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University of Mississippi

Posts Tagged ‘Ethiopian Airlines’

Ethiopian Airlines graduate cohort flying high with University of Mississippi master’s degrees

Posted on: January 14th, 2022 by ldrucker

Partnership puts 17 employees through UM School of Journalism and New Media integrated marketing communications program

Though they’re rising stars working for Africa’s largest airline and already have impressive resumes, 17 integrated marketing communications students soon will be able to add master’s degrees from the University of Mississippi to their qualifications.

The cohort is the fruit of a partnership between the UM School of Journalism and New Media and Ethiopian Airlines. The students began the program in 2019 and have continued their studies during the pandemic, and several of them have finished their coursework.

Zebiba Miftah, manager of group advertising and sales promotion for Ethiopian Airlines, recently completed her master’s degree in integrated marketing communications at the School of Journalism and New Media. Miftah, who is based at Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, said she uses the knowledge and insights gained from the program on a daily basis in her job. Submitted photo

Zebiba Miftah, manager of group advertising and sales promotion for Ethiopian Airlines, recently completed her master’s degree in integrated marketing communications at the School of Journalism and New Media. Miftah, who is based at Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, said she uses the knowledge and insights gained from the program on a daily basis in her job. Submitted photo

UM Chancellor Glenn Boyce shared how this partnership and the students’ achievements are helping the university meet its mission of offering enriching and life-changing educational opportunities.

“At the University of Mississippi, we’re committed to increasing educational access and opportunities,” Boyce said in a video message of congratulations to the cohort. “We’re also committed to making sure that our students are prepared to compete in a global economy. Our collaboration with Ethiopian Airlines – and your success in the IMC online graduate program – reflect that commitment.”

Interim Dean Debora Wenger

Interim Dean Debora Wenger

The program has many benefits, said Debora Wenger, the journalism school’s interim dean. The cohort brings together seasoned professionals with their own experiences to interact with the other students in the IMC master’s program.

“They are already highly successful professionals who realize that to help their company thrive, they need to do a different kind of marketing and communication, and our IMC program is ideal for this group,” Wenger said.

“These are top executives in the largest airline in Africa. They get stationed all over the world. The exponential reach of our program through them is something we think is incredibly valuable.”

Zenebe Beyene, UM assistant professor and coordinator of international programs for the School of Journalism and New Media, and Marquita Smith, the school’s assistant dean for graduate programs, lead the program.

The partnership has provided the university with a group of enrolled students who were eager for “one of the best educations,” Beyene said. The cohort has exposed other students to their cultures and added to the diversity of the program, while gaining skills to help their company reach the next level.

Zenebe Beyene, Ph.D.

Zenebe Beyene, Ph.D.

Beyene is from Ethiopia. When he was a student at the naval academy there in 1990, he found himself captured by the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front and became a prisoner of war. He has deep ties to the region, which has helped the program succeed, Wenger said.

The chancellor noted that many in the cohort managed a full-time job, family obligations and the challenges of distance learning, all during a global pandemic.

“You are to be commended for your perseverance, hard work and focus, all of which led to your graduation,” Boyce said. “The invaluable insight, experience and knowledge that you have gained from the program will yield tangible outcomes for yourself, your employer and your career.

“The skills you have acquired will enable you to take Ethiopian Airlines to the next level.”

Samson Arega, the airline’s area manager for Canada, is among those who have completed the program. He said it has given him greater confidence in his academic prowess and also in his ability to move into positions of leadership.

Since enrolling, he’s helped his company through the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused business to decline severely.

“You can easily imagine how challenging it was with the existing new company responsibility, and being a dad of two little boys who need a lot of their parents’ cuddling, and at the same time, pursuing my studies at Ole Miss,” Arega said. “So, I had to develop new skills to manage multiple tasks at once, and now I know how persistence, passion and hard work pays off.”

Tadesse Tilahun, who lives in Addis Adaba, Ethiopia, has been with the airline for 20 years. He said he was initially unsure what he would gain from the program, but after a few classes, he clearly saw its potential to help anyone working in sales or marketing.

