An IE in the Middle East: Destination Dubai

By Fernando Lamelas

burjalarabIt was a Monday night in late January 2013 and I was getting ready to go to bed. While I was preparing to set my alarm in my iPhone, I heard the sound of the Mail app for “new email”. I was curious and proceeded to open my mailbox. While I read through it, I felt excitement, but at the same time had not idea what lied ahead. The email included a couple of attachments and an invitation for a first Skype interview in… yes, less than 24 hours. After thinking through it for a few minutes, I decided to request for an additional day given the short notice, but was not successful in my attempt. A holiday on Thursday and recruiting managers busy schedules made rescheduling mission impossible. After a successful first interview the next night, ten days later I was on my way to Dubai, UAE for the next stage of the process.

Dubai is a city of stark contrasts; of sand dunes and skyscrapers, camels and fast cars, museums and malls. Whoever has visited or watched a TV special on it is captivated by its growth and unshakeable ambition. It is truly a metropolis (in a desert), an international destination with a wide scope of activities and offerings, cuisines and adventures to experience. The tallest building in the world is already here and who knows what’s next. From the time I landed I was fascinated by the diversity of nationalities and languages around me, yet, English is prevalent all throughout the city so that made things a little easier.

The two-day recruitment process was by itself a very interesting and different experience. In addition to the typical case, presentation and panel interview format that most may be familiar with; my interview included a group assessment where you are paired with the other candidates and work through a case together. After the two-day assessment, I flew back to the US and waited anxiously to hear about the outcome of my interview. Luckily for me, things turned out well and three days after returning from Dubai I found myself with a job offer and a big decision to make.

After careful consideration and talking with family and close friends, I decided to accept the offer and venture to the other side of the world. This unique experience represented not only a good opportunity both personally and professionally, but allowed me to pursue one of my biggest passions: work internationally.

After going through the hassles of relocating and closing this first chapter in the US, I moved to Dubai early April. It’s been just over a month since I started my new role as a Resource Planning Manager for dnata and I can say I look forward to the coming months. Dnata is the air services company of the Emirates Group and provides airlines with ground handling and other services in Dubai and other international airports around the world. My role consists in managing and implementing business improvement projects and providing capacity planning and tactical support for the airports’ expansion plans.

In retrospect, the Dubai experience has turned out to be amazing so far. I have been able to meet people from various nationalities and backgrounds, visit some of the touristic sites and experience bits and pieces of the local culture. Over the next few months, I look forward to keep sharing about my experiences and IE perspectives, so stay tuned for this monthly series of my first year in the Middle East.

Until then.. shukran wa ma is-salaama!

Fernando Lamelas is a Resource Planning Manager for dnata, the air services company of the Emirates Group and currently lives in Dubai, UAE. Prior to his current role, Fernando worked for other Fortune 500 companies including Disney, General Electric and CEMEX. He holds a BS from Tecnológico de Monterrey and a MS from the University of Florida, both in Industrial Engineering. He is passionate about travelling, sports, diversity in the workplace, professional development and volunteerism.


  1. What a great and inspiring story! It is good to know that Tec will actually prepare ourselves to confront whatever comes next nationally and internationally. Have you got any recommendations for ITESM students and how can we pursue our dream of working in a company such as Disney? Cheers from Germany!

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