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(From left) Farhan Zeb, Sumeet Sawlani, Varun Sharma, Shriya Bhatia and Zainab Fahad during a panel discussion on the third and final day of Gulf News EduFair in Shangri-La Hotel, Dubai, on Saturday. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Dubai: They are young and have achieved a lot, not as “traditional professionals” but by choosing offbeat careers in fast-growing sectors.

One is a certified financial consultant who became a social media manager and data analyst; another is an engineering graduate who shifted to sales and marketing; a third is a DJ and tech consultant; and the two others are social media influencer and yoga and fitness instructor.

These youth shared their experiences and how they overcame challenges in their respective careers to a rapt audience on the third and concluding day of Gulf News EduFair in Dubai on Saturday.

Farhan Zeb, 27, a social media manager and data analyst, said in today’s world, his career is in high demand. “The job description is new and employers will compete for you,” he said during a panel discussion.

His current career is not what he studied for in college. Zeb is a certified financial consultant and a Microsoft data analyst who has completed his Bachelor of Business Administration from Heriot-Watt University, and is currently pursuing a Master of Business Administration.

He is now using the knowledge he learned in data and business analytics to help manage social media platforms, with a specialisation in Instagram. He said his career is “irregular but it makes money and it is enjoyable”.

Visitors at the Shangri-La Hotel in Dubai on the third day of Gulf News EduFair on Saturday. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Zeb told students at Gulf News EduFair: “There are actually many jobs now that never existed some years ago. The challenge is to keep at pace with these changes.”

From engineering to sales

Sumeet Sawlani, 27, is sales director at Skyline International Real Estate. The engineering graduate started his career in real estate five years ago and is now managing a team of 35 real estate agents. His career has also brought him to various countries and he is now managing various investment portfolios.

Sawlani said it was daunting at first to venture into an unexplored field. “But I built my network. First it was my family and friends – then my connections grew. I paced myself and took one step at a time. I studied the market and worked all the way up,” he added.

Visitors 3
Students and parents had their queries on higher education and careers answered first-hand by educators and experts at the three-day Gulf News EduFair 2021 that concluded in Dubai on Thursday. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Sawlani said the biggest requirement in his career is to build one’s credibility and to work hard. “The people will start talking about you and you will get many referrals. Now, I’m not only doing sales but also managing investment and specialist portfolios.”

DJ and tech

Varun Sharma, 26, is a DJ and co-founder of Laumière Gourmet Fruits, an e-commerce brand. Sharma said his parents were at first sceptical with his chosen career as a DJ. There was no job security and it was irregular. But he had an honest conversation with his parents and eventually got their support. He also continued with his academic studies.

Passion in fashion

Shriya Bhatia, 27, is a social media influencer who made a career out of her passion in fashion. She is also an event manager with top corporate clients. Her education is in the field of international business and marketing from American College of Dubai and her key areas of expertise are talent management, operations and artist management.

Bhatia has become a successful social media influencer and has participated in numerous campaigns with big retail and cosmetic brands. Her advice to aspiring social media influencers: “Go out and try – there are many opportunities”.

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Connection with people

Zainab Fahad, 28, yoga and fitness instructor, credited her success to being passionate about her work and working long hours. She used to work 14 hours a day. “It was really a struggle but you have to be consistent and establish rapport with your clients,” she added.

Fahad said establishing oneself as a yoga and fitness instructor would require sacrifices. At the onset, one should not think about the money. Her advice: “Take one course at a time and don’t give up. Manage your time and build your clients. Health and wellness is one of the sectors that really thrived during the pandemic.”