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If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that the road to success often takes unexpected turns. And you should embrace every one of them.
The education I’ve received has taken me very far in my field, but life’s lessons have been as important—if not more—in my work here at Booz Allen.
Keep an open mind, whatever the world throws at you. What you like is not necessarily what you studied and what you thought you wanted to do. When an opportunity comes your way, just grab it.
Dr. Adham Sleiman leads the firm’s digital energy, cybersecurity, enterprise technology, and digital transportation practices in the Middle East and North Africa.
His areas of expertise include:
Prior to joining the firm, Adham served as the director of technology service delivery at Musanada, Abu Dhabi and as a data center technology and operations consultant at Accenture in London.
Adham holds a Ph.D. in communications and signal processing and a master's in electrical and electronic engineering from the Imperial College London.
What do you do for Booz Allen in the Middle East? I lead our digital energy, cybersecurity, and enterprise technology practices—and our digital transportation offering. So in essence, I have four market-facing hats.
What’s a typical project you might work on? We’re currently leading a major smart grid transformation program for one of the largest countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council, developing the strategy for the smart grid and the operating model, working through the requirements and technical specifications for transforming the grid and helping our client through the procurement and implementation.
Why is Booz Allen an ideal firm for someone like you? I love Booz Allen because it allows me not only to work on management consulting and test those skills, but also it allows me to leverage my engineering and technology background into hands-on, practical solutions for our clients. It sounds like a cliché, but the work we’re doing with our current clients is a test of both technology and management. It’s also a test of strategy vs. execution. It brings all of these together into one big program where you really have to crack the strategy and then make it live. That’s what’s really enjoyable.
What are some of the biggest challenges your industry faces? In energy, the main challenge is underinvestment in technology, particularly compared to other industries like in financial services or telecom. Then there are the threats to cybersecurity and protection of the electricity supply to the end customer. All of today's key topics and trends are applicable here, yet this industry has been quite behind in investing in IT. It’s playing catch up. It’s an untapped market that we can penetrate and invest in.
How do you help your clients prepare for the future? What we do best is we help them be aware of these trends and what’s going on in the marketplace. We also help them organize how and why they want to tackle them. We’re thinking with our clients about how these new technologies apply to them, what the business case is to pursue such technologies, and whether there’s any benefit in jumping on the bandwagon. It’s important to be that trusted advisor to help them think through their choices and decide where they invest.
As a leader within Booz Allen, how do you motivate your team? I like to encourage work-life balance—make sure that they switch off during the weekend and don’t get back on the laptop to answer emails. This is important for me as a leader since you’re really only as good as the team that supports you. Making sure that your team is well coached and well looked after makes you more successful.
If you could give the just-starting-out Adham Sleiman one piece of advice, what would it be? The advice that I would give myself today is the advice I gave myself then: Keep an open mind, whatever the world throws at you. When an opportunity comes your way, just grab it.