To say Muhannad Alsharekh has had some extraordinary life experiences would be an understatement. He’s traveled the world representing his home country of Saudi Arabia for the Youth 20 Summit 2019 and pitched an idea for an underwater tunnel connecting Saudi Arabia and Egypt all while being a full-time traditional Master in Professional Accounting student. Let’s learn more about Muhannad, the Y20 Summit, and his time in the MPA program.
Traditional MPA student Muhannad Alsharekh representing Saudi Arabia at the Y20 Summit in Japan.
Muhannad grew up in Saudi Arabia and studied at King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals. He originally majored in finance since his father is in banking, but when he got his first taste of accounting, he switched degrees and declared accounting as his major. To explore the world a bit more, he decided to study abroad in Denton, TX (a suburb of Dallas) and knew there was something special about this state. So after his internship with PwC in 2015, he started looking at graduate accounting schools, and the Texas McCombs Master in Professional Accounting program made his short list.
After doing more research into the MPA program, he noted that the program’s #1 ranking, notoriety of the professors, and length of the program all were key factors in his decision to apply to the program. Muhannad then met with Keri Ledezma, Director of Admissions for the MPA program, in 2016 which sealed the deal. He was accepted into the program in 2017 but deferred his start-date until the fall of 2018.
When asked what he loves most about UT and Austin, without hesitation he said, “The food and the people!” Muhannad has enjoyed exploring a new city (and new restaurants), as well as making lifelong connections with his professors, staff, and students. Plus he was a part of the MPA indoor soccer team this spring that made it all the way to the championship game.
Muhannad decided to apply to represent his home country of Saudi Arabia at the Y20 Summit, an annual international conference of youth leaders who come together as a joint declaration on policy recommendations. These young professionals discuss international issues and propose a common solution to the G20 leaders at the international forum regarding policy and international financial stability.
Muhannad, far right, with the Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports, Science and Technology at the Y20 Summit.
A few weeks after applying, he was granted an interview. After a total of three rounds of interviews, Muhannad was selected as one of two Saudi delegates to represent Saudi youth at the Y20 Summit 2019 in Japan. 70% of people are 30 years or younger in Saudi Arabia, and Muhannad was honored to represent them. “It was very important to me to help make an impact on our future,” he said.
At the Y20 Summit, the youth delegates went through lengthy negotiations to reach a consensus on the most effective and direct policy recommendations. The Y20 leaders concluded with addressing three main policy recommendations: International Trade, Future of Work, and Business and Environment, and they had the honor to deliver their proposals to the Japanese Prime Minister. But their work didn’t stop there… Currently, these young leaders are undergoing an awareness campaign about the importance of their recommendations and how it relates to youth around the world.
The Y20 Summit delegates presenting their recommendations to Japan’s Prime Minister.
Since the Y20 Summit was held during the same weekend as graduation, Muhannad did not have the opportunity to walk in the MPA Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, May 25. He did, however, accept a job offer before graduation at SABIC, a Saudi diversified manufacturing company, in their corporate finance department. He will have the task of monitoring business processes of the organization as a whole while increasing efficiencies and effectiveness. Muhannad will be starting with SABIC at the end of this month.
As for his future goals, he says he would love to be a leader of a large company one day as a CEO or CFO, but he added, “As long as I enjoy where I am and who I work with, it doesn’t matter what I’m doing.”
Earlier this year, Muhannad was also a part of the winning team at the Dream NEOM Competition hosted by NEOM (Saudi Arabia’s new ambitious city) and the MiSK Foundation (a non-profit Saudi organization). The aim of the competition was to gather the sharpest young minds to develop ideas for the NEOM city. His team received first place in the competition based on their idea to develop an underwater submerged floating tunnel connecting NEOM with Egypt. Along with his team members, Marah Alarabi and Suzanne Alomran, they leveraged their networks to consult with architects and engineers to test their proposal and ensure the project was covered from a technical, financial, and environmental aspect.
Muhannad with his teammates Marah Alarabi and Suzanne Alomran presenting their underwater floating tunnel at the Dream NEOM Competition in April 2019.