My Dubai Salary: ‘I earn up to Dh75,000 a month in supply chain consulting'

Nissrine Elqobai, co-founder and chief executive of ENY Consulting, invests in real estate and is working towards financial freedom

Nissrine Elqobai, co-founder and chief executive of ENY Consulting, was earning a monthly salary of Dh50,000 when she left the corporate world. Chris Whiteoak / The National
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Nissrine Elqobai, 47, is the co-founder and chief executive of ENY Consulting, a Dubai-based supply chain consulting company.

The French-Moroccan entrepreneur moved to the UAE in 2006 and currently rents a house in Nakheel’s Veneto Residence in Jebel Ali, Dubai. She lives with her husband and five-year-old son.

Originally from a French village called Fumay near the Belgian border, Ms Elqobai lived in Al Nahda, Sharjah, for 15 years before moving to Jebel Ali in January 2021.

She has a bachelor’s degree and a master's in international trade and supply chain, as well as a doctorate in supply chain and information systems.

Ms Elqobai says she comes from a “humble and modest family”, with her father working at a manufacturing plant and her mother a home maker.

What was your first job and salary?

I started working in December 1999 as a supply chain consultant for a company in Paris for three years. My first salary was €1,800 (Dh7,252) a month.

I then worked for another consulting company in the automotive industry supply chain in Paris for four and a half years.

I love what I do and from day one, I studied supply chain and today, I work like it is my first day at work.

There are eight of us in my family who work in the supply chain industry.

However, I am grateful to the positions I had in corporate because I learnt so much.

Why did you move to the UAE?

I never sent my resume to any company in the UAE. I was headhunted by a recruitment company for a role as a supply chain consultant for a Dubai Airport Free Zone-based US company. I worked with them for two years.

I was later recruited by a French company as a logistics manager for the GCC and then recruited by another US company to be their supply chain director for the Middle East and North Africa.

I was later headhunted by Majid Al Futtaim Carrefour as the international supply chain director for the region, where I managed 35 countries.

Then, I was headhunted by Chalhoub Group as supply chain director of beauty for the region.

Why did you decide to take up entrepreneurship?

When I finished my studies in 1999, I worked as a consultant to build experience.

I was blessed to travel to and work in more than 35 countries. I was exposed to different cultures and problematic supply chain challenges.

From day one, my goal was to build my own company. I just had to gain experience and confidence that I could do it.

In 2020, it was a "now or never" moment and I took the plunge.

Did you face any challenges in a male-dominated industry?

The only challenge was at the beginning of my career, when people did not take me seriously as I looked very young.

But otherwise, I love what I do so much that I can preside over a meeting room filled with 50 men.

Is supply chain lucrative and was it easy to negotiate salary increases?

It is a lucrative industry because it is crucial to the Middle East. We need supply chain professionals.

For the past three years, I have been going to many universities asking them to create master’s degrees in supply chain management because we lack talent.

I am an extrovert and fearless, but when it came to salary negotiations, I lacked confidence. It is still something I am working on. I could probably get paid more.

What are your tips for people who aspire to enter this industry?

Supply chain needs niche skills. It involves statistics, mathematics and planning.

I would advise aspirants to get at least a bachelor's degree or master’s degree in supply chain.

You must be good with overall strategy, details and numbers.

What is your salary now?

On average, I earn between Dh65,000 and Dh75,000 a month. But this varies.

When I left corporate, I was earning a monthly salary of Dh50,000.

We look at the salary range in the region and try to match it for our consultants.

Since our business is in the build-up phase, we want to have a sustainable turnover and financial stability before recruiting permanent employees.

Do you save and invest?

Since I moved to UAE, I managed to save and invest in real estate. I bought a one-bedroom apartment in Al Mamzar, Dubai, for Dh600,000 in 2014.

Although it has been through a few ups and downs, it is a good investment overall. I will probably wait a few years and buy something else.

Back in France, it was impossible to save. It is still very hard to save there because the more money you make, the more tax you pay.

Have you purchased property elsewhere?

I also have properties in Morocco and Indonesia.

Sometimes, I am extremely careful with my money and take zero risk. At other times, I take risk and jump in.

For instance, one day I was in Indonesia, I loved an island called Gili Air and bought a plot. I built a house and it is a holiday home now.

Before getting married and having my son, I used to backpack a lot. I would just wake up, book a ticket and leave, without any hotel bookings.

I have two properties in Morocco. One is an apartment I bought in 2008, whose rent I give to my parents.

I also bought a plot there that I want to develop into a farm.

Do you have any debt?

Yes. Since we launched our company, we are going through the different phases of a start-up.

The year 2022 was a bit tough, which meant that we had to take a loan on our credit card to sustain ourselves.

All the other assets I own are fully paid up.

Have you ever inherited a sum of money?

No inheritance.

Growing up, were you taught how to handle your finances?

Not really, my mum and dad are epicureans. They spend for today. My grandfather was the same, he never saved although he was rich.

In a way, I am like that. My motto is to enjoy the moment or carpe diem (Latin for seize the day). However, I believe in the potential of real estate.

How do you budget your salary every month?

When I had a steady corporate salary, I could save a significant amount, send money to my family, travel and did not have any debt.

Today, part of our earnings goes to credit card debt, then other expenses such as utilities, rent and school. Depending on the situation, we will allocate more here or there.

I haven’t started saving for retirement in the traditional sense, but real estate is part of the plan and also and our consulting firm once we grow it
Nissrine Elqobai, co-founder and chief executive, ENY Consulting

I currently don't manage to save and we mostly focus on getting back on track and building our business.

Have you started saving for retirement?

I was born and grew up in France. My father worked hard and paid for retirement. But when he retired, the government took half of his pension and that is the way it works for everyone in France and the rest of Europe. We never get what we save for.

That is why I do not believe in retiring. I would rather be here and know what I am paying for.

I prefer financial freedom to retirement. I want to do supply chain until my last breath.

I have not started saving for retirement in the traditional sense, but real estate is part of the plan and also our consulting firm once we grow it.

Do you earn passive income?

Not really, we are working on it. It needs to be built and that requires time.

Do you have an emergency fund?


Do you worry about money?

I try not to but, yes, it happens. If I was on my own, it would be different.

But I am a mum and both my husband and I are involved in our company. So, it is a lot of risk.

As an entrepreneur, until you stabilise your business, you are hanging on a cliff.

One thing I would have loved to learn is how to make money and be financially free. That is what I want to teach my son.

What are your financial goals?

To be able to generate enough income from what I love, which is supply chain. But what I learnt, especially during Covid, is that we should diversify our income.

Being just an employee is not wise, you must have more streams of income.

I also want to grow my company, increase my real estate investments and give back, too.

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Updated: January 29, 2024, 6:20 AM