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Josef Al-Sibaie

Josef Al-Sibaie

I come from a medical family

My dad is an interventional radiologist, and my mom is a nurse. As a child, I sometimes used to accompany my father to the operating theatre, which was my first exposure to the world of work. I was drawn to the fields of biology and medicine and was sure that I wanted to follow my parents into the medical world and become a doctor. Growing up in Dubai, it was typical to study abroad, and this helped broaden my horizons. I studied biomedical engineering at Boston University with the intention of moving into medical school, but when I counted the years it would have taken for me to take responsibility for my first patient, I decided to change course and opted for consulting with BCG after college. Consulting enabled me to remain a generalist and gave me great insights into a multitude of different industries and functions. It also offered a lot of interpersonal interaction and highly dynamic project-based work that enabled me to jump from one interesting topic to the next.

Launching a start-up taught me the value working with the right people

After two years working with med-tech and private equity clients at Boston Consulting Group in Munich, I decided to launch my own tele-dentistry business with one of the BCG partners. We took our inspiration from the US-based organization SmileDirectClub, which was enjoying a wave of success at the time. We figured that we could replicate the success of their model in Germany. This venture taught me completely new skills: driving and executing a vision, communicating effectively, and recruiting good people. What you very quickly realise is that your start-up is only as good as the people you have in it. It gave me much greater insight into the toughest thing to diligence, which is humans. After a very steep learning curve, the business eventually fell victim to Covid, which allowed me to take up my place at Harvard for my MBA.

From the moment I started at Advent, I was engaged in impactful work

From the moment I started working at Advent, I was engaged in impactful work. That intensity has fuelled my learning. The level of collaboration and exchange between the sector teams, both on a professional and a personal level, has been a positive surprise. I think it’s even more intense in Technology because it cuts across all sectors. We’ve collaborated a lot with the Healthcare and Business & Financial Services teams, which allows us to tap into the full resources of the firm and connect with people with different backgrounds and functions. Within the teams, seniority is not a barrier, which creates a very warm and open environment. Everyone’s perspectives are considered when making investment decisions, which is a very positive aspect here.

Martial arts taught me values that I cherish, both in myself and in others

I’ve done martial arts ever since I can remember. I started with judo, then trained at karate with the former self-defense instructor of the LAPD. I then moved on to Muay Thai and Jiu Jitsu. It’s the perfect balance of rigorous academic and physical work, and it helps me quickly redirect my focus to a different place. You must remain 100% focused on the present moment when you’re grappling or sparring with someone. It’s taught me values that I cherish very highly in myself and others – things like discipline, mutual respect and self-confidence. In an intense career, I find it very important to have such an outlet that allows me to unwind and be present in the moment.