Following a period of study at the College of Banking and Financial Studies in Muscat, Saif al Barwani joined Bank Muscat as a processor before switching to the National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD), where he worked his way up to a branch manager’s position in Qurum. At the same time he studied, via distance learning, for an MBA from the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, UK. Now, his current post is Manager – Partner Development at Bank Nizwa and he is still climbing the career ladder.
Q: What drives you to success?
For me, it’s about challenges. Where there’s a challenge, that’s where I belong. Normal situations are usually boring to me. I believe that going through difficult situations leads to creating a strong person. Whenever I look back, I know I still have a long way to go.
Q: Who or what has been your inspiration?
I have a few people who have been really inspirational to me. My mother has been a big influence. She has always been very supportive to me. When my siblings and I were kids, we used to complain that she gave us so much pressure and she was very tough on us, especially when it came to studies. But now I’m grown up and looking back, I understand what she was doing and why. Now, we can see the result of her support. My previous manager at NBAD, Ahmed al Musalmi, was also an inspiration. Whenever I used to feel down or feel lost in my career, I would go into his office and come out a different person. He believed in me and helped me believe in myself. He is now CEO of the National Bank of Oman. My six-year-old daughter is also a big inspiration. When I look at her, I know that I have to work harder, not only for me but also for her.
Q: What is your biggest career success to date?
My biggest career success is yet to come. I’m still working on it. I will get there.
Q: What are your career goals?
I want to reach high managerial levels in whatever organisation I’m working in. I want to be at the top of the ladder. I feel that I belong in banking. I have thought about doing something different but I always come back to square one, to banking. I feel very comfortable.
Q: Where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time?
I don’t believe in working in one company for a long time. You need to move on to get something new and start fresh every now and then. In 10 years from now, I will be independent and running my own company. Nothing is impossible.
Q: What do you like about the Genesis, the premium series of Hyundai Motor Company?
The Genesis looks poised and sharp from the outside, but in my opinion this car has to be experienced from the inside. The magic of it is when you take the steering wheel in your hands. It drives well and has a great road grip; the interiors are subtle, sophisticated and tasteful. The refinement and technology of the car is fantastic, especially when you look at the features and functionalities. In all, it is a great package and worthy of being on the shopping list of any luxury car buyer.