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GEM’s Gems August 2013 – Asim Rashid

August 1, 2013

Asim Rashid

The GEM’s Gem we are honoring this month travels 30 hours to Denver four times a year to participate in cohort weekends.

Asim Rashid of Cohort IX is a Service Director at GE Industrial Service’s Middle East region. He was nominated for this recognition by a classmate who cited his exemplary professionalism, considerate personality, and impressive global background.

Rashid, 43, resides in Saudi Arabia and works hard to balance his career, education, and family life. He and his wife, Hina, have a 12-year-old daughter, Aishah, and 8-year-old son, Ibad.

“I need to work hard to keep the balance,” he said. “I have another running MBA as well. However, I have great support from my wife, Hina, a computer engineer, and my two children. Hina has redesigned the study arrangement for me with some nice IKEA tables and a shelf arrangement. The shelves keep getting filled with GEM books every quarter. I have a lot of new furniture in my home as part of the GEM program.”

Despite the 30 hours of one-way travel to Denver, Rashid looks forward to cohort weekends each quarter.

“I really like to be there to meet the GEM staff, colleagues and professors,” he said. “I enjoy the learning experience during those four days. The GEM program has a direct impact on the way I think about business and has influenced my views of the energy world. When I read the same financial reports or watch business channels, I see a totally different world.”

Rashid has worked and lived in Saudi Arabia for about 10 years. When he visits Denver he likes to take advantage of the milder Colorado climate compared to that of the Middle East.

Asim Family Photo

This photo of Asim Rashid and his family was taken at the Universal Studios in Singapore in 2011.

“I simply love the weather, especially when it rains and snows,” he said. “When I arrive in Denver, I place my bags in the hotel and immediately go out for a walk on the nearby 16th Street Mall. In fact, I need to find a good reason to keep traveling to Denver in the future, even when I complete the GEM program.”

Briefly describe your current role and responsibilities.

I run the Industrial Services P&L for GE in the Middle East region as a Service Director. We provide field service engineering and shop repair services to the energy industry in the Middle East. These services include start-up support, testing, commissioning, repairs, maintenance, and long-term service contracts. Service scope includes generators, motors, transformers, medium & low voltage switchgears, as well as motor control centers, protection relays, automation and controls. We work with all national and international energy companies and also support international and local EPCs. We serve oil & gas (both upstream and downstream sectors), chemical & petrochemicals, utilities, metals and other industries.

How has the GEM program benefited you and your company?

The learning I have had from the GEM program has a direct impact on the way I think about business. It has influenced my views of the energy world. When I read the same financial reports or watch business channels, I see a totally different world. The GEM program is not about story-telling. It takes a deep dive into energy world and focuses on building the critical thinking and analytical skills. I view these as important skills for leaders who are willing to take on the future challenges in the Energy industry.

What are some of your favorite things to do during cohort weekends?

I have worked and lived in Saudi Arabia for almost 10 years, which is nearly 50 percent of the length of my career. Saudi Arabia has hot, and at times, quite humid climate. Temperatures reach up to 60 degrees Celsius in some parts. I am from Pakistan where we have all the four normal seasons with no weather extremes. We see sun and rain in the cities, and snow in the mountainous areas. So when I come to Denver, I simply love the weather, especially when it rains and snows. When I arrive in Denver, I place my bags in the hotel and immediately go out for a walk on the nearby 16th Street Mall. I end this walk with a dinner at a nice restaurant. My colleagues from Denver have shown me several great dining outlets so I enjoy the nice choices.

What are some of the things that you never forget to bring to cohort weekends?

I love the weather and scenic views in Denver. I bring the necessary gear so I can walk around and enjoy the nice weather. On the other hand, I always bring a mind and a spirit that is eager to learn from my professors and colleagues. We have so many talented people in our class who provide a diversified perspective on every topic. It is so much fun to talk to them in the classroom and during lunch and dinner discussions.

Please share a story about GEM that will entertain other students.

I have shared several interesting stories in the classroom. I remember in one of our third semester classes, there was some discussion about how culture and regional knowledge matters. I shared a story where someone who was expected to work hard replied with an answer that, “He is hardly working to get the job done in the shortest possible time.” For a typical English speaking person, this may be a source of confusion; however, as you work in regions where the first language is not English, such interesting communication gaps keep happening. I also remember watching an interesting stage show in Singapore where they were referring to “Singlish.”

Why did you choose the GEM program at CU Denver?

I saw a headline about this program on LinkedIn. I liked the description, so I further searched the GEM website. I compared the GEM program with another program of similar nature. I found the GEM program’s structure and content unique and specialized. I am a firm believer that energy business has a major role to play in the world’s future; therefore, I decided to join this program. I am glad I made this choice. It has been well rewarding so far.

Has GEM changed your perspective? If so, how so?

GEM changed my perspective in several ways. I used to hear about oil/energy issues and challenges. Now I understand the basis and rationale behind what is happening in the energy world. Though I have been an avid reader of economics for quite some time, my perspective of energy economics is totally different today. I learned a lot about U.S. political systems and environmental laws. I can see the leadership successes and failures in the energy industry and understand them. This is thanks to the strong curriculum of the GEM program, enlightening discussions with other students, and GEM’s experienced professors.

GEM’s administrative staff has also taught also me a lot. I have had a great experience of “customer service.” I really want to say thanks to all the wonderful ladies in the GEM administrative staff who are so helpful and responsive. They go the extra mile and make the Cohort weekends a success.

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