Meet Sarah El Khoury, Senior Business Analyst at Annalect
Sarah started her marketing career with experience across various fields including digital, e-commerce and strategy. She graduated top of her class with a Master’s degree in Data & Business Analytics at the American University of Beirut, achieving a 4.0 GPA. She is now leading Business Analytics at Annalect where she consults on a portfolio of data-driven solutions to empower media and marketing for over 90 clients in MENA.
Why did you join this industry?
Initially, it is my passion for marketing that exposed me to the world of data. I strongly believed, and still do, that those two fields intertwine and empower each other. Therefore, I decided to pursue my academic and professional path in analytics, where data and technology sit at the very core of any business strategy.
How did you land your first job?
Despite getting into a technical Master, I constantly made sure not to put aside my fascination for marketing and build strong data foundations on business fields that interested me. When Omnicom Media Group approached me to become part of their data arm, it was a no-brainer to start my professional path in such a reputable company where I had the oppor- tunity to work on impactful data analytics projects which answered real business needs.
Who do you look up to?
I look up to Stephen Hawking, as he embodies the meaning behind “mind over matter.” To be able to make such revolutionary contributions is remarkable on its own, but to be able to make those contributions despite illness and pain is a notable form of strength.
What’s the best advice you have received so far?
Speak your mind even if your voice shakes.
What’s the best advice you have given so far?
You can. Even if you don’t believe it, even though it doesn’t feel like it right now, even in the toughest of times, you can.
How do you feel about the stigma sometimes associated with Millennials and Gen Z?
The world has changed and is changing more than ever before. Millennials and Gen Z stand out in their agility, from graduating university online to finding jobs in the middle of a pandemic to redefining what socialization is. These generations reflect a world that is not consi- dered ‘normal’ – a different type of creativity, of smart, of humanizing, of communication – and they do it beautifully, even if it deviates from the status quo.
What do you think you specifically bring to the organization you work for?
Given my 360 background, I believe I bring a versatile way of looking at things by bridging the gap between business and data – meaning the gap between innovation and feasibility, strategy and implementation, creativity and meticulousness.
What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned at work?
Always deliver work that makes *you* proud first. When you go above and beyond and pour your heart into a project, your passion can be felt across the entire room and achievement follows accordingly. That is success to me.
What’s the most rewarding thing about your job?
I am more than grateful to be supported by amazing leaders who inspire hard work and progression in everything we do. The same goes for my team; my colleagues are some of the smartest people I know, and no project is more stimulating than when we all work on it together.
What’s the most frustrating thing about your job?
Unfortunately, the lack of data availability and robustness in MENA. Nevertheless, this challenge leads me to think out of the box every day and derive insights from more innovative sources. I believe this is what makes a business analyst stand out here in our region.
If not this, what would you be doing?
Fashion is probably another industry that inspires me, especially when it comes to branding. But the amazing thing about my job is that I get to work for clients in various industries and have great exposure on all sorts of sectors, including retail.
Would you start your own venture in the future?
For now, and especially in these unpredictable times, I recognize that I still have a lot to learn before thinking about any personal endeavors. While I truly believe that life is unpredictable, my mind still isn’t there and I am taking the time to grow in an industry and in a company where I feel fulfilled professionally.