Winning Voices: Ali Hinnawi, Business Development Leader at Visa

Winning Voices: Ali Hinnawi, Business Development Leader at Visa

Each week, JWMI profiles students and alumni in its new featured series, “Winning Voices.” Learn about our diverse community and what sets our program apart from those who have experienced it. For more great “Winning Voices” content, click here.

Ali Hinnawi
Business Development Leader
Program/Concentration: Jack Welch MBA 

Why were you looking to get an MBA?

I wanted to expand my horizons, and it was a classic case of the more you know, the more you realize that you don’t know. There is much to learn in the business world. I thought the Jack Welch MBA could boost my career by learning firsthand from the world’s most extraordinary business minds, such as Jack Welch and Warren Buffett.


Coming from an engineering background, I learned most of my business skills on the job. It was nice to go back to basics and understand how simple concepts like GDP and double-entry bookkeeping can help me in my day to day life. I used learnings such as cost allocation at work and pushed back when management used allocation methods that did not make sense. The weekly discussion questions and my Zoom presentations gave me confidence to articulate my thoughts when speaking to management or managing customer concerns.

What’s been your most rewarding experience in the program?

The most rewarding experience in the program was when I saw my name on the diploma! It meant that I finished what I set out to do a few years before and that I could accomplish anything.. There is nothing more rewarding than the feeling of accomplishment.

How did you navigate school, family, and work? What strategies did you implement to get it done?

Throughout my MBA journey, I juggled my work and study for three years on an almost daily basis. These efforts were in tandem with travel, family, friend, and other commitments. I always thought there is no way I would have time to fit in an MBA in my busy life with my 12–14 hour workday. However, this program taught me the importance of time management and setting my mind to making things happen. I had to force myself to fit this into my life. Waiting for some free time to appear magically is never a good strategy. There’s always something to keep us busy. Once you commit to an MBA, you will find the time.

Please share any advice for new students embarking on the MBA journey.

It’s always best to approach big decisions in small steps. I knew it would take me three years to complete my MBA, but I decided to approach it differently. I approached the commitments one step at a time. First, I filled out the application form. Once I was accepted, I decided to take only one course to test the waters. Once I finished that course, I thought, let me try a second course. Before I knew it, one year had passed, then two and finally three. It’s essential to break up a long journey into small, achievable steps.

Connect with Ali Hinnawi on Linkedin

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