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Abdur Rehman Saleemi

About me

Abdur Rehman is a Pakistani business development professional with 8 years of experience in FMCG, working with renowned brands like Unilever and P&G. Two years ago, he transitioned into the Quick Commerce industry with Talabat (Delivery Hero) and currently serves as Team Lead for the Quick Commerce Marketplace. He is focused on bridging the gap between technology and retail, providing unparalleled convenience to customers, and driving growth strategies for the future.

shapeAbdur Rehman Saleemi
case2Team Lead- Quick Commerce Marketplace
studentExecutive MBA
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“Gear up for a journey full of learning and new experiences.”

Abdur Rehman Saleemi

You’re currently a team lead at Talabat. What does this role involve? What was your professional background prior to this role?

As the Team Lead for the Quick Commerce Marketplace at Talabat in Bahrain, I spearhead the growth strategy across various verticals, including groceries, pharmacies, electronics, flower shops and cosmetics. My role involves bridging the gap between vendors and consumers, ensuring that essential items are delivered swiftly and efficiently. My passion for this industry was ignited during the COVID-19 pandemic when lockdowns made it challenging for people to access these items.

Before joining the quick commerce industry, I spent eight years in the fast-moving consumer goods industry, working with renowned brands at Unilever and P&G. My extensive experience in retail provided me with deep insights into the market, enabling me to onboard vendors effectively and optimize their operations. Alongside my team, we have built a sustainable business model that reduces operational costs for vendors and enhances convenience for shoppers, all while minimizing our carbon footprint.

In your opinion, what skills are the most necessary for success in your industry? How has the Executive MBA helped you build those skills, and what will this mean for your career?

Success in the quick commerce industry hinges on a diverse set of skills. Understanding problems and effectively solving them using various methods is crucial, and the Executive MBA has equipped me with advanced analytical tools and frameworks to approach complex issues systematically. I also feel that embracing change is essential for businesses to thrive and the program has deepened my understanding of why change is necessary and how to implement it effectively. 

The quick commerce industry is highly dependent on technology, and the Executive MBA has provided a detailed understanding of how to integrate the latest technological advancements and artificial intelligence into business operations. With the evolution of technology, managing people and talent in the digital era requires a nuanced approach, and the coursework has enhanced my ability to lead and motivate diverse teams. Effective leadership skills are essential for guiding teams through a fast-paced environment—this program has refined my abilities to inspire and drive my team to achieve common goals. 

Coming from a non-finance background, understanding numbers is fundamental and the financial modules have sharpened my ability to interpret data and make informed decisions. Clear communication and effective negotiation are also critical for our business, and the Executive MBA has honed these skills, allowing me to articulate our vision effectively and build strong stakeholder relationships. 

These enhanced skills and the strategic perspectives gained from the Executive MBA will propel my career forward, enabling me to lead transformative initiatives and drive sustainable growth in the quick commerce industry. Learning all this will transform my career, fulfilling my purpose in joining the program. 

What surprised you most about IE Business School? How do you feel your time here will impact your approach to leadership and change?

What surprised me most about IE Business School is its modern approach and innovative methodology in the program structure. The program is incredibly practical, with simulations and Business Sprints that allow us to work in groups to solve real problems for top companies. The state-of-the-art installations—equipped with top-notch technology and facilities—enhance the learning experience. 

Additionally, the program management team provides excellent support to ensure that we have a robust support system at all times. The experienced faculty, coming from various industries, brings a wealth of knowledge and diverse perspectives.

My time at IE Business School has profoundly impacted my approach to leadership and change. The practical experiences have refined my ability to lead teams through complex challenges, fostering a collaborative and solution-oriented mindset. Overall, the program has enhanced my strategic thinking and leadership skills, preparing me to lead with confidence and agility in this industry’s dynamic landscape.

Can you tell us about some of your hobbies and interests?

Absolutely! I’m a huge sports enthusiast. When it comes to football, I’m a die-hard Manchester United fan—living through the highs, lows and everything in between. Cricket also holds a special place in my heart and I passionately support Pakistan’s national cricket team, always hoping for a dramatic victory.

