During my third rotation, I had the incredible opportunity to participate in a Short-Term International Rotation (aka STIR) in Dubai, U.A.E. I spent 3 months of my rotation there. I lived downtown in the Business Bay area with a view of the Burj Khalifa outside of my window, and commuted by car to the GE Aviation office at the Dubai International Airport.
I supported a Salesforce.com contract lifecycle management initiative by digitizing a few of our services contracts, and then building analytics to track contract performance. From a professional standpoint, one of the most difficult things I had to adjust to was time zone. Being at an American company, I definitely took our 8am-5pm working day for granted. In Dubai, I spent many late nights on the phone with my colleagues back in the States, sometimes as late as 1:00am. I also learned how to interact and work with people from all over the world. I was one of two Americans in our office.
One of the more significant lessons I learned in Dubai was the importance of building inclusive technology solutions. The Aviation sales teams still had a lot of manual work. They are also very diverse, located around the world, spoke a multitude of languages, and approached new sales opportunities in a variety of ways. My solution had to be easy to adopt for all users. By working directly with the team in Dubai, getting feedback, and incorporating that feedback in each iteration, I could build the templates and analytics much faster.
Dubai itself was a fantastic city to live in. Not only did I get a chance to experience Middle Eastern culture, but I also tried cuisines from around the world. I rode a camel through the desert, climbed to the top of the tallest building in the world, went to the beach almost every weekend, and took some much-needed R&R at the Atlantis resort on the Palm Islands. I also traveled to Abu Dhabi to visit the Grand Mosque, and ride the fastest roller coaster in the world.
Looking back, Dubai was one of the most important and exciting experiences of my professional career. I learned an incredible amount by moving to a new city completely by myself, working in a different environment, and interacting with people from around the world. I experienced a one-of a kind city, and built friendships and connections with new people that I will never forget.