This paper provides a reflective journal on developing professional practice. It examines the author’s career in details, developing a critical analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. First, the journal reflects on the author’s origin, with a special analysis of the country of origin (Saudi Arabia) based on Hofstede’s cultural analysis.
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It also develops a critical view of the past activities that have an impact on the author’s career development process as well as the steps required to enhance the impact of each of the activities involved. Finally, the paper develops two logs based on the author’s past evevents and their impact on career.
In the present reflective piece the author would be self-introducing the identity and brief history. This would be to portray of my own personality and career path in order to better analyses the strengths and weaknesses. This analysis would help in reflecting on the author’s strengths, Weaknesses and areas of opportunities to improve on personal and professional front.
According to Moon (1999) reflection is a simple mental activity which remembers the past incidence and analysis the reasoning behind the happenings of those events (Moon 1999) based on the above stated definition, it important to ponder upon the past history and events in order to assess the present and plan for the future
My name is A. I was born in the Kingdom of Saudia Arabia, in its one of the most popular metropolitan city called Riyadh. Since my early childhood days, I always wanted to become a successful Bank Manager. I have always had high regards for the banking sector.
In reflection of my early childhood days I still remember when my father used to take me to the bank I used to feel welcomed by the extraordinary customer service that I used to get whenever we visit our local branch. Coming from an Arab country, I had a high influence of Arab culture on my personality. The culture has induced many common knowledge factors into my personality.
According to Hofstede (2014), an individual’s personality has high influence of their culture. The Arab culture has a high percentage of power distance index, which means the power of an individual is measured by the authority he possess, In other words, not all individuals in the society are not equal (Hofstede 2014) The following diagram further illustrates Hofstede’s view of cultural dimension.
As the above listed diagram illustrates that then the author’s goal was to become a very powerful entity in the society, hence the role of a branch manager of a bank would fulfill the need for this power establishment. Author always dreamt of being powerful and money is the most powerful tool in the Arab society, hence choosing the career path were money is the ultimate commodity.
In the Hofstede’s second quadrant, individualism is rated the lowest among all four quadrant this reflects on the collectivistic culture being cultivated in the Arab country, which has influenced author’s personality. The third quadrant symbolizes about the masculinity, which has a very high number. This portrays that the society is very male dominated.
In order to assess and reflect upon the personal and professional strengths the author has implemented the SWOT analyses. The Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats analysis will assist in reflecting the general Strengths, weakness, opportunities for improvement and threats that can hamper personal and professional growth.
SWOT: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats Analysis
As a dedicated individual seeking to achieve my dream of becoming a professional bank manager, a number of factors and attributes contribute to my strengths.
Over the past two decades, I have been developing a strong foundation for my future banking career primarily through education. Since I realized that professional banking was my destiny, I embarked on building a strong foundation that would propel me towards realization of my goals. First, I hold a bachelors degree in management (human resource) from King Abdullah University in Riyadh.
I studied management, especially human resource, because I was aware that it is the foundation of my dream profession. In the undergraduate course, we achieved a lot of knowledge and skills required to work and manage a financial institution. For instance, we obtained theoretical and practical skills in business management, managing human resources and dealing with diversity at the workplace.
To consolidate our knowledge and skills, the University provided its students with an opportunity to work for 6 months as an intern in one of the best financial institutions in the city of Riyadh. The university has an active memorandum of understanding with a number of financial institutions in the city of Riyadh, which allows its students to take between 6 and 12 months as an intern. I was one of the beneficiaries of this program.
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I successfully worked as an intern with the Saudi Telkom in Riyadh for about one year in 2008. The institution imparted me with a lot of knowledge about the corporate industry. For instance, I started at the reception desk before moving to customer service section. At the customer service section, I had the chance to meet a number of individuals from both the corporate and non-corporate world.
I also had the chance to meet various individuals from various nations. These experiences provided me with additional experience to handle both high profile and private citizens. In addition, I realized that hard work; good relations with people and dedication are important strengths in my career.
