FIL ACHIEVERDr. Mario M. Pallada

Former banker finds teaching a rewarding career

Position: Dean, Business Department

Employer: American College of Dubai

Location: Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Hometown: Cagayan de Oro City

Misamis Oriental

Dr. Mario Mapa Pallada is the only Filipino holding the position of a Department Dean in the United Arab Emirates. He has been a bank manager in the Philippines for six years before he decided to join the academe. He was conferred with Academic Excellence award upon completion of his Ph.D.

For the last three years, he has been holding the position of Dean of Business Department of the American College of Dubai and for the last four years, teaching upper level management subjects. “Being in the teaching profession for the last 14 years, 8 years in GCC, has made my life always on the move in search for new knowledge to impart to my students.  At my age of 64, I feel that I still have the vigor and stamina to meet the day to day challenges of being a professor of the college and at the same time the Dean of the Department. I refer to myself as a teacher by accident because it did not occur to my mind that I would be a teacher someday. I found out that I was supposed to be a teacher from the start. I love the teaching profession.”

The American College of Dubai is part of the Al Shafar Group of Companies and founded by Dr. James Butler, Ph.D.  It is currently headed by William O’Brien, President and CEO.

Big Family

For Dr. Pallada, growing up in a family of eight children was a challenge for both the kids and the parents.  “As a kid I dreamed to becoming a doctor of medicine but due to the big number to send to school and financial constraints, my parents asked me to forego with the plan and instead take up commerce and follow the footsteps of my father who was an accounting graduate. Having no choice, I took the course but had to stop for two years for lack of funds and interest. However, I found that if I will not continue, I will be at the losing end. I continued with the study with much seriousness landing always at the dean’s list but was not able to sustain it as later have to continue as a working student.  All the time my parents were very supportive the same with my eldest sister who helped pay my tuition fee.”

He is married to Ma. Gemma Abejo who works as Administrative Staff of the Department of Health in Carmen, Cagayan de Oro City.  The couple is blessed with a wonderful son, Jester A. Pallada, who is employed by BPI Family Bank, Cagayan de Oro City.”

With God’s grace

From college in 1976, he got hired as an Accounting Clerk by the Allied Banking Corporation where he stayed until 1988. He decided to try working abroad and was hired as a General Accountant by Ballast Nedamn Group in KSA but was cut short because of the war in the Gulf area. “Back home I was employed by LIBCAP Forwarding Company as Accounting Manager where I stayed for almost two years until such time I was called by Pilipinas Bank,  as an Assistant Bank Manager and was offered later by East West Bank as Bank Manager where I stayed for six years.”

How he became an educator is a story that evokes mixed emotions. “Seeing my friends ahead of me retiring at an early age, I decided to shift to teaching. I can’t picture myself retiring that I found teaching a more sustainable job. From 2004, I worked with Capitol University as one of the teaching staff in the