Ahmed Rayees: a good human being first, then a passionate educationist and a principled businessman
Mr. Ahmed Rayees was in UAE on a business visit. That is when Jaihoon caught him live and personal for a one-on-one interview. Rayees is the son of E. Ahmed, the Indian Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, and an undoubtedly charismatic leader from the State of Kerala.
Rayees is the General Manager of Al Dastoor LLC, a division of Galfar Group of companies based in the Sultanate of Oman. Rayees has been with Galfar Group for over a decade. He is an entrepreneur and a true administrator. He was actively involved in setting up of many ventures each of which have grown to be large companies now. He is also the President of one of the Schools in Oman.
Jaihoon.com was eager to delve into the life of this personality of diverse taste and talent. Here’s what he had to say about his success, his way of thinking, the role of his father in his life, his personal interests?.
You can be called as an educationalist, an administrator, an entrepreneur and a businessman unanimously?. But how would you liked to be described as?
First of all I would like to be known as a good human being. Being an Educationalist or a Businessman has its own pleasures. Being involved in an educational institution from the very beginning has given me a lot of satisfaction. The moment I step into the School, I am a different person. There is a passion, which drives me. But when I am in Business, I look at things very differently. I think, I would like to be known as a good human being before anything else.
How long have you been in Oman?
Well, I first landed there in 1987 just after my college. Then I went to London for my post graduation in Business Administration. I came back to Oman in the end of 1990. From then onwards I am in Oman.
Residing in Oman for so long, how do you observe the business climate there?
Oman is a pragmatic country in all aspects. The business climate is very conducive. Oman is not as aggressive as Dubai, yet it?s a very systematic and stable country in the business front. There is a steady growth and it is helping the business and economy to grow.
Could you please share with our readers your educational background? And also the various designations you have enjoyed?
I did my schooling in St Michaels, Kannur. I completed Pre-degree in Mar Ivanious College, Trivandrum, followed by Bachelors in Commerce at Madras, New College. After that I went to Oman and joined Galfar in Muscat. I worked there for a little, short of a year. Then I went to London for my post graduation and did my Masters in Business Administration. After completion, I went back to Oman and joined back in Galfar group. My first assignment, after completion of Post graduation was Officer, Special Projects, working in the office of the Managing Director. Initially, I was involved in the setting up of some companies, which have grown to be large companies today. One was a Drilling company; another one was a Fabrication company. I was also involved from conceptual stage in setting up of a school. This is where my passion for education started. I was asked to take over the operations of Al Dastoor in 1993 as an Acting Manager for a short period. We had a very sharp turnaround in the company and I was asked to continue the operations as the General Manager. I was one of the youngest General Managers in the group. I was also made the convener of School Management committee. Later I became the President of the school Management committee. I am also member of the board of directors of Indian schools in Oman.
So it was then that you realized that you had a passion for education
Yeah, actually when I got involved with the school, I realized my passion. Education always gives a lot of pleasure to anyone involved very deeply. End of the day when you see children passing out, achieving status and stature, there is a feeling of satisfaction. The emotions we encounter are very transparent at times like, when we give away the hall tickets for the final board examinations.
Another personal question. Being the son of a true charismatic leader of the current India, how has his presence been inspirational?
You have asked me a very difficult question. (a little pause) He has been an inspiration to all of us. He is a very principled person. We respect him more than a father, because of his intention and ability to help an innumerable number of people. We thank Allah for all that we have and we know that whatever we have received in this life has been because of his generosity. One of his objectives is to help at least 3 people a day, maybe with money, get them off difficult situation or solve their problem. This subject is a very emotional one for us. I don?t know how to explain. It?s just too difficult to put into words.
Like you just said he is a blend of qualities. You believe you have acquired any of those qualities, of course apart from your charming face!
(Smiles and shrugging away) His charisma, his articulation, I don?t think any of us has got it. But there are values in life, which he has taught us. We believe in fairness. We get a lot of pleasure from helping people. We have all tried to help others, to the best of our ability but we haven?t reached anywhere close to what he has done to help others. (Smiling again)
How would you sum up the Formula of Success, Professionally and Personally?
I believe, whatever we do, if we do it ethically and in a principled manner, we will be successful. People who opt for other ways might be successful initially but they will have a failure some time later in this life or hereafter. In the business front, I always tell my colleagues, that the most important thing is building an organization. Money is not an end product; it is only a by-product. When it comes to business, I always admire and look at a very important and dynamic personality in the Middle East, Mr. Mohammed Ali. He is the Managing Director of Galfar Group of companies. I always take a decision in business front using his principles and core beliefs. He is a true humanitarian who gives high regards to human values. I initially went to work with him for 2 years, and 18 years later I am still with him.
You are stressing on the human aspect of personality which is more important for success rather than any other parameters. Where would you rank ?humility? on the ladder of success?
Humility?. I believe humility has to be more inborn than acquired. When we look at people, for instance Mr. Mohammed Ali and his family, whom I have been very closely associated. These people, with so much of achievements in their life, have always been so humble towards their fellow being or anyone for that matter. They treat you or the person on the street or anyone; with equal respect, which is what makes a person a true human being.
And you believe it is important for success?
It has to be. Without humility one’s success is not real success.
In my background study I fond that Al Dastoor, is known for their strong and dedicated workforce. As the General Manager of Al Dastoor, how have you been able to achieve this? And how do you face the challenge of motivating the employees?
See, I have been managing Al Dastoor since 1993. Thank God! I have the best of employees anyone can ask for. Most of the employees are with the company for over 10 years. They are all self?motivated and very hardworking. I believe money is only one way of motivation. I believe in ?positive pressure?. As for any company the persons who work for it are the most valuable asset. We should give trust, authority along with the responsibility. And then they will deliver the results required. We have also come up with unique concepts in the form of trainings and workshops, which have proved to be very effective for our company.
Coming back to your personal side, what are your interests? Any of them, you are still fond of doing?
Traveling is something all of us love in our family. Be it my father or brother and my wife or my children, all of us love to travel and see new places. My father is so used to travel; he virtually lives out of his suitcase. He cant stay too long in any place or else he would become restless. We keep traveling whenever we get time. Reading is another habit, which again is what the whole family enjoys. My children and I love to watch football.
How do you maintain the balance between professional and personal demands?
Well, there is no real time management required in balancing professional and personal demands. Weekends are simply for my family. We try to travel together and spend quality time.
Your valuable advice for the aspiring readers who wants to be successful?
Anything you do, if you are principled, I?m sure you will be successful. You got to have the ?right attitude?, because attitude can beat skills. We have to work hard to have a bad attitude, so why not have a right and positive attitude and make yourself a success. We do have the freedom to choose our own attitudes
I believe that you can be a real success, only if you make all around you a success. Success is, when everyone wins.