As head of Organizational Development for the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department (ADJD), Rassel Kassem relies on interdisciplinary skills, such as big-picture thinking and analysis. “Research suggests that people who work in different disciplines are more creative and successful,” he says. The seeds of his talents were sown at an early age. “I’ve always tended to think analytically and look at things from a broad perspective, ever since I was a little kid,” he adds.
While Kassem studied law as an undergraduate, he never practiced it. Instead, he decided to transition into business and management. “I’ve worked for private, semi governmental, and governmental institutions in different management roles,” he says. While working as a marketing manager at Al Noor Hospital, Kassem wanted to learn more about business culture, which eventually landed him in the M.B.A. program at NYIT’s Abu Dhabi campus. “As the first American university in Abu Dhabi, NYIT had a great reputation,” says Kassem. “Flexibility and creative support are two attributes of the American education system that I deeply believe in, so I applied.”
The program exceeded his expectations, and he used his M.B.A. training to prepare for high-level management positions. “NYIT opened doors for me,” he says. “The school supported my ambition and helped me achieve my goals.”
Kassem loves optimizing organizations from the inside out but finds that his field is underexplored and often misunderstood. “Many people do not know what exactly organizational development is all about,” he says.
At ADJD, he’s tasked with improving the department’s activities across the board. That means analyzing immense amounts of information—gathered from official reviews, benchmarking studies, audits, satisfaction surveys, and more—and using it to create a long-term plan for organizational change. “I support the decision-makers in ADJD in making timely and efficient decisions,” he explains.
Kassem published his cumulative insights in Management Tools and Business Improvement Methodologies, a book which helps executives and business students navigate many different areas of management—from strategic planning and change management to decision-making and coaching—and understand when, how, and why to use different management tools.
At a recent appearance at the NYIT Alumni Speaker series in Abu Dhabi, he hoped to dispel some of the misunderstandings about his field and inspire a few students to follow his career path. “Organizational development has extraordinary global potential,” he says. “It isn’t just about HR. It’s about adapting management models and frameworks to fit both local context and national culture.”