Life at Deloitte

Samar, Associate FAS, Deloitte Dubai

Who you work with is just as important as the type of work you do

Samar joined Deloitte as a business analyst in 2009 after completing her degree in civil engineering. To date she had worked on the region’s biggest restructuring engagement, and provided services to the region’s largest real estate developers, law firms, government institutions and oil & gas companies.

Samar Estefan

What does your role involve?

I am an associate within the Capital Projects Advisory (“CPA”) team, part of Deloitte Financial Advisory Services in Dubai providing financial advisory services to real estate, construction, infrastructure, and oil and gas companies in the GCC region. As part of my job I have regular exposure to various members of client management, from junior members to senior / executive management, advising on various financial, operational and commercial issues that they experience. My roles and responsibilities include conducting interviews with management, preparing reports / workshops, conducting financial and commercial analysis, preparing proposals and pitch presentations, and building strong relationships both internally and externally.

Describe your experience to date

I joined Deloitte as a business analyst in 2009 after completing my degree in civil engineering. Being part of an emerging service line for Deloitte in this region, I was exposed to different types of high-profile engagements and had the opportunity to work with different Deloitte offices worldwide. I was engaged in extremely challenging assignments, some of which were of a high profile nature and had an impact at a global level. To date I have worked on the region’s biggest restructuring engagement, and provided services to the region’s largest real estate developers, law firms, government institutions and oil & gas companies. Earlier this year I started my ACA training with the ICAEW. This period of studying and working has allowed me to compliment my technical engineering skills developed through university and work experience with solid accounting and financial knowledge gained through the ACA program.

Why did you join Deloitte in the Middle East?

Being a civil engineer, I was really fascinated by Dubai’s ambitious vision in transforming what is in essence a desert into something that eclipses a place like New York, and I really wanted to be part of that vision. Unfortunately, just as I was about to graduate, the economic crisis gained momentum and Dubai’s real estate bubble burst. However, by joining Deloitte’s CPA team, I was confident this was my chance to make a difference by helping real estate and construction companies tackle their core issues and drive Dubai’s economy and aid its recovery. This role appealed to me because I knew it would be a very challenging yet rewarding opportunity. In addition, I was really excited to work in the Middle East’s financial hub, which I believe offers a unique exposure to multiple opportunities and a great learning platform while being in a multinational environment.

As a woman, how did Deloitte support you to meet your career aspirations?

Deloitte provides a very supportive environment for individuals especially females. When I decided to pursue an ACA qualification with the ICAEW, Deloitte was very encouraging and made sure I had sufficient time and resources to study effectively. Deloitte also developed a growth plan in line with my career objectives by helping me draft a clear structure with regular guidance through formal and informal counseling and mentorship sessions.

Deloitte also recognized my strong performance and helped me achieve fast and unprecedented promotions, allowing me to be the youngest Associate in CPA and FAS at the time.

In addition to my professional growth, Deloitte helped me achieve my personal development goals by giving me the opportunity to engage in regular corporate social responsibility activities in the region and allowing me to volunteer in South America helping mentally challenged and physically disabled children.

What type of activities within Deloitte ME have you been involved in?

Deloitte ME offers a wide range of extracurricular activities including assisting in recruiting, business development, publications, newsletters, team building activities and corporate social responsibility activities.  My latest experience involved an entrepreneurship workshop in collaboration with INJAZ at a women’s only university based in Sharjah, which involved empowering women in business. These activities contributed significantly to my personal development and allowed me to build strong ties with other team members, Deloitte FAS departments, Deloitte member firms, and partner organizations.  

What makes you get up in the morning?

I love my team. I believe who you work with is just as important as the type of work you do, and I am very lucky to enjoy both.

I believe we have an excellent team spirit, due to a combination of a young team and the multinational and multidisciplinary team structure, which gives a wide opportunity for team members to learn quickly and gain exposure to different aspects of the real estate and construction lifecycle.  

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