In other sections, I was taught how to deal with communication problems, opportunities and threats affecting financial institutions. Therefore, the experience at the Telkom remains an important asset to my future employer.
After leaving the university, I worked for one year at Saudi Telkom, where I expanded my career versatility in accounting and finance. I was given a number of responsibilities, including financial analysis, financial reporting, accounting, and front office management and employee coordination.
I have also embarked on improving my academic background through taking an Msc Financial management in finance and banking. For the last 8 months, I have been taking my coursework in this course, which has greatly expanded my knowledge in banking and management.
Before completing the entire course next year, I will have expanded my versatility in banking management, an important strength for improving my capability as a bank manager in Saudi Arabia.
Every individual has at least some weak points that affect careers in one way or the other. In my career and personal reflection, I have realized that I have four points of weaknesses. First, I am over exertive. Secondly, since realizing that I can accomplish almost any task with little or no supervision, I have built confidence and dare to challenge almost any task or problem on my own.
Thirdly, I am a relater, always insisting on a detailed explanation to every person, even those who need little details or advice to handle their issues. Finally, I am a deliberate thinker, a factor that sometimes makes me approach things from a different perspective.
I have realized that the most practical way for me to deal with these weaknesses is to dedicate my time to reflect on each of them and deal with each of them every day. Since I am a dedicated and hardworking individual, I easily become over exertive, which leads to overworking myself. I sometimes put too much pressure on myself even when the task at hand is not complicated.
I have learnt that delegating tasks and asking for help from my colleagues as well as working as a team is the best way of overcoming this weakness. I have also learnt to maintain a high level of work and professional ethics. As a deliberate thinker, I sometimes over analyze issues and situations at the workplace.
Although some employers require this quality because the employee has the capacity to review tasks and problems with thoroughness, I have realized that not every employer wants this skill. Thus, I believe that it is a weakness that should only be used when need arises.
Finally, as a strong relater, it has become a tendency for me to build close relationships with different individuals in different places. Although it is a good habit, it has the capacity to tamper with my work because banking is a serious career that requires little time for making friends. Nevertheless, I am sure that most banking positions such as managerial require strong realtors to develop financial friendships.
My reflection shows that three factors are the major opportunities for my career. First, there is a wide range of chances to expand my banking career beyond the status. Secondly, I have a strong ability to work in diverse departments, industries and environments. Finally, the reflection shows that I have a strong willingness to believe in the corporate goals, visions and missions of my employer.
Financial management and accounting are important fields in banking, but with different aspects that need to be studied and applied. For instance, subfields such as auditing, corporate analysis, taxation and others are very important in this field. The knowledge I gained in my undergraduate level as well as the knowledge I have gained in the current MBA course have impacted a lot of skills on my career.
This knowledge offers many opportunities for my banking career. With this knowledge, I am aware that my career will be in a better position, given that most of the banks and other financial institutions in the modern world require a strong academic background in combination with other skills. While handling my tasks at the workplace, I always focus on understanding the employer’s culture, objectives, missions and visions.
Corporate culture is an important aspect of any business because it defines the practices and beliefs that direct and guide the people at the institution. Thus, I am always focused on understanding the goals and objectives that the employer has put in place and dedicate my time, efforts and skills to ensure that I contribute to the corporate achievement of the goals.
My reflection has identified four major aspects as the threats facing my career in banking. First, I have noted that the degree of competition and work is relatively high. Secondly, these economies of Saudi Arabia as well as other countries in the Middle East are facing transition, with most companies importing employees from the western nations to enhance globalization (Bhuian 2009).
Thirdly, I have noted that the technological advancements at the workplace, especially in the financial sector, is putting pressure on employees and potential employees to ensure that they update their knowledge to go in pace with the dynamic technology.
