To say that Amine Arezki (EMBALS2022) has had an impressive career so far would be an understatement. With a PhD in Robotics and a passion for 3D printing, he co-founded AMaskForAll.com at the beginning of the pandemic, to provide free, printable face-masks for anyone who needed them. He is also a founding member of One Golden Nugget, with a mission of collecting and spreading positivity worldwide, as well as a TEDx speaker. On top of this, he has worked at his current company, Thales, for 13 years. Amine is now fulfilling a 10-year dream of studying an EMBA to discover new skills and propel his career even further.
My background is in technology, especially on the academic side. I have a degree in Electronic Engineering at Blida University in Algeria and a Masters in Robotics and Intelligent Systems at Pierre and Marie Curie University in France and scholar exchange with Rutgers University in New Jersey, USA. Following this, I studied for a PhD in Robotics from Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines University in France.
I’ve now been working at my current company, Thales, for 13 years, including a decade working in Germany and three years working in France. In my current role as Director Marketing & Chief Value and Branding Officer I help the company understand our customers’ pains and gains in order to create new products and services and then advertise them to the market. I love marketing, so I really enjoy the role.
As well as my work at Thales, I’m a founding member of One Golden Nugget, a platform for successful people that want to reconnect with positivity. We believe in the power of motivation through simple quotes or interesting stories, such as the stories of people who started with nothing and went on to achieve great success in their lives. Our aim is to collect this information and spread it to the world.
I love the idea of collecting and spreading positivity because I think it’s something that we all need more and more of, especially in the current climate. We hear so many negative stories about people that are suffering, so we want to show the other side of that, with people solving their problems and going on to achieve even more of their goals than they expected. We want to demonstrate that nothing is impossible in life; we can expect miracles.
In March 2020, at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, I co-founded AMaskForAll.com after having the idea of designing a 3D printable mask that would be free for anyone to reproduce. It’s an incredible story; I met my co-founders, Tito Melega, former Chief Creative Director of Ford, and Justin Nussbaum, founder of a 3D printing start-up, in a Zoom call organised by GoFundMe CMO, Musa Tariq. Just a week later, we released the first version of the mask, and it went on to be produced across five continents. We’d agreed from the beginning that we wanted to do something to help others; if we could help just one person, then that was already a big achievement.
In 2018, I became a TEDx speaker with a talk on the role of autonomous trains in global mobility at TEDxStuttgart. At the time, I was working as the Head of Strategy for autonomous trains at Thales. I’d found that people generally weren’t very aware of what was happening in that field; they knew about technology advancements for cars and planes, but not trains. It’s a long-established industry but I wanted to show it in a different light, to help the brand and attract new talents, such as AI experts, to help us advance as fast, and as well as possible. So I wanted to talk about what was happening with autonomous trains at that moment, what we were doing and how trains were contributing to a greener planet, as well as the future of mobility.
Alongside my work, I had the idea of studying an MBA in my mind for 10 years, but I didn’t have the courage to do it. I was always asking myself whether I’d be able to study for two to three hours after work every night, or have enough time to give up on the weekends. Then I reached a point in my career where I thought ‘OK, I need to learn how others are doing things’.
At that point all my knowledge had come from what companies were teaching me, but that’s only one way of doing things. I wanted to be more open and cover the gaps in my experience, especially in corporate finance and marketing. I love all things related to marketing but it’s such a wide discipline, and I wanted to learn even more about it. I was also keen to learn different soft skills, to help improve the future of my role.
When I was deciding where to study my MBA, the quality of the business school was key, so I decided to target the best schools in the world. London Business School is one of the top schools in Europe, and studying the EMBA has confirmed that for me. The value you get from studying at the School is significant.
I’m always impressed by the backgrounds and teaching styles of the professors, as well as the quality of the speakers the School invites in, which is so important for the students. For example, during my time at the School I helped the Institute of Entrepreneurship and Private Equity to bring in my contact and friend, the famed entrepreneur Joe Foster, who founded Reebok. He spoke at the Tell series where he shared his entrepreneurial journey on how he created Reebok from scratch and grew it to be a global company.
It’s really inspiring to hear founders, CEOs and people who have retired talking about their experiences, their struggles, where they were successful, where they made mistakes, and what they’ve learned. Each speaker has brought something totally different to the table. When I was asking people for their advice about what school to choose for my MBA, everyone I spoke to was unanimous in saying London Business School, because of the quality of the professors and the speakers.
The EMBA is the perfect setup for people that want to study alongside working full time; without this option, I wouldn’t have been able to study an MBA, it just wouldn’t have been possible. The EMBA provides both the opportunity to continue working while learning, but also to apply your learning as you are working. It’s not just about the theory; I really apply the things I learn at work. This means I’m able to test what I’m learning, rather than just taking it in as theory.
The EMBA also provides great flexibility, which is important. It’s a very high workload but that’s made clear right from the start. I always try to make the most of everything and not focus on only one thing, so I did my best to diversify the experience. This was made easier by the rich choice of electives on offer, with the flexibility to choose what we wanted to learn, clarify, or discover.
The highlight of my time at the School so far has definitely been the support of the professors. As well as delivering the programme, they also establish a clear connection with their students. They encourage further contact after classes to offer support or help, or to discuss projects. They’re also really open to discussing their experiences in their careers. I currently have five professors in different fields that wouldn’t hesitate to offer me mentorship or support, with either a project at work or a future venture. I wasn’t expecting that before I started at the School; I thought the professors would just be there to teach, and that was that. I also really like the power of the network you create during your time at the School, with professors, people from different courses and other students.
I also enjoyed some memorable classes, including Branding and Marketing. I had a big interest in this area before starting at the School and this knowledge helped me get promoted to Director of Marketing and Chief Branding Officer. I also enjoyed the classes on strategy and operations as they taught me tactics that were straightforward to apply at work, and it was great going through the Pathways to Start-up Success and also the Negotiation and Bargaining class with a professor who was in one of the top 10 most successful TEDx talks of 2021.
My advice for anyone considering the EMBA is to just go ahead and do it. I would have liked to do it much earlier in my career. Don’t be afraid about taking on the extra responsibilities because you won’t be alone. You’ll have a lot of support from your professors and your study group, and the workload will just become routine to you.
What will I do next in my own career? That’s the million-dollar question. I’m looking for new challenges in different roles, either in the industry I’m in today or something completely different. I could go into the executive level of a corporate company or start a new venture. Being at London Business School opens so many doors and makes you think about options that weren’t on the table before you started here. That’s one of the benefits of doing this kind of programme; you get all of the information, and you understand all of the options. It makes you feel a little bit stronger and have more confidence in your next step, because you have all the tools you need to start off on the right foot.
Find out more about the Executive MBA London programme.