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Growing Careers at KPU’s Melville School of Business


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Credit: Marwan Abdul Rahman, Global Business Management Diploma Graduate from KPU Melville | KPU Melville School of Business

A graduate diploma in Global Business Management helped Marwan Abdul Rahman elevate his career with essential management, global trade and interpersonal skills.

For more than 40 years, students have been coming to Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) to kick start careers and reach long-term, higher career goals. In 2020, Marwan Abdul Rahman was looking to leverage his background in engineering toward a new career in business and global trade. But first, there were essential skills in business and management he needed to learn.

Abdul Rahman started his career at Power Solutions in Muscat, Oman, as a Technical Sales Engineer before being promoted to Assistant Sales Manager. But all the while, he was dreaming bigger.

“I was doing well in the technical aspects of my role, but I felt I could improve my skills in business and management,” Abdul Rahman says. “After months of research, I found the Global Business Management Graduate Diploma at KPU‘s Melville School of Business.”

The program’s appeal was a healthy mix of business and managerial courses, and a focus on international trade and marketing. Because selling products from international brands was something he did every day, Abdul Rahman felt the program was the perfect match.

“The cherry on the top is that the program offers the ability to transition into an MBA or MAM later on,” he says. “This will be the next step in my education.” 

kpu-melville-3KPU Melville School of Business Students | KPU Melville School of BusinessThe Global Business Management graduate diploma is part of KPU’s Melville School of Business, known internationally for its small class sizes, hands-on learning opportunities and the industry experts delivering each program.

“The Melville School of Business takes pride in the opportunities we provide our students to experience all aspects of the workplace,” says Heather Harrison, Dean Pro Tem for the Melville School of Business. “One way we do this is through the faculty’s applied, student-centered approach.”

KPU Melville offers 22 programs in total, four of which are post-baccalaureate diplomas in Accounting, Human Resources Management, Operations and Supply Chain Management, and Technical Management and Services. Two of the programs are graduate diplomas—Global Business Management and Green Business Management and Sustainability—and all programs run online or out of the Civic Plaza campus in Surrey.

Abdul Rahman completed the first two terms at KPU Melville online, thanks to the pandemic; however, the university simplified the online learning process with ample digital resources and a plethora of people available to assist students.

“My favorite part was working with many brilliant students from different parts of the world, who brought all kinds of educational and professional backgrounds to learning together,” Abdul Rahman says.  

His cohort developed real-world, timely projects and completed applicable case studies while honing their communication and presentation skills.  

“My favorite project was on how to reduce the emissions in the marine industry,” Abdul Rahman says. “We did a ton of research and worked with a company to set a plan for the future of the industry based on the needs and technological advancements.”

kpu-melville-5Melville School of Business Student Success Coach Session | KPU Melville School of BusinessInstructors at Melville School of Business aim to arm students with the skills and knowledge an ever-changing business world demands. In the Global Business Management program, faculty focused on creating a positive and challenging environment where students learned through discussion and made new connections.

“Career success coaches offered advice on planning courses, job opportunities, networking and volunteering opportunities,” Abdul Rahman says. “These were essential to my journey, and I feel it is something every student should take advantage of.”

The school also offers a variety of supports for students, one being the Melville Business Strategy Internship programwhich is a paid internship where students can use their education in the field. In addition, each semester KPU Melville hosts the Industry Insider Series, where Abdul Rahman met his current employer, Finning Canada. The Industry Insider Series are informative networking opportunities where students can meet, listen to, and converse with local employers. Participants learn about a specific industry or what an employer is looking for when hiring so they can make informed career decisions and prepare effectively for future professional growth.

“We take great care to match our students with employers in paid internships,” Harrison says. “It is an essential part of our programming to develop ways our students can network with and be mentored by industry experts.”

kpu-melville-2KPU Melville School of BusinessAt Finning Canada, Abdul Rahman is an Aftermarket Support Specialist for the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island. He provides technical support and guidance—including product support, parts and service—to internal teams on two product lines for Caterpillar equipment, primarily excavators and track type tractors.

“I help the teams select the suitable parts for their customers’ applications through analysis of site conditions, machine type, expected work rate and other factors,” Abdul Rahman says. “I frequently visit different customers to understand their operations, know their pain points, obtain machine operation feedback, advise on new solutions and give tips to increase efficiency and reduce costs.”

He also performs inspections to understand machines’ wear rate and abnormalities and combines this data with the Caterpillar database to help customers predict future costs and plan their downtime. “I then work with the internal teams in Finning and Caterpillar to better plan parts inventory and service schedules,” Abdul Rahman says. 

His work has a significant impact on Finning’s customer base and the projects they complete. He gained expertise from his background in engineering and the graduate diploma in Global Business Management, but the program brought more than academic learning.

kpu-melville-4KPU Melville School of Business Students | KPU Melville School of BusinessAbdul Rahman’s studies at KPU Melville allowed him to work more effectively with his colleagues because he gained an in-depth understanding of the Canadian market and the various cultures of people who live here. As his presentation and interpersonal skills went through a significant improvement, he learned to communicate better with Finning Canada customers.

“The knowledge I gained about business while at KPU Melville opened my eyes to new ways of improving efficiency and a better understanding of what value I can offer to customers,” Abdul Rahman says. “It helped me understand what is actually important to them.”

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