Learning to grow

Khwaja Saifuddin, senior director of sales, Middle East and Africa at Western Digital

Khwaja Saifuddin holds a Masters in International Business Management from Lucknow University, India and has worked across both vendor and distributor organisations in various sales positions. Currently, Saifuddin is senior director of sales, Middle East and Africa at Western Digital.

“I have been a part of the IT industry for the last 14 years having worked across various sales positions at companies like Samsung and Emitac. As senior director of sales at WD I am responsible for effectively implementing our global strategies and driving growth of our products across the Middle East, Africa and the Indian Subcontinent also covering Turkey, and CIS countries,” he says.

He began his career with a sales position at Emitac Distribution, a prominent IT distributor and services provider covering the MENA region and believes this to be the most enriching experience of his career. “Not only did I learn all the dos and don’ts of the Middle East markets but my tenure at Emitac also helped me understand the true importance of relationships in the channel. Even today, I leverage my experience at Emitac to build a strong channel ecosystem based on the principles of trust and mutual benefit,” Saifuddin adds.

Saifuddin enjoys the jet setting part of his job role that gives him the opportunity to meet people from different backgrounds and familiarise himself with dynamic cultures and traditions. Most importantly, it helps him understand the vast difference between markets in terms of infrastructure, geographical accessibility and consumer demands which in turn aids him in implementing effective strategies across WD’s multiple market segments.

He says, “Education is part of my daily life, where I need to be on top of major developments taking across this rapidly evolving industry, the dynamic markets and turbulent economies. While I do this through regular interaction with channel partners and reading up on all the news and development, I am also currently pursuing the General Management Program from IIM Ahmedabad, India, to ‘keep my axe sharpened’.”

Saifuddin says that his professional drive is best described as ‘being in over drive’. “At work I am the captain of the ship- ready for any eventuality,” he adds. A calm yet ambitious person by nature, he prides himself on his punctuality and despises delaying a time commitment, “this goes for me and for anybody else I may be meeting or working with,” he says.

A devoted husband and loving father to his two kids, he adds that the biggest challenge is finding the right balance between work and family. When not at work, he enjoys spending quality time with his family. He says, “I enjoy long drives with my wife and two kids, and visiting the many indoor attractions available for children in Dubai, especially during the summer months.  We also take short breaks once in a while to get away from the monotony of everyday routine.  I particularly enjoy discussing cars with my five year old son.”

Saifuddin indulges in his passion for gadgets and lists out the WD TV Live Hub, iPad2 and iKonRC as being among his favourite tech devices.  Despite his love for technology, Saifuddin isn’t as passionate about social media. “Social media is definitely not an important part of my professional life, while it is a part of my personal life, it’s not substantial. I only use it to be able to keep in touch with long lost friends and distant family,” he says.

He wishes for a much needed vacation that takes him to a land that offers complete disconnect from the outside world. “Enjoying the serene preserves of nature with my family without the constant rush of the outside world, this is the dream on top of my wish list,” Saifuddin says.

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