From MBA Student to Industry Guest Lecturer: Amr Badawy
As a Senior Project Manager with Telstra, Amr Badawy is undoubtedly a project management expert. He leads multiple projects within the National Broadband Network (NBN) delivery at Telstra and has over 10 years of experience in the telecommunications and consulting industries. Now, he partners with AIB to share his specialist insights as an Industry Guest Lecturer in project management.
Amr hasn’t always worked in telecommunications. After graduating from the University of Wollongong with a Bachelor of Engineering – Electrical Engineering, he took a graduate position with OneSteel in the heavy industry. Deciding it wasn’t for him, he moved on a year later to form his own consulting company, AMA Food. There, he worked with food manufacturers and exporters to develop marketing strategies, export divisions and company procedures in line with the food export industry. He continued this work into his next role with Tuscany Foods where he established the export division and managed its operations and logistics.
In 2012, Amr joined Telstra to start a career in project management within the telecommunication giant’s Corporate Projects division. While he thrived in the role, he was also conscious that his background in engineering had left him with some gaps in his knowledge. “I wanted to get an appreciation for business as it is. I wanted to know how to manage a team better through the right leadership.”
To plug those gaps, Amr undertook the MBA with AIB, which he successfully completed in 2015. “From there,” he says, “I just kept climbing up that project management ladder.”
Amr’s current role is focused on the delivery of the NBN network, managing teams to roll out the fibre upgrade to the existing HFC cable network. He explains, “I look after everything related to its delivery, so I’m slightly attached to the engineering space still. I currently run a team of 15 project managers and we look after six programs, specifically the deployment of those programs.”
Amr describes himself as more of a generalist than a specialist, and that skill set stands him in good stead in the project management field.
“Project managers are hired to do the grey stuff, the stuff that isn’t well defined,” Amr says. “The most important thing about project management is to be very flexible. It’s all about understanding the outcomes and being flexible enough to apply the right skill set, approaches and methodologies to achieve that certain outcome. It’s about doing what needs to be done to get it over the line.”
Accordingly, Amr actively seeks out new challenges both within and external to his organisation. He prefers not to reprise a previous project, but to put his hand up for new ones that can deliver different experiences. He talks to peers working in other countries to learn about their processes. And he volunteers for boards outside the company.
Most recently, Amr joined the board of the local university soccer club and found himself taking on the role of President. “What I learned from that is that running a volunteer activity or an organisation with so many different people and backgrounds is a project management task in itself. Seeing what different people bring to the table and combining all of that – it gives you that next innovative idea about how you’re going to project manage,” Amr says.
Amr also credits his MBA for contributing to his ability to think outside the box. “Naturally, I’m just that type of person, always curious, but the MBA gave me that bit of confidence. I’ve been negotiating a contract, something I would have never thought I’d do before doing my MBA. I had no fear of entering that space. I didn’t need to be an expert, I just needed to know enough to be dangerous.”
We’re delighted to welcome Amr back to AIB, this time as an Industry Guest Lecturer, to contribute current workplace insights to our MBA’s project management curriculum.