Dawn to Way-Past-Dusk in Dubai

Setting up a new Mideast office, recruiting new hires, and 6 a.m. phone conferences all figure in this MBA's 14-hour schedule

I'm a partner with Diamondcluster International, a global management consulting company focused on strategy, technology, and execution. My responsibilities include helping clients in the development of market strategies, marketing, sales, and overall corporate strategy. I also help firms resolve complex technology-related issues. Clients come mainly from such service industries as telecommunications, financial services and insurance, health care, utilities, and even government.

Originally from Belgium, I recently moved with my wife and three children from Barcelona to Dubai, in the Middle East's United Arab Emirates, where I'm opening the new Diamondcluster office with partner Victor Font and a team of about 20 consultants.

Before business school, I studied and worked as a chemical engineer in Belgium. Since finishing my MBA at IESE in Spain nine years ago, I have been living around the world, in places such as Philadelphia, New York City, London, Barcelona, and now Dubai. My main focus has always been on strategy development and marketing for leading telecom, high-tech, and consumer goods companies.

Here's a time line of a hectic recent Monday in Dubai:

6:00 a.m. -- Early arrival at our temporary office in Dubai. Yesterday I was supposed to fly to Malaysia for a meeting with the head of a leading global telecom-equipment vendor. Unfortunately, the flight from Dubai was canceled, and the next flight was leaving too late for me to make the meeting, so we have to do it by phone. Fortunately, my colleague Maarten flew in from Europe and is with our client in his office. Telecom operators are expanding aggressively, and the market is booming in this part of the world. In addition to discussing potential opportunities for us to work together, we get some general insight into the market.

8:15 a.m. -- Time to grab some breakfast and quickly scan the local papers. Business continues to boom in the region, which is good news for us.

9:00 a.m. -- Meet up with Victor for a quick stop at the new offices -- great location with a great view. We finally got our space allocated in the center of Internet City in Dubai. Now we have to get it partitioned, furnished, and fully set up in two months.

9:30 a.m. -- Our team has a two-hour discussion about a corporate strategy project for a leading telecom group in the region. The company has asked us to support it in the development of a five-year strategy to move from having a regional, to a global, presence. We review our progress and discuss an upcoming workshop we will be conducting for our client's entire executive management next week in Beirut.

See Full Version

Kristoff Puelinckx can be reached at kpu@diamondcluster.com

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.