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‘Dubai is a great destination to achieve a healthy work-life balance’

Apeejay alumnus Zenam Kamra is a Senior Demand Planner at Total Energies in Dubai. In the interview, he shares his experience of working in the picturesque city



Dubai offers a global environment. The city buzzes with professionals coming from countries such as India, Bangladesh, Philippines, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and many more. “For Indians, the place is a splendid choice because it is a home away from home. Not only that, the place promises a great work culture, lifestyle and recreational options,” says 29-year-old Apeejay alumnus Zenam Kamra. The dynamic professional in this interview discusses more about his ‘work-abroad’ learnings. Read On, edited excerpts from the interview.

Please tell us about your educational background.

I completed my Bachelor’s degree in Electrical, Electronics and Communication Engineering from Vellore Institute of Technology, Tamil Nadu in 2015. After that, I pursued a Master’s degree in Logistics and Supply Chain Management from SP Jain School of Global Management, Dubai.

In 2017, I started my professional journey as an intern. Post that, I applied for jobs in the Dubai city and was fortunate to have a position at Al Seer, a leading distribution company. Currently, I am working as a Senior Demand Planner at Total Energies.

Why did you switch from Engineering to Supply Chain Management?

In the second year of my undergraduate degree, I felt that engineering wasn’t my calling. But still, I decided to complete my education and then pursue a degree in Management.

Luckily for me, during the last year of my undergraduate degree, my parents moved to Dubai. And, it was around the same time I realised that I am good with numbers and can go for Supply Chain Management.

I also pondered on trying my hands at a few engineering-related jobs but that didn’t seem right for me. At Apeejay School too, I was an achiever in subjects such as Mathematics and Economics.

What’s new in Supply Chain Management?

Hit by Covid-19, the global supply chain has been badly impacted. And in the post-pandemic scenario, shipping industries are just about getting back to normalcy. The raw materials necessary to produce finished goods are facing a lag across the world as many suppliers are having a hard time booking the vessels. This has been a concerning fact for some time now.  

Industries dealing with Fast-moving Consumer Goods (FMCGs) have thrived during the pandemic. However, their supply chain graph is witnessing a flat growth now. In the field of oil and gas, the trends are looking up as oil prices have hiked globally.

Your role at Total Energies?

Total Energies is a multi-energy company that produces and markets fuels, natural gas and electricity. Among several other responsibilities in the company, my role is to procure raw materials, analyse data to predict sales, etc. Some nations that provide us the market are the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Africa and Europe, and others.

Is the oil and gas sector looking to adopt sustainable practices?

Several companies are investing heavily to move towards renewable energies. But, there is a long way to go. Others are also working towards reducing their carbon footprint.

Please tell us more about the work culture in Dubai.  

I have been fortunate to have risen as a professional in the city. Till now, I have been employed in about three companies. During my work stints, I have got the opportunity to learn a lot. And that has further contributed to my grooming and know-how. I feel that after two jobs, my speed and efficiency has increased manifold. In my spare time, I focus on upskilling myself and learning programming courses.

At Total Energies, since it is a multi-national company, it goes without saying that the work culture is extremely congenial for one’s growth. I feel that I have attained a great work-life balance and that has set the right tone for my productivity.

Overall, Dubai is home as much as India. The values and culture people have here are similar to us. There is a lot of respect and good will among people and to see that, is heartening!

A strong work-ethic you closely follow?

I stay true to my work and value my team members. Each day, my motivation is to learn something new and add to my knowledge.

For those aspiring to work in Dubai, your tips?

If someone is looking to kick-start their career in Dubai, they can grow right from a Bachelor’s degree. The organisational growths are also good and timely. However, a professional/student should come mentally prepared to live alone or with roommates. My suggestion for them is to learn household chores, cooking, etc. The first few years can be challenging in any country and to learn to deal with problems effectively is crucial. Also, on Instagram and other social media platforms, others’ stories and posts look rosy and picture perfect. It definitely is not!

Those looking for a switch must chart out their own path. Overall, employees are paid well here. One can also engage with hundreds of recreational options, be it night clubs, sports, fishing or board games over the weekend. The opportunities and options are many.

Your experience at Apeejay School, Nerul?

I have spent about 14 years in the school. Even till today, whenever I visit Navi Mumbai, I make a point to take out some hours to visit my school. Every teacher has contributed to my growth in some manner or the other and I have made many memories and friends.


Mrini Devnani is a Principal Correspondent and Marketing Coordinator at Newsroom. She covers student achievements, conducts interviews, and contributes content to the website. Previously, she served as a Correspondent specialising in Edu-tech for the India Today Group. Her skill areas extend to Social Media and Digital Marketing. For any inquiries or correspondence, you can reach out to her at [email protected]

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