Dubai, the user centric city

My move to Dubai was anything but planned.

After some years working in France as a Digital manager, I started looking for a position to fulfill my will for bigger challenges; I needed to be part of a wider vision. I no longer wanted to deploy digital tools just for the sake of having nice widgets. I wanted to play a critical role in adding measurable value to a global business. Digital was my tool of choice, certainly, but as a means, not an end. I wanted to answer customers’ needs, fears and expectations; I wanted to integrate the full picture of value proposition, costs, revenues, resources, partnerships, key activities, customer relations and channels.

However, these jobs seemed to be rarely available to relatively young female professionals… also, I had hitching feet — and was seriously curious about how other cultures handled the digital thing.

So… I started investigating options in the US market: I knew it would be difficult for a French citizen, but the Digital transformation generated many jobs there, I have been told. In this process, I’ve met great people and worked on some exciting opportunities, until I got an invitation to join an unexpected adventure … in London; it wasn’t what I had in mind, but I jumped in and never regretted it!

Working in London was really exciting — I loved the mix of tradition and modernity in the city architecture, I loved the multicultural society, I loved my professional challenge. But definitely not easy every day…

Finding an affordable and convenient accommodation was a real nightmare. I ended up moving 10 times in 2 years, although I selected only long term accommodations; heard it’s a common thing in London. I experienced some crazy flatmates (suicidal, or psychopath enjoying making my life hell), some lovely neighborhoods (people swearing loud all night long, or flat surrounded by fox), some exotic environments (a room literally vibrating every 5 min with trains passing nearby) and crazy rent increase freshly arrived, with lease holders threatening for eviction and trying to steal the deposit. And all of these were nothing compared to my last landlord who changed my lock, removed all my stuff from my room (I recovered after days of fighting), finding myself in the street with my boxes while my rent was paid…

Anyway, living and working in London was my most exciting and challenging experience so far. After more than a year in London, as the professional engagement for which I joined was just delivered, Ernst & Young contacted me. The timing was perfect and the destination unexpected! But after all, why not moving to Dubai to join the digital experts team, supporting businesses across EMEIA. Everything became obvious when I met the manager I was going to work with; he convinced me, with his authenticity, expertise and willing to help companies build a better world, that this is exactly where I wanted to be, with the kind of people I wanted to be surrounded by.

It took me 6 months to go through the whole recruiting process, including four interviews, filling documents, applying and getting the visa, joining Dubai and be actually part of Ernst & Young.

I am here now and this is just the beginning…

Being in Dubai just feels like being in the center of the next generation world; it feels energizing, it feels big, it feels innovative, but mostly — and to my surprise as a new comer — it feels so user-centric.

Sitting in my office and watching through this large window on the 34th floor, I admire dense, modern, innovative architecture; and just next to the city center, the desert: the opportunities are huge, the ambitions are high. Here are the first 3D printed offices, the highest tower, the largest mall.

Dubai city aims at becoming the city of the future. It will host the 2020 expo around the theme: ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’ and even has its ministry of happiness.

People around me are passionate, experts in their respective areas, doers coming from all around the world to share ideas and build great experiences for a better place… what an amazing environment to be part of !

Of course, it has only been some weeks since I have joined, but for the first time really, I feel like I finally have the power to make a big change, to help businesses drastically improve the user experience, not only by enabling digitalization of the existing assets, but by changing our habits to have a healthier, smoother, much enjoyable experience of our life. Today, across EMEIA and with Ernst & Young support, I am definitely willing to make this change happen

To be continued…