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Meet Nadjib Saadali, Project Manager, Dubai

Photo: COWI


​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.



Project Manager

Joined COWI


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