“I became highly interested and enjoyed all the readings and exercises,” Tilahun said. “The knowledge I gained from the program and the ideas and experiences shared with my classmates gave me the confidence to work as an IMC professional, which I hope will be applicable in my job.”

Tilahun said he came away impressed with the breadth of the skills he has mastered.

“I never expected that I would be able to get this much practical knowledge from the program,” he said. “The program gave me a number of opportunities to grow and explore my skills.

“I really enjoyed the two years in the program and I have done my level best to benefit the most out of it.”

Zebiba Miftah, the airline’s manager of group advertising and sales promotion based at Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, just completed her studies. She said she understands that she must read constantly to stay on top of ever-changing market trends and always be aware of the needs of her target audience, while having a good handle on the relationship her brand has to its customers and the media.

She has seen her value to her company grow, she said.

“It has been quite an experience for me to see as the knowledge and insights gathered from each course added value to my daily activities and decision-making process,” Miftah said. “Now, I can contribute to the organization I am in or anywhere in the field of marketing with the knowledge and insight from the master’s program.

“I feel like a marketing expert, and it is a great feeling.”

This story was written by Michael Newsom for University Communications.

Ethiopia Airlines employee shares unique story about becoming part of University of Mississippi IMC master’s program

Posted on: March 30th, 2021 by ldrucker

The School of Journalism and Media at the University of Mississippi has long had a global reach, but the story behind one integrated marketing communications graduate (IMC) student’s journey to the school is unique.

Zebiba Miftah Nassir is an advertising and sales promotion manager with Ethiopian Airlines, the largest airline in Africa. As the second child and only daughter of six, Nassir said she was raised in a humble Muslim family of community leaders and mentors.

“I grew up in a community with a lot of love and encouragement that nothing could hinder me from achieving my dreams and ambition,” she said.

She earned a Bachelor of Arts with Great Distinction in Language and Literature and a minor in history from Addis Ababa University before joining Ethiopian Airlines in 1996.

“The main reason why I joined the airline is because of the love I have for the brand and my aspiration to join a leading enterprise,” she said. “As a flagship airline, Ethiopian Airlines has the love and admiration of most of Ethiopians. So, I fell in love with the brand during my childhood.

Zebiba Nassir picture

Zebiba Nassir

“Whenever I saw how highly the public regarded the company, employees of all status, their service buses routing in the city, ads, as well as the aircrafts with the ‘three color feather,’ I would say to myself, ‘I have to join this company.’ Even after 24 years of service, my love and passion hasn’t changed.”

Nassir said Ethiopian Airlines continuously adapts to be competitive. In 2018, leaders of the airline began talking with UM School of Journalism and New Media administrators about creating an opportunity to train the airline’s marketing force with a vision to instill enhanced and cutting-edge IMC skills in key personnel. The following year, the airline established an IMC division to create synergy within the marketing departments and created a pathway for employees to earn a Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications at UM.

“I explored the opportunity that was announced in the company and decided to be among the first students to join the IMC program,” she said. “I met the selection criteria and succeeded with the best performance on the entrance exam.”

Associate Professor Robert Magee said Nassir has consistently been an engaged student and a sharp critical thinker.

Zebiba Miftah Nassir

Zebiba Miftah Nassir

“I can understand why the airline values her in her executive role,” he said. “I believe her strong experience in advertising and sales enables her to make the most of the graduate program in IMC.”

Nassir said the UM School of Journalism and New Media’s master’s program equips students with comprehensive knowledge of the elements of integrated marketing communications and guides them to understand what it takes to be a self-sufficient account planner. The master’s program has several courses focused on consumer research and insights, effective graphic design, storytelling, and communication strategies, among other areas of focus.

“One of the important aspects of marketing I grasped from this class that has stuck with me is that marketing experts should first study what the consumer is looking for or the problem to produce the solution (product/service),” she said. “Then, they should communicate the brand’s message to the target audience with a unified/consistent message across all touchpoints (‘outside-in approach’).”

