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Marina Apaydin

Position and company: Associate Professor of Strategic Management, AU - Cairo
Country of work: Egypt
Degree Attained at UCLA: MBA in Finance & International Business and MA in Islamic Studies
Graduation Year: 1996 and 2005
What inspired or motivated you to pursue work abroad? Was this always your plan?
My post-MBA plan was to stay in Los Angeles, but my Lebanese UCLA classmate convinced me to go join his family business in Saudi Arabia. I was always curious about Arab culture and took this opportunity with a goal to become an expert in the region, which I did.
How have you navigated cultural differences between your home country, UCLA, and where you work now?
Moving to UCLA in 1994 was my first cross-cultural experience as a former USSR citizen. But it wasn't a shock, but rather an escape from the Soviet reality. Everything was wonderful in LA and I embraced this change fully heartedly. When I moved to the Middle East after graduation, I was prepared for a change and enjoyed many aspects of the regional diversity. Each country I lived in, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Lebanon and Egypt, has its own charm and is open for exploration for an open-minded adventurer.
What would you say to a UCLA student who is planning on having an international career?
The modern world is already globally connected more than ever before. When you discover a new country, or learn a new language you have two benefits: a new life in that country/language opens to you; you become more employable because of uniqueness of your skills, and combinations of these skills. Never think twice and take the first international opportunities which come your way.
Are you involved in any international UCLA alumni groups or support networks?
I am in touch with my Anderson 1996 class on Facebook, and my best friends from those times. I am also in touch with many of my classmates from NELC, (Near Eastern Languages & Cultures department) many of whom have become professors already.