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Meet Nadjib Saadali, Project Manager, Dubai

Photo: COWI

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​When I meet people and they ask me where I’m from, I answer: COWI.

​I got to know COWI through one of my professors who put me in contact with the company. One day, I received a phone call from one of the managers in Denmark and that has made all the difference to my career. I went from working for a local consultancy in France to an international career in Qatar with COWI. It was very challenging for me at first, since I did not speak any English back then.

Taking the job was a huge risk, but I wanted to get ahead and I could see myself doing that at COWI. During my first year, I walked around with a French-English dictionary in my pocket. From a technical point of view, there weren’t a lot of obstacles because technical terms are similar across languages. But when it came to the other aspects of the job, language was a challenge I needed to overcome.

I have saved some of the first emails I wrote working for COWI, and when I look at them today I am not even sure what I meant. I didn’t attend language classes or anything. I learned and improved my language simply by not being afraid of making mistakes. What also helped was being forced to use it intensively – and the positive reception people gave me. I am not sure I could have done it without the huge support and help from my colleagues and my friends.

When I meet new people and they ask me where I am from, I usually say: ‘COWI’. They tend to get a bit confused and ask me again, because they are referring to my nationality. But I still answer ‘COWI’. Of course there is a difference between my personal and professional life but in my opinion, if you put a little bit of heart into your work, there is no way that you can fail. When you feel part of something, as I feel part of COWI, the company’s goals become synonymous with your personal goals.

Everybody has a different background and nationality so communication is not always easy but we still manage to find a way to allow everybody to fit in and keep up. That is what I call ‘Our COWI spirit’.

COWI gives its employees a healthy degree of independence. The way I see it, the more trust the company shows in me, the more I will be encouraged to do a better job and to give back to the company.

Facts

​Title

Project Manager

Joined COWI

2007

Educational background

Nadjib Saadali attended Algeria’s prestigious École Nationale Supérieure des Travaux Publics, where he graduated in 2005 with a degree in civil engineering and specialisation in public works. The school only accepts a limited number of students every year. After graduating, Nadjib went to France to study marine and coastal engineering. He now holds a master’s degree in harbour and coastal engineering.

LAST UPDATED: 08.05.2017