May Shabaka

May Shabaka was born and raised in Cairo, the capital of Egypt, which she calls “the city that never sleeps.” She did live for a short time in Saudi Arabia when she was very young, but has spent the majority of her life in Cairo. She attended The American University in Cairo, where in 2005 she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree, majoring in Marketing. After graduation, she went right to work at Abercrombie & Kent, one of the world’s leading luxury travel companies. There she brushed shoulders with such celebrities as Jude Law and Vanessa Williams. She worked at Abercrombie & Kent for two and a half years before taking a position at McAfee, the antivirus software company. 

At McAfee, May was responsible for infiltrating new markets for the company, including the Middle East. By the time she left McAfee after four years there, she had climbed the ladder and become Head Marketing Manager. She liked the business to business experience she got at McAfee, but she says that working at Abercrombie & Kent was a ton of fun. She had always intended to attend graduate school eventually, and after four years at McAfee, she felt like she had reached the point where she could grow no further. When McAfee offered the opportunity to move to their Duabi office, May felt like it was the ideal time to leave the company and pursue graduate school. She knew it was time to take the next step in her life. She began researching schools, and it was not an easy process. She focused on U.S. and Canadian schools, but, she says with a laugh, Canada looked a lot colder than the United States. She liked the reputation of many U.S. schools, so she went on Wikipedia and found a list of public schools, and narrowed her choices down to GVSU, Michigan State University, and Western Michigan University. She applied to all three, got into all three, but landed an assistantship at GVSU. Being offered the GA, along with GVSU’s low tuition rates, convinced May to choose GVSU over MSU and WMU. She is now the Graduate Research Assistant for GVSU’s MBA program. It is a unique assistantship in that each semester May works with a different professor, helping them with their research. May’s GA allows her to work with a variety of professors and different types of research on Management, Marketing, and Economics. She plans to pursue a Ph.D. and believes her GA is really preparing her well for the doctorate. She will graduate with her MBA in April of 2013. May feels that her experience at the American University in Cairo and past vacations in the United States really helped her avoid culture shock when she arrived at GVSU. In fact, she experienced more culture shock during her first visit home after studying in the United States, commonly referred to as reverse culture shock. May had originally planned to return to McAfee after completing her MBA before eventually pursuing a Ph.D., but a wrench has been thrown into her plans. May is getting married next June, and is planning to apply to a Ph.D. program at Michigan State University.


Page last modified December 13, 2012