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Heriot Watt University Dubai announces scholarship winners from Campaign’s Faces to Watch 2021

Heriot-Watt Dubai’s Dr. Paul Hopkinson announces which of Campaign’s 2021 Agency Faces to Watch will receive scholarships to a master’s degree in digital marketing.

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Campaign Middle East’s annual Agency Faces to Watch are the region’s most sought-after awards in the creative world. For young professionals, these awards are a great way to showcase their creative excellence, build their industry reputation and help them progress in their careers. They also help employers identify the brightest upcoming talent.

At the same time, Heriot-Watt University Dubai’s Master’s degree in Digital Marketing equips students with the specialist digital marketing knowledge and skills that are sought by employers. The Middle East has extremely high internet penetration rates as well as some of the highest percentages of social media users in the world. Digital advertising is on the rise, with the market ripe for expansion. Smartphone penetration in the region is again amongst the highest worldwide, which further drives interest and commitment from advertisers. Additionally, the university’s interest is in helping promote leadership in the marketing field and educating the next generation of leaders equipped with the requisite digital and soft skills needed to lead and manage the marketing discipline successfully.

Dr. Paul Hopkinson is associate head of Edinburgh Business School at Heriot-Watt University Dubai

Programmes like Heriot-Watt University Dubai’s M.Sc. in Digital Marketing seek to address the national and international skills gaps in relation to the use and application of digital, technologies in marketing, and other contexts. 

It helps students and working professionals develop the digital expertise necessary to harness the power of digital marketing. And with Campaign being the leading voice of the marketing and communications industry in the region, Heriot-Watt’s management say they saw great synergies between these awards and our programme. It was therefore a natural choice for them to partner with Campaign to run this competition for professionals in the region.

Dr Paul Hopkinson, associate head of Edinburgh Business School at Heriot-Watt Univeristy Dubai, said: “It gives me great pleasure to announce the winners for the ‘Agency Faces to Watch’ awards, hosted by Campaign and sponsored by Heriot-Watt University Dubai.

“We have four winners, one in each category (Creative, Digital, Media and PR), who will each be awarded a 30 per cent scholarship, as well as an overall winner who will be awarded a 100 per cent scholarship to Heriot-Watt’s M.Sc. in Digital Marketing.

“We had a challenging time choosing winners, inundated as we were with several high-quality submissions. After much consideration, our winners this year are as follows:”

Full 100% scholarship winner:

Rayanh Alsaif

Marketing Advisory Analyst, Digital, Accenture Interactive

Rayanh has some incredible achievements under her belt. Not only is she successful professionally, there was also a strong element of giving back to the community, as was evident from her volunteer work with the Pioneers Marketing Award (PMA). This is very much in line with our values-led strategy called Shaping Tomorrow Together, one of the themes of which is building flourishing communities and delivering benefits for all of society. Rayanh is actively contributing to the digital transformation currently underway in Saudi Arabia through her work. Her entrepreneurial journey comes with a clearly mapped path. All of this, combined with the fact that she successfully leads a team at the young age of 23, made her a clear winner. Hopkinson says he is confident the M.Sc. in Digital Marketing will give wings to her dreams.

Rayanh’s guiding principles: “My approach is naturally given by strategic thinking, where I often spend the most time absorbing and analysing. Then the creative output stems from the strategic feel that the brand hopes to embody, making creative content the vehicle to get the message across clearly.”

Rayanh’s side hustles: “I am a founding member and have been volunteering with the Pioneers Marketing Award for more than five years now. It is a GCC-level marketing award under the umbrella of the Saudi Marketing Association. It aims to elevate practices
in the region, with emphasis on local communication content such as Arabic ads and campaigns.”

“In late 2020 I co-founded an agency with my former college professor (and, since then, my mentor), Saad Alhoqail. The agency is called Wit, and it is a creative marketing agency focused on the entertainment and F&B industries.”

30% scholarships winners:

Creative category

Reine Jalloul

Digital Art Director, Hashtag Social Media Agency

Reine impressed Heriot-Watt with her clarity of thought on just how she would use the skills earned from this degree to progress in her career. Hopkinson says the university liked the fact that she recognised the potential of digital marketing very early on in her career and, whilst she has the skills, she is cognizant of the value that a degree in this area from a reputed university can add.

Reine’s side hustle:

“I’ve been illustrating since I can remember, and in my spare time I create digital illustrations and offer personalised drawings for those looking for unique gift ideas.”

Digital Category

Shivani Sunkara

Senior Social Media Executive, Create Media Group

“Having a long-term career goal and a short-term career goal is something we know we should plan, but not many of us actually do
it,” said Hopkinson. “It was clear, though, that Shivani had thought through this in detail, and had her future mapped out. She was very thorough in her research and was able to say exactly why an M.Sc. in Digital Marketing would benefit her. At the same time, we were impressed by her adaptability, having majored in Finance, but having switched to a career building social media strategies. There were similar examples of her adaptability in situations outside of work as well, making her a natural winner in this category.”

Shivani’s guiding principles:

“Do it well or don’t do it at all. Always put people first before anything else, as is the culture that’s fostered daily at Create Media Group. Be true to yourself; I’ve realised that developing self-awareness and understanding who
you are is essential before setting out to understand the world around you.”

Media Category

Mai Amr Diaa

Senior Integrated Media Planner, OMD Egypt

Mai’s ambition and appetite to explore the unknown shone through in her submission. Her passion for digital marketing was evident in the several additional certifications she had amassed over the years. Heriot-Watt also liked the
fact that she leaves no
stone unturned in her quest to deliver client service excellence. Hopkinson said: “We are confident that a degree in Digital Marketing will take her career to the next level.”

Mai’s guiding principles:

“My guiding principles that I abide with, in my career all revolve around dedication, people skills, sharing success and nourishing relationships with my clients. Working in a dynamic industry also dictates that I must constantly endeavour
to find new tools and solutions to use.”

PR category

Febin Thomas Varughese

Senior Consultant, Instinctif Commmunications

Febin is a PR professional who combines the best of traditional PR with the advantages of digital in order to be successful. Given his deep interest in how social media can drive brand awareness, and thereby traditional PR efforts, it is only natural that he believes an M.Sc. in Digital Marketing will help to increase his overall effectiveness in the business world and give him a unique advantage in his future career.

Febin on the challenges of digital marketing:

“The evaluation of digital platforms and subsequent recommendations to clients becomes a challenge, especially when clients have high expectations for their brand’s performance on social media. Consequently, it becomes a struggle to demonstrate the impact of digital solutions to current clients and new business.”

The event took place in the new campus of Heriot-Watt University Dubai, located at Dubai Knowledge Park. The attendees and three winners (two attended online from Saudi Arabia and Egypt)  were taken on a tour to see the new installations.