Finally, I have noted that obtaining my Msc in Financial management degree is a challenging task, which requires adequate skills to balance between work, education and family (Tlaiss & Kauser 2011).
I believe that the best way of overcoming the four threats facing my career is to ensure that I remain focused and positive. I must continue fighting these challenges. Due to globalization, most banking companies are increasingly facing both local and foreign competition (Hamdan 2005)
The increasing rate of influx of western and Asian companies in the Saudi market is challenging the local banks, which I hope to manage (Ramady 2012). Since most local banks do not have huge potentials, large conglomerates from North American, Europe and Southeast Asia are increasingly challenging them.
This means that potential employees like me face challenges because the foreign banks are also seeking employees from foreign countries. In addition, technological advancements have taken the banking field by surprise. In fact, almost all banks are interconnected, with a localized central managerial unit that uses internet and computer based technologies to manage (Darrat 2009)
Moreover, the banking sector is a knowledge based section of the economy. It requires individuals to have a strong academic background and experience. In addition, it requires one to have the right knowledge in dealing with financial crises and problems in the economy (Abu-Musa 2006). Thus, I need to obtain knowledge to enter into the banking sector.
In addition, automation of almost all tasks in banking has required employees to have additional knowledge in user application of these technologies. In this context, I need to keep updating my skills in computer and technology to remain relevant in the field (Ariff 2004). I need to study modern software in order to remain updated. Specifically, I need to train myself how to use and apply these technologies in managerial work.
Proposal for professional development
In order to achieve the highest quality of professional development and skills in banking and financial management, continued development and advancement of my career is fundamental. I need continual learning for to achieve my dreams and success in career. I need to establish a professional development model that will enhance my ability to learn and continue succeeding in my career.
To create and implement a tangible, time bound and definitive process within my professional development, focusing on financial management. The primary objectives seek to:
- Establish a mentality of learning for career and life
- Enhance continued professional development within the financial management sphere
- Obtain skills and knowledge in leading corporations
Options. A self-directed professional development
I need to complete my Msc Financial management within the next 12 months at my own discretion. I will emphasize on working with professional instructors at the university in order to gain the skills required to run a bank. I will develop my own schedule of events leading towards completion of all the tasks involved, including volunteering at one of the leading banks in Riyadh.
This is a good option for post-graduate students who seek to use their skills to enter into the job market. It will enhance my ability to work with professionals and obtain skills from them through voluntary work.
It is likely that this plan will not succeed if I fail to dedicate my time and energy towards voluntary work, given that the payment offered, if any, is minimal.
I have the opportunity to find a mentor in the UK as well as in Riyadh in order to obtain advice and skills needed to enhance my career. I will also use the services of a mentor at a leading bank in Saudi Arabia to provide me with the required coaching in corporate finance and banking.
A mentor has the required skills, capacity and the will to help me achieve my academic and professional goals. He or she has the potential to push me through the system until I obtain full employment at a Saudi bank.
It is likely that most of the decisions I make will be developed by the mentor. I am likely to lose some decision making skills.
Option B is the best choice because I am yet to obtain a strong relationship with corporate leaders, especially in Saudi banking sector. To achieve my dreams, I need the services of a mentor at the workplace as well as in academics.
Abu-Musa, A, 2006, “Exploring perceived threats of CAIS in developing countries: the case of Saudi Arabia”, Managerial Auditing Journal, vol. 21, no. 4, pp. 387-407.
Ariff, M, 2004, “Islamic banking”, Asian‐Pacific Economic Literature, vol. 2, no. 2, pp. 48-64.
Bhuian, S, 2009, “Exploring market orientation in banks: an empirical examination in Saudi Arabia”, Journal of Services Marketing, vol. 11, no. 5, pp. 317-328.
Darrat, A, 2009, “Are financial deepening and economic growth causally related? Another look at the evidence”, International Economic Journal, vol. 13, no. 3, pp. 19-35.
