Class of 2015
Ras al Khaimah, UAE
Khalid Alqasimi's love of business began when he learned to interpret financial accounts through the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange website and the Bloomberg application on his BlackBerry. While in high school, Khalid shocked his father by discussing the performance of companies in which his dad was a major shareholder.
"At first he thought I had been listening to his phone conversations, but then he was impressed that I had accessed and understood the information," Khalid says.
In 2010, when his father was appointed to an important post in the government of Ras al Khaimah, an emirate known for being an industrial leader within the UAE, Khalid knew he wanted to be a role model to other young Emiratis. Specifically, he plans to encourage his peers to take positions at the forefront of a rapidly growing Middle Eastern economy. He says, "I want to show Emirati students that they should aim to enter the strongest universities in the world."
Khalid has set a long-term goal—to be a leader who makes a difference in the business world. In order to match theory with practice, Khalid took an internship at Ras al Khaimah Ceramics, one of the world's largest producers of consumer ceramics. He delved into the day-to-day operations of the marketing and sales departments, writing invoices, attending operational meetings, and even coming up with creative names for a number of the products.
Later, at a public speaking camp in the US, Khalid gained an international perspective on the diverse styles and philosophies of leadership. "Whatever his leadership style, a leader has to be able to tell people the truth, no matter how sour it may seem to them," he observes. "In the headlines we read about businesses rising and businesses collapsing. I realized that the main factor in success or failure is management," Khalid says.
Khalid already understands that leadership is not confined to the economic sphere but must include a commitment to the welfare of the entire community. "The achievement I'm most proud of is earning a certificate from the Red Crescent for helping people with special needs," he says, referring to a fundraiser he organized in order to buy educational tools for the disabled.
He also contributed to his school's Charity Day by setting up a traditional Arab sitting area and conducting a falconry display. In convincing his principal to donate the funds he raised to a struggling high school in Ghana, Khalid took his philosophy of socially committed leadership to the global level. "Now they are our brother school and carry our name," he says.
An avid sportsman, Khalid also contributed to his community by volunteering at the Ras al Khaimah Half Marathon, which has brought the region to prominence in international sports news as the site of a world record in its first year.
As Khalid begins his studies at NYU Abu Dhabi, he looks forward to learning in a multicultural setting while adding his own perspective as an Emirati. "I see myself as being compelled to pursue the highest level of study, to learn from the best, and to share that with my fellow citizens," he says.