Account Manager at Impact BBDO Dubai
Malaika’s journey in advertising started with a few internships in India but really materialized when she moved from Bombay to Dubai, bringing with her an abundance of energy and ambition that she constantly strives to inject into her work.
She joined Impact BBDO as an intern in 2019 and was promoted to Account Manager 3.5 years later, working on a diverse portfolio of brands ranging from FMCG to tech. Malaika has been able to contribute to brands’ expansion in the Middle East by launching innovative products and effective campaigns – experiences that have given her a unique perspective on regional and global organizations. One of her proudest achievements is earning a Guinness World Record for Google’s “Largest Virtual Iftar.”
On the side, Malaika indulges in art, movies, music, and food, and often gets a few too many tattoos.
Why did you choose this career path?
I started working at 13, with my first internship at an art gallery. Reaching advertising was a rollercoaster as I explored eight industries, from fashion design to nanobiology. It wasn’t until I started dabbling in advertising that I realized that I had a passion to “create” and from thereon, there wasn’t anything else I wanted to do. Also, getting paid for being creative isn’t too bad either.
How did you land this job?
I attended the Dubai Lynx in 2019 during my last year of university and networked a lot. I spammed everyone in the industry with the email subject “Your next best hire.” After interning for six months, I got hired full time and the rollercoaster has only been going up since. Four promotions later, I am now an account manager.
How do you compare your work life vs what you imagined it would be?
Better than I imagined. Juniors don’t often get exposure to big businesses, and I got into this industry feeling [that] way. However, I have been fortunate enough to work on multiple brands, across industries, which only fuelled my growth.
My managers have been extremely kind in providing me with the right opportunities and exposing me to different facets of the business. I’d say I have had an accelerated roadmap to growth, and I am enjoying every bit of it.
What do you wish you had been told before you started working?
That it’s ok to be demanding and it’s okay to always want more. Age shouldn’t limit me [and] my ambitions, and the focus should be on rewarding people [for] their quality of work. Taking initiative and expressing my goals and interests led to opportunities I never thought were possible.
What is the best thing someone could tell you about your work?
That my contribution mattered and that I was pivotal to the success of the work. Account management can easily get overshadowed by the working cogs of strategy and creativity; but if anything, I believe we are the engine that runs the brand machine.
What is the worst thing someone could tell you about your work?
That it lacks creativity or originality. For me, excellence comes from trial and individualism. If I haven’t given it my all, then it’s not something I would settle for – let alone pivot others to.
What’s the most valuable lesson you have learned at work so far?
To be adaptable and always stay curious. The industry is constantly evolving; being open-minded and willing to learn new things is crucial for success and growth. Knowledge and creativity can come from anywhere, as long as you’re willing to look.
Who’s your role model?
I wouldn’t necessarily say that I have a role model. I have a lot of people that I look up to and [who] inspire me every day as I strongly believe that there is something to learn from everyone. My COO, Samantha Stuart- Palmer, is someone who does that. As a woman in advertising, she has not only built her name but is a force to be reckoned with. Her panache and striving for excellence are constantly inspiring.
If not this, what would you be doing?
I believe I have dabbled a lot to land where I am. Determination doesn’t come easy and for me to be this passionate about my choices means I truly believe in my journey here. As cheesy as it sounds, advertising is my calling, and I can’t wait to share that with the world.
What do you see yourself doing in 10 years?
I see myself leading a creative agency that is known for making a difference but also [for] doing things differently. The people, the culture, the work… they all work towards the same goal: “Make people uncomfortable enough to do something.”