Hamdan, A, 2005, “Women and education in Saudi Arabia: Challenges and achievements”, International Education Journal, vol. 6, no. 1, pp. 42-64.
Hofstede, G, 2014, United Arab Emirates – Geert Hofstede, Accessed from https://geerthofstede.com/
Moon, J, 1999, Reflection in learning & professional development, Kogan Page, London.
Ramady, M, 2012, The Saudi Arabian Economy: Policies, Achievements, and Challenges, Springer , New York.
Tlaiss, H & Kauser, S, 2011, “The impact of gender, family, and work on the career advancement of Lebanese women managers”, Gender in Management: An International Journal, vol. 26, no. 1, pp. 8-36.
|Learning Log Number: Date:|
|Event Title||One year employment at the Saudi Telcom in Riyadh, SA in 2008|
|Description of Event||I had the opportunity to be exposed to banking procedures. I interacted with a large number of individuals from the corporate world as well as private citizens. I also learnt how to handle tasks, challenges and opportunities at the workplace.|
|Conclusions Reached||I have learnt that managing financial institutions requires hard work, dedication, application of knowledge and etiquette |
I have realized that I am a good relater, dedicated individual and able to work with little or no supervision.
This event gave me quality experience and introduced me to banking career. It also allowed me to interact with bankers and other corporate individuals, which gave me encouragement to continue pursuing my career. I intend to use the skills gained in this position to expand my career and apply them once I have achieved my dream of working in a banking institution.
|Action/Next Steps||. I will seek to develop quality and financial relations at the workplace in order to achieve corporate missions, visions and goals. I intend to expand this learning by enrolling in another banking organization once I am through with my Msc Financial management.|
|I intend to complete my Msc Financial management in December 2014. Thereafter, I will enroll in a banking institution, starting February 2015. I hope to remain there for about three months before embarking on a full employment.|
Learning Log 2
|Learning Log Number: Date:|
|Event Title||Taking a 2 year Msc Financial Management at a leading university in the UK.|
|Description of Event||Since 2013, I have been attending a leading university in the United Kingdom, where I am currently taking my Msc Financial Management. I left Saudi Arabia in early 2013 seeking to advance my knowledge and skills in financial management. My hope is to improve my capability and perfect my skills in managing a bank after returning to Saudi Arabia. The masters degree course takes two years and will be completed by the end of 2014. In this course, I have taken several units, including financial analysis, corporate finance, risk management in finance, credit risk and corporate strategies.|
|Conclusions Reached||From this event, I have gained knowledge in financial management for corporations. The course has taught me to develop skills in managing corporate finances, managing corporate risks, leading and negotiating for corporate strategies such as mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures and crisis management. I have also learnt how to develop and publish corporate annual returns focusing on financial statements such as cash flow and profit and loss account. |
In addition, I have learnt how to carry out comprehensive company analysis, including financial performance based on annual returns and financial ratios.
This event has promoted my ability to handle financial matters for large companies, including banks. Managing financial institutions such as banks require adequate knowledge and skills in financial services. One must account for every cent flowing through the organization. Each piece of financial information is critical to the overall management of finances. As such, the skills I have gained from the event will promote my ability to manage financial institutions.
On the other hand, I have realized that knowledge and skill development are critical to my career and life. I have also realized that time management is critical to my life and career. Thus, I hope to apply this knowledge to my personal development.
|Action/Next Steps||I have the opportunity to advance the knowledge acquired from class by focusing on applying it at the workplace. I will use the knowledge to coach and build my colleagues and subordinates at the bank.|
|First, I plan to complete the degree course I am doing now. Then, I will apply for a banking position in one of the several banks in Saudi Arabia beginning January 2015. Then, I will use my skills and knowledge gained from the UK university to coach my subordinates and encourage them to work to achieve personal and corporate goals. I believe that by 2017, I will proceed to apply these skills to manage the institution, including managing financial risks and determining opportunities to enhance financial performance.|