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Make money but also find a purpose

21 Nov 2012


1544Entrepreneur Ali Sulaiman Al-Taher inspires London Business School students


Dubai-based entrepreneur Ali Sulaiman Al-Taher shared valuable insights to aspiring students from London Business School as well as an important message - “Work for a purpose, keep a balanced life and give back to the community”.

Mr Al-Taher, the Founder and Chairman of AST Group of companies, met with students at the School’s Middle East Management Forum where he delivered an inspiring key note address on entrepreneurship that showcased his vast experiences in the world of business. He also highlighted the importance of finding a purpose in life that goes beyond being financially successful.

The Middle East Management Forum was conducted as part of London Business School’s thought leadership sessions which provide key insights into the Middle East marketplace.

“You might make money, you might find success in what you do but it means nothing unless you have a purpose,” he told students and recruiters in Dubai.

“Everyone, including organisations, should have a purpose. And that purpose must be society. We must eventually give rather than just receive.”

Mr Al-Taher started his career at the age of 16 as a trainee in the plant of Dubai Aluminium Company (DUBAL) and since then he has since “changed jobs many times, ventured into areas foreign to him, established and sold companies in various sectors and made and lost a significant amount of money”.

The 45-year-old owns the AST Telecom, Dubai Med Spa, Baydaar Landscaping and Horticulture and is a Managing Partner of Al-Tuwaijri International. His experience covers both start-ups and established companies.

Mr. Al-Taher passed on these tips to prospective entrepreneurs:

  • Determination – “if you don’t have that, don’t think about going out there, it’s a jungle”
  • Innovation – “innovate or die”
  • Speed – “if you are not fast enough, you lose opportunities”
  • Risk – “there is no reward without risk” 

His keynote speech was part of London Business School’s commitment to students in providing access to inspiring community leaders who can share their own experiences and learning from the business world. 

Daniela Sfeir, London Business School’s Regional Head of Corporate Relations, Career Services at the Dubai Centre, said:

“The audience was captivated by Ali’s life and business experiences. His tips for achieving success along with the important message about serving the community was inspiring for everyone.

“He showed that being an entrepreneur is not easy, but with determination, courage and perseverance, along with a little bit of luck, then anything is possible and people really can make a difference.”

The students listening to Mr Al-Taher’s speech were also meeting with recruiters from some of the world’s top local and international companies, including Bayt, Al Futtaim Group, Booz & Company, PricewaterhouseCoopers, HSBC, KPMG, Standard Chartered, among many others.

London Business School opened the doors to its Middle East campus, based in Dubai, in December 2006, in reflection of its strong commitment to the Middle East and as a response to the growing demand for business education in the region.