In this conversation, we discussed how his background in electrical inspection led to his career as a management system auditor, why the Middle East offers fertile ground for those seeking auditing careers, and the everlasting importance of mentors and mentorship.
EXEMPLAR GLOBAL: Please tell me a little bit about how you started your career and how you found your way to auditing.
MUIDH AL ABBAS: I am 24 years of age, so I’m really at the beginning of my career. I work as an electrical inspector for Saudi Aramco, which is one of the biggest oil and gas companies in the world. In fact, we recently celebrated our company’s 90th year in business.
As an electrical inspector, the nature of my job is to conduct frequent assessments of the internal systems for our department. It has been my job to be an auditor—an internal auditor. With this experience, I was encouraged to obtain my lead auditor certification for the ISO 9001:2015 quality management system standard.
I also have experience in occupational safety and health auditing.
EG: Would you say that being certified by Exemplar Global has helped you in your career?
MA: Yes, it has given me a lot of opportunities for improvement and has made my work much easier. This certification has helped to give me another point of view into how I conduct my auditing work. I now have more strategies to conduct my auditing. It has been a very good experience.
EG: Has your training been mostly of the internal kind with Saudi Aramco, or have you pursued external training opportunities as well?
MA: Until now, it has been mostly internally. I have been advised by many of my colleagues with more experience, however, that it would be a benefit to me to regularly take external training courses as well. One of my big goals is to be a third-party auditor someday, so I do believe that ongoing training will be very important.
EG: What would you say have been the benefits of Exemplar Global certification for those within Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Middle East region?
MA: Of course, Saudi Arabia and many parts of the Middle East are rich with oil and gas companies, so if that sector is where you specialize, you will have many opportunities to expand your knowledge and work experience. Those with lead auditor certification in relevant standards like ISO 9001, ISO 14001, or ISO 45001 have a very big advantage here, particularly in the energy sector but in other manufacturing and service industries as well. Exemplar Global is well recognized and well respected here.
EG: What advice would you give to someone who might want to get involved in the auditing profession? What would you say are the benefits of working in this field and with Exemplar Global, especially for a young person like yourself?
MA: Actually, the fact that I am a young auditor takes some people somewhat by surprise. They sometimes say things like, “How is it that you have come to audit me? I have been in this industry for 20 years!” I would recommend auditing to younger professionals because my experience has been very positive. It has given me very good exposure. I’ve learned a lot about the people around me and the other kinds of management systems that exist. Being an auditor and seeing so many ways of doing things has helped me in my own work, because I’ve been able to adopt some good practices from some of the systems I’ve seen. Of course, this is only with the agreement of those who were running those systems.
EG: Have there been mentors who have helped you in your career? Perhaps someone who said to you once, “You are good at this kind of work; you should pursue auditing as a career.”
MA: Yes. One of the more experienced people in my company advised me to go into auditing and suggested that I pursue certification with Exemplar Global. It has become a very valuable part of my career development. It started with my own interest and then was strongly encouraged due to the enthusiasm of others.