Louay Saleh on his international career journey with Arthur D. Little

11 December 2023 Consultancy.eu 4 min. read

Originally from the Middle East, Louay Saleh this month celebrates his two-year anniversary at Arthur D. Little in the Netherlands. Hot on the heels of his promotion to principal, we sat down with Saleh about his office transfer to Europe and the ups and downs of life with the world’s oldest management consulting brand.

“Arthur D. Little has many things that it offers which differentiate it from other employers,” says Saleh, reflecting on his almost nine years with the global advisory firm. “I’d heartily recommend it as a place to work, because of its people-driven culture and the diversity of work we get to take on here.”

In the world of high-end strategy consulting, the average tenure of staff is usually much less than a decade, but one crucial factor in Saleh’s extended stay has been one of the simplest: “people here are nice.”

Louay Saleh on his international career journey with Arthur D. Little

Thanks to a friendly, team-oriented culture, Saleh now counts many of his colleagues as among his closest friends. At the same time, the people he works with are all “smart and driven” – allowing Saleh to “accomplish incredible things with the right team on board.”

Setting itself apart from other leading consultancies, Arthur D. Little looks to nurture a culture of entrepreneurialism – something which has long made it a top destination for graduates and young professionals looking to kickstart their careers. The firm supports this by putting in place a governance that allows offices to tailor local policy, “allowing for more flexibility in trying new things”.

“It is exciting to see each office grow, while being able to contribute to it with your own ideas,” adds Saleh. Notably, when he joined Arthur D. Little back in 2015 in Beirut, the firm was around half its current size. In another milestone, the firm recently hit the 150-partner mark.

“Arthur D. Little’s growth means that as a team, we are welcoming even more exciting projects to the firm. We get a chance to work on some high-profile and strategic projects that have significant impact on national targets and largescale investments,” said Saleh.

Generally recognised as the world’s oldest management consultancy (founded in 1886 in the US), Arthur D. Little has a long history of supporting landmark innovations. That legacy is continuing into the modern day, with the firm helping to tackle some of the most intricate problems business and governments face in the 21st century.

Saleh’s expertise feeds into several of these areas. In particularly, his main focus is on sustainability, including energy and materials transformation, decarbonisation, and economic circularity, to help address climate change and its causes. So far, the types of projects that he has delivered are quite broad: from national governmental strategy, to commercial strategy, due diligence, governance, and transformation relating to ESG matters.

He explains, “I have always been passionate about the sustainability topic, as a child I would always stay up late and watch endless documentaries on Discovery Channel about the environment and innovations in that space. With Arthur D. Little I have the opportunity to support governments, fortune 500 companies and startups that are working on solving some of these global challenges.”

From the Middle East to the Netherlands

This curiosity has been fed even more by his arrival with Arthur D. Little in the Netherlands. Looking back on the two years since he arrived in the firm’s Amsterdam hub from the Beirut office, Saleh says that it has been a key point of his professional development.

“The Netherlands is a global leader when it comes it sustainability. I have therefore been able to work with some very interesting clients on topics that play a major role in the fight against climate change which has always been a personal passion of mine.”

Of course, making the switch from the Middle East to Europe comes with some key challenges. The level of information that is available has been a shift in its own right, with Saleh having to get used to EU countries and companies being much more active and advanced in sharing figures and statistics, making analysis and number crunching a more streamlined exercise.

At the same time, due to the nature of the Middle East’s economy, much of the region’s sustainability work still relies on governmental support – but in Europe, there are more projects from the private sector to contend with.

One constant has helped Saleh to adapt more than any other though. He concluded, “Making the switch from the Middle East to Western Europe comes with change. But the biggest similarity is the calibre of people at Arthur D. Little. I’ve had the opportunity to work with some very talented and friendly people in both parts of the world.”