobs year on year. And government needs to be efficient. Those three things, as simple as they are as concepts, are the absolute opposite in terms of complexity and getting them right. But if people are equipped with skills, they have job opportunity, and they have confidence in their government system, then I think we’ve gone a long way to address the region’s challenges.
Why is Booz Allen an ideal for someone with your expertise and skills? Booz Allen is one of the world’s largest public sector consulting firms. We understand government; we have a lot of expertise in all the different areas of government, whether it’s at the strategic, technological, or operational level. Our clients also see us that way. They think, “Government public sector project? Bring Booz Allen to the table.” So, if you’re passionate about the type of work I do, I think Booz Allen is one of the best places to do it.
What are your clients’ biggest challenges? At a macro level, it’s weening their countries off of oil, the dependencies of their economies on oil, diversifying—that’s the biggest long-term question. The more tactical questions that keep them up at night are the sheer scale of the challenges they have on their plate. We help them shoulder some of that load and prioritize and focus on where they can achieve the highest impact.
What are your three tips for managing and motivating people? One, share your experiences with them. I think people tend to draw inspiration from people who’ve been where they’ve been. Having the patience to open up and share the stories and experiences motivates people. Second, appeal to what motivates that person, rather than what motivates you and assume that it’s the same thing. It’s very often not. Get to know the person and what motivates them. And three, give them as much freedom and autonomy as they can handle.
What mentorship advice would you give someone in a new leadership role? Be super introspective about your leadership style, get feedback from others about your leadership style, and shape yourself into what kind of leader you want to become. The worst thing is when you have a perception of your style that is not the same as what other people perceive. It’s good to be really self-aware.
What’s an old or obsolete item you can’t get rid of? My wedding tuxedo. There’s no way I’m ever going to be able to wear it again. I think it’s because it cost so much money and I bought it at a time when I had no money.
What’s something that not many people know about you? I’m really big into hip-hop music. I think people at work would be genuinely flabbergasted.
What motivates you? A never-ending desire to achieve a healthy balance in my life. My kids are growing up. I love spending time with them. They’re getting to that age where I want to spend more time with them just to make sure they’re getting the right kind of advice and counsel. What motivates me is reaching this state of Zen where I’ve got the balance right between spending time with my kids and family and doing this job that I’m passionate about. I’m not there yet, but that’s really what I strive for.