Get to Know MS in Entrepreneurship Student: Aziz Alhassan

The MS in Entrepreneurship program is made up of a diverse group of students who come from various backgrounds and experiences. We love to highlight students from the current cohort, so read on to hear more about Aziz’s journey to the program.

Please tell us your name.

Abdulaziz ‘Aziz’ Alhassan.

Where are you from?

I was born and raised in Riyadh, the capital city of Saudi Arabia. However, my original roots trace back to a town called Uthaithiah, which holds a special place in my heart. Uthaithiah, located 180 kilometers northwest of Riyadh, is a very small town with a population of fewer than 1,000 people–we go there almost every Holiday.

What did you do before entering this program?

In 2020, I earned my bachelor’s degree in Emergency Medical Services from King Saud University. Before graduating, I began working at AMC Theaters in 2018, which was the first movie theater to open in Saudi Arabia after a 35-year ban on cinemas. The entrepreneur in me couldn’t resist exploring this new opportunity with all the challenges it held, so I joined AMC. It was very challenging on both personal and company levels, but I was able to do a great job in this demanding environment, receiving several promotions and awards. The excellent management team helped me unlock my full potential. After honing my skills, I decided to start my own company and build a dream team in the real estate field. I resigned from AMC in mid-2021, completed a remote internship with a real estate startup in London, and obtained my real estate license in early 2022.

When did you know you wanted to be an entrepreneur? Did you have any entrepreneurship experience before entering this program?

The rewarding experience of working with teams, facing challenges, and solving problems made me realize I wanted to be an entrepreneur. During my time at AMC, I had an intrapreneurship experience as part of the founding team for MacGuffins. We adapted the brand from AMC in the U.S. and tailored the product offerings to meet local customer demand in Saudi Arabia. Additionally, during my real estate journey, I was struck by the chaos in the Saudi market. I recognized a significant problem and a major challenge, which solidified my decision to become an entrepreneur. My goal is to transform the home-buying process into a stress-free journey for homebuyers in Saudi Arabia.

Tell us why you are excited to be a part of the current cohort for the MS ENTRE degree program?

Being part of the MS in Entrepreneurship program has significantly expanded my knowledge of entrepreneurship and business. Coming from a medical background, I initially had limited business knowledge, but my ambition to open a business and solve challenging problems required a solid foundation. The Foster School of Business is the perfect place to equip me with the skills and knowledge I need. The structure of the program encourages networking, not just with customers, but with a range of individuals, including students, founders, investors, and experts from various fields. This has been useful for my growth and development as an entrepreneur.

What advantages do you see to opening a business now?

With the astonishing developments in the tech industry, I believe opening a business now offers a lot of advantages. Access to data and the ability to find the right customers have become much easier, more accessible, and more accurate. However, these advantages also bring new challenges, such as staying ahead of rapid technological changes and keeping up with the highly competitive landscape. Despite these challenges, the current environment provides a solid foundation for launching and growing a successful business.

Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?

In the next five years, as we approach Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, I see myself playing a significant role in contributing to the vision’s goals, particularly the pillar of a Thriving Economy. By then, I aim to have helped create an environment that supports economic growth and job creation for all Saudis. Leveraging our unique location and potential, I plan to attract top talent and increase global investment in the region. I envision myself actively involved in initiatives that prioritize the skills and empowerment of our young people, fostering a culture that values determination and provides rewarding growth opportunities. I hope to contribute to the Kingdom’s ambition to become a leading global economy by creating diverse job opportunities and attracting the best global talent.

What do you like to do for fun?

My most recent hobby is archery, which I tried for the first time three years ago and immediately fell in love with. I also enjoy cars, hiking, camping, and swimming.

What advice would you give to someone who’s thinking about applying to the MS ENTRE degree program?

If you are considering applying to the MS in Entrepreneurship program, my advice is to seize the opportunity. This program allows you to network with driven and ambitious peers while gaining unparalleled access to Seattle’s renowned entrepreneurial ecosystem. You’ll develop critical skills and establish valuable connections that will significantly enhance your entrepreneurial endeavors.

Learn About MS in Entrepreneurship

This post is part of a series where we ask current students to answer questions about their experience at Foster. Explore the 11 questions tag for more interviews.

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