Written by Banu Raghuraman
The opinions are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official views of Endeavour.
Starting as a consultant with Endeavour, Wasib Muhammad has held important posts on our executive team. We catch up with Wasib for his thoughts on alumni relations.
You have had a busy week! What have you been up to?
As the Manager, Engineered Systems Projects (Asia Pacific Region), for Rockwell Automation, I was working on streamlining the sourcing process with a new vendor in Beijing (China) and integrating their product into our projects across Asia Pacific.
I also had a project kick-off meeting at our newly acquired facility in Harbin (China). I hoped to finalize the project scope and on-board one of the new project managers in the region.
Did you gain anything insightful from this experience?
Given the diversity of languages and cultures within Asia, I learned two valuable lessons. First, strengthening individual relationships (within and outside the organization) goes a long way towards building lasting corporate partnerships. And second, understanding cultural norms is vital for gaining people’s commitment for any project, and the best way to do that is to get to know individuals in both a professional and a personal capacity.
When did your engineering career start?
I started at Rockwell Automation as a system design engineer in Cambridge (Ontario, Canada). Over the past six years, I worked at Rockwell Headquarters in Milwaukee and Singapore, where I rotated between technical management, business consulting, and now commercial management for various regions.
You are a very familiar face at Endeavour. How far back do you go with us?
I started with Endeavour in 2008 as a consultant and, subsequently, as an information advisor for various engagements. Since then, I have held positions of increasing responsibility including Director Knowledge Management, and Vice President Operations.
How did Endeavour help prepare you for where you are today? Did you see any opportunities open up after working with Endeavour?
Endeavour provided me a rather unique perspective outside of the formal work environment as well as the opportunity to meet and work with some very accomplished individuals. Moreover, the roles of increasing responsibility within Endeavour gave me the confidence to utilize my consulting and management skills at work.
In terms of opportunities, I would say that Endeavour played a pivotal role. While at Endeavour, I was able to transition into the business consultant role within Rockwell Automation which eventually led to my current role in Singapore. Moreover, the volunteer consulting and leadership experience was very well regarded during my recent business school interviews – particularly at Columbia, where I will be starting my MBA this year.
Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?
I hope to transition into a business leadership position having Profit & Loss responsibility within either Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) or Latin America region.
All the best with that! If you could give advice to young Endeavour participants, what advice would you give?
Endeavour volunteering experience can be different things to different people. Like most other experiences in life, it is we who decide what we want the experience to be. So before you join Endeavour, take time to ask yourself what is it that you would want to achieve through your affiliation with such an organization. And remember that experience will always triumph title, so don’t get too obsessed with those.
How do you see Endeavour now, compared to when you were with Endeavour?
Endeavour has grown significantly over the past few years and their inclusion in the Global Pro Bono Fellowship program is a reflection of its recognition within the non-profit sector. To reach to this point, Endeavour has been very lucky to have an exceptionally competitive and talented applicant pool as well as a very engaged leadership team and board of directors.
How can Endeavour support you as an alumnus going forward?
Endeavour is doing a good job of engaging the alumni in roles such as subject matter experts for current consulting engagements. I would additionally recommend creation of an alumni directory (or managing it through LinkedIn) and keeping the alumni community engaged through hosting networking (and recruitment) events. For alumni located out of Toronto, perhaps LinkedIn community pages (with restricted access limited to current and past Endeavour members) could be used to keep people in touch.