Elie, Paul, and Jacques el-Khoury are three successful #NDUers who would never have guessed that they all would have ended up at the top of their respective fields. In fact, one became a leader of a team of developers spread across Germany and Spain mainly delivering on requirements from our European customers, one a Head of Product Security for SAP Labs China and the third Strategic Sales Executive for Bentley Systems in Dubai.
Elie graduated from Notre Dame University-Louaize (NDU) in Computer and Communication Engineering in 2004. He earned an M.A. in Software Engineering from Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1 (France).
Paul graduated from NDU in Computer Science in 2004. He earned a Ph.D. from Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1 (France) and is a Certified Information Systems Security Professional.
Jacques graduated from NDU in Computer & Communication Engineering in 2007. He earned a Ph.D. from Ecole Supérieure d'Electricité Supelec & INSA de Rennes (France).
NDU believes that what Elie, Paul, and Jacques have accomplished to date is worth shedding light on. As such, this interview was conducted to learn more about their experiences since graduating.
Tell us a bit about yourselves
: I am leading a team of developers spread across Germany and Spain mainly delivering on requirements from T-Systems European customers. My responsibilities involve planning, designing the solution’s architecture as well as its security infrastructure. My passion for development drives me to dedicate the extra amount of my time in assisting my team in software development tasks, which provides me additional fine-granular insights on the technical challenges that would be my input for refining our product strategic decisions.
: I am the Head of Product Security for SAP Labs China, defining product security strategy and driving its execution with a network of SAP’s security experts located across the different lab's locations (Shanghai, Beijing, XiAn, Chengdu, Nanjing and Shenzhen). I provide executive support for SAP’s Chief Security Officer, SAP’s Head of Global SAP Labs Network and SAP’s Head of Fast Growth Market Strategy Group on all security topics related to SAP businesses in China, and I am a member of various governmental bodies as a SAP representative.
: I am a currently leading the Strategic Sales Execution for Bentley Systems in the MEA, North Africa and Turkey regions, advising on all Desktop Infrastructure software and products (road, rail, buildings, oil and gas, structures, electricity), making sure that our strategic users are aware of all the new technology and BIM solutions we have and helping them implement these solutions on a technical, management and strategical level. With the coordination of Bentley SVPs in the USA, my objective is to guide users to create the highest value from these products by saving time, cutting costs, optimizing their workflow, and becoming more productive.
Can you walk us through your journey after all these years?
: I started with Research and Development-oriented roles at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands and SAP in Sophia Antipolis where I was a key contributor to the work on the quality assurance for Web Service composition in European Projects SeCSE and WASP. Afterward, I channeled my learnings more customers focused where I became the product owner and chief architect, at 3Cap technologies GmbH, to lead a team of developers on building a customizable and off the shelf deployable CRM web application targeting consulting agencies, developed using J2EE, and based on the Spring Framework. For the past four years, I am at T-Systems a Deutsche Telekom company continuing this work with customers from all over the European Union.
: Earlier, I took different leading roles as part of SAP’s Global Security team providing the Information security requirements and controls for SAP products under development; as well as supporting customer CERT’s departments and coordinating external security researchers’ response activities. Most of my activities had an impact on global SAP customers and the thousands of developers working for SAP worldwide. Highlight achievements with Global impact on SAP are: creating SAP Threat Modeling methodology and introducing it globally, co-authoring the SAP’s secure storage on device solution and governing the SAP security patch day from an internal pilot until it was rolled out to customers.
: After my Ph.D. I moved to ALTRAN Engineering Consultants company in France and worked on different projects. The two highlights are ALTRAN Engineering divers’ innovative technological projects and ALSTOM Transport as a System and Solution Architect for Driverless New Metro generation in Dubai, Qatar, Sao Paulo, and Paris. Afterward, I moved to METROLAB, a Joint Venture of ALSTOM and ALTRAN, and served as a Project Manager and Product Development where several innovative and classified driverless products capable of improving safety, reducing maintenance costs and increasing the performance of driverless trains have been developed and filed as patents (>7 patents). Prior to my current job, I moved to HUAWEI to become a Global Account Manager in charge of promoting and selling Information Technological Products to Driverless Trains users (>€4M/year).
What role did NDU play?
: The first NDU merit is its American educational system, which is continuously updated, flexible in terms of adapting courses to the market needs and conditions. This merit allowed the three of us to have a jump-start over several other students, which could be perceived as our competition back in the days.
: Looking back to our University days, we believe that the biggest learning experience came from the identity of the University and its instructors in addition to the materials taught from the books. It is more how the University included all the students, from different cultures and religions and gave a fair and equal chance as long as the students wanted to learn and wanted to reach. NDU helped to create in us the will and determination to become successful. The educational system in place helps students concentrate more on their studies, potentials, and values, rather than competing without reflection on the power of teams and the energy that brings to our skills. More concretely, to mention a couple of examples that would be the intensive laboratory courses and different projects, such as the final project.
: The instructors at NDU were there to help whether during the course or after the course. They were present to help us grow and they were happy when they saw us growing. We were three brothers; therefore, joining NDU was clearly a big financial impact on our parents. The family program that granted us discounted tuition fees and the over achievements discount allowed us to get the best education. NDU helped us in crossing from student world to the adult world in an informal yet stepwise process. That is still helping us until today, every time we meet colleagues from different ages, religions, levels, experiences, and instructors with International working experience that create high value from their teaching.
Alumni like you can help shape the future of NDU as it grows in the coming years, leaving your mark and inspiring our current students.