Traveling is another passion of mine. Whether it’s exploring new destinations with friends or family, the thrill never gets old. I have an absolute craze for planes and trains; you could say I’m a bit of a travel geek.

What advice would you give to someone just starting their Executive MBA journey?

Gear up for a journey full of learning and new experiences. You’ll meet amazing people and form new friendships that will last a lifetime. The program is robust and demanding, so be prepared to make sacrifices—and ensure your family is ready to support you, too. Dedicate time every single day to your studies. Despite the challenges, it will be one of the most enriching journeys of your life and the rewards will be well worth the effort.

What prompted you to enroll in the Executive MBA program?

I wanted to continue working while advancing my education. As a husband and father to two beautiful daughters, I needed a program that allowed me to balance work and studies, especially given my financial obligations. The Executive MBA provided the perfect opportunity to enhance my skills and knowledge without compromising my professional and personal responsibilities.

What were your first impressions of Madrid and of IE Business School, in particular, during the residential periods?

Oh, what can I say! Madrid is simply beautiful. The vibrant city, the rich culture, the friendly people and the delicious food—it’s all incredibly captivating. As for IE Business School, it’s nothing short of amazing. The location, housed in one of the tallest towers in Madrid, offers breathtaking views that I absolutely love. The facilities are top-notch and the support team is incredible. I’m thrilled to have had the opportunity to experience this dynamic city and this fantastic institution.

During your residential periods in Madrid, what were some of your most memorable moments?

The moments from my residential periods in Madrid are countless and unforgettable. Every day was packed with collaborative learning experiences that allowed me to make new friends, bonding not just with colleagues but with the program team, too. The nights were equally special, spent exploring new places in the city and having fun together. The combination of learning and leisure made these times truly memorable and the friendships formed will last a lifetime. 

What has been the greatest challenge you’ve faced during the Executive MBA? How did you overcome it?

Time management was the greatest challenge I faced. Initially, I felt overwhelmed by the sheer volume of forums, projects, assignments, presentations and reports. However, I learned to structure my days and nights effectively. It took some time to adjust to this new normal, but once I found a routine that worked, everything fell into place. So, don’t worry if it feels like too much at first—adjusting takes time, but you’ll learn to swim.

What has been the highlight of your experience in the program so far? Mention at least two standout moments.

One standout moment was a moment of truth and pride on my first day at the school—landing at IE Business School and meeting my new colleagues while the program team took us through the structure. After aspiring to pursue a top MBA for almost ten years, I felt like I had made the perfect choice. It was a dream come true.

Another highlight was the practical simulation in the Change Management course. This hands-on experience was invaluable, teaching me how to implement necessary changes effectively. It reinforced the idea that everything in life is about embracing and managing change—and this simulation provided the tools to do it right.

The global professional network is one of IE Business School’s greatest assets. How do you feel the Executive MBA is helping you grow your network?

The diversity of my colleagues is incredible—40 students from 27 different nationalities, each bringing unique perspectives from top-notch companies across various industries. This diverse group has enriched my learning experience and provided a fantastic networking source. Additionally, IE Business School offers numerous events and opportunities to grow our network further, which is an invaluable aspect of the Executive MBA program.

In your opinion, how will your time at IE Business School add value to your career?

My time at IE Business School will significantly add value to my career in several ways. The diverse and global network I’ve built with colleagues from various industries and backgrounds will provide invaluable insights and opportunities for collaboration. Additionally, the program has refined my leadership abilities, financial acumen and communication skills, all of which are crucial for driving sustainable growth and leading transformative initiatives in the quick commerce industry. This comprehensive experience will prepare me for senior and executive leadership roles where I can make responsible decisions that positively impact human lives.

What is the most important advice you would give anyone intending to pursue the Executive MBA?

Be prepared for a transformative journey. The Executive MBA is demanding and requires a significant time commitment, so it’s essential to structure your days effectively and ensure you have the support of your family. Embrace the opportunity to learn from diverse perspectives and form lasting relationships with your peers. Stay focused, be open to change and make the most of every practical experience and networking event. Ultimately, this program will be one of the most enriching experiences of your life, paving the way for personal and professional growth.