Graduating Senior Spotlight: Omar ShibatAlhamd

Omar ShibatAlhamd, a graduating senior in advertising from Saudi Arabia, interned with Ogilvy and Cumulus Media, launched the Iowa State Saudi Club and had active roles in Ad Club and KURE, during his time on campus. Photo by Maria Charbonneaux

Major: advertising

Minor(s): psychology and philosophy

Hometown: Medina, Saudi Arabia

What have you been involved in within Greenlee?

I’ve been involved in Ad Club for two years as a member and this past year as speaker director. So, my job was to get speakers to come to our meetings and speak.

What have you been involved in outside of Greenlee?

I was public relations director of KURE, the radio station here on campus. I’ve also been involved with the Film Producer’s Club. Last year, we filmed a movie, and I was one of the main characters. I was also involved with the Arab Students Association. My role was very minimal; I took over their social media accounts and I was the “media guy.” My first year here, I helped start the Iowa State Saudi Club. During my second year, I took over as culture and media director, and I created the logo and brand of it.

Why were you interested in starting up Iowa State Saudi Club?

I didn’t really know any of the other Saudi Arabia students my first year. That’s exactly what the mission statement was that I wrote for the club; we wanted to let others from the same country know that we’re here, and we wanted to let other people know about our country.

How do you think Greenlee has prepared you for post-grad life?

Very, very well. To a crazy extent, to something I cannot explain. It gave me the confidence to believe in myself, get out of my comfort zone and email people and get my foot in the door at all of these agencies. The summer after my first year in Greenlee, my sophomore year, I emailed Ogilvy in Saudi Arabia and said, “Can I come and visit your office? I would just love to see what it’s like on the inside.” I was only home for a month and I ended up working two weeks there.

Have you done an internship besides the one at Ogilvy?

Yeah, I completed my 499 last summer at Cumulus Media in Urbandale as one of 13 marketing and promotions interns. But we had a good boss. She really knew that we each had different interests, and so whatever we were interested in, she let us explore that. So, I was very interested in copywriting, and I got to write a lot of ads.

What are your future plans?

I know for sure that when I graduate I’m going home. In the past, I used to have plans, but I learned to, not in a bad way, go with the flow.

What are your long-term career goals?

Definitely I want to continue to write. Ultimately, the goal is to have my own agency.

Interview by Tara Larson; edited for length and clarity.