The school’s interim dean, Professor Deb Wenger, said the partnership with Ethiopian Airlines has been extraordinarily beneficial to the IMC master’s program.

“We have been delighted with the caliber of students enrolled through this relationship,” Wenger said. “Mrs. Nassir is one good example of the airline’s standard of excellence for its personnel. The fact that we can share the expertise of our faculty with the employees of such an outstanding and innovative global enterprise expands our reach and influence, and helps us further our mission to lead and excel in the education of a diverse body of students.”

Nassir said she has tried to apply what she has learned in the IMC master’s program on the job. One example of an extensive IMC campaign is the airline’s “Go Digital Campaign” to promote a mobile app for an end-to-end digital travel option. She said her team executed a successful campaign and received a rewarding result with one million users of the mobile app.

“In general, the program has helped me a lot in gaining insight in relation to managing different campaigns,” she said. “I am already applying most of the lessons to our ongoing IMC campaigns. I will keep on implementing these new IMC concepts and techniques so that my company can continue to have result-oriented integrated marketing campaigns that have real time and tangible outcomes.”

Assistant Dean for Graduate Programs Marquita Smith commended Mrs. Nassir for managing her full-time work schedule with the demands of family and distance learning.

“Zebiba is one of our top online students, and she’s an example of how new knowledge can translate into every day success stories,” Smith said. “It is my hope that Zebiba will inspire other working professionals, especially African women, to continue their educations.”

Nassir is a student in the school’s online IMC master’s degree program. The program is currently enrolling students for the 2021-2022 academic year and will be accepting applications through July 31. Visit https://gradschool.olemiss.edu/apply-now/ for more information about the admissions process.

Ethiopian Airlines CEO speaks at School of Journalism and New Media graduation ceremony

Posted on: May 11th, 2019 by ldrucker

Tewolde Gebremarim, chief executive officer of Ethiopian Airlines, was the commencement speaker for the University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media.

Gebremariam, who has been in the spotlight since the tragic crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 earlier this year, addressed the graduating class Saturday, May 11, in the Tad Smith Coliseum on the Oxford campus.

Gebremariam, left, is pictured with UM professors Nancy McKenzie Dupont, Ph.D., and Zenebe Beyene, Ph.D.

On March 10, Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 was scheduled to fly from Ethiopia to Nairobi, but something went horribly wrong. The Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft crashed six minutes after takeoff killing all 157 people aboard. It became the deadliest accident involving an Ethiopian Airlines aircraft in the company’s and country’s history.

Many unwelcomed lessons can be learned from tragedy. Gebremariam discussed how companies and communications professionals move forward after experiencing a crisis.

“Our speaker comes from a nation that, like Mississippi, is much maligned in many parts of the world,” said Will Norton Jr., dean of the School of Journalism and New Media. “Under his leadership, Ethiopian Airlines has become the largest airlines in Africa and the most modern airline in the world.”

Ethiopian Airlines flies to 61 cities in Africa and 45 other cities worldwide, including Washington, Newark, Los Angeles and Chicago. Beginning this summer, the airline will offer flights to Houston and New York City.

Norton said Ethiopia’s prime minister has lauded Gebremariam for his work ethic, and he has received many honors, including African CEO of the Year, Best African Business Leader, and the 2015 International Grand Prix Special Award in Milan.

“Throughout this difficult time for his airlines and the people of Ethiopia, he has provided remarkable leadership,” Norton said. “ . . .  He has international respect and has demonstrated in recent months why he has garnered such uncommon regard.”

Gebremariam said the plane crash is a “profound loss” that has affected the 12,000 employees of Ethiopian Airlines, and it has been felt deeply by the people of Ethiopia.

“It has changed the world of aviation as we all seek answers and solutions to make air travel safe,” he said.

Gebremariam said he is proud of the partnership the University of Mississippi has formed with Ethiopian Airlines. Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) students recently traveled to the country to work on a campaign that would increase awareness about the airline in the U.S., and the company is working with the School of Journalism and New Media to offer the IMC master’s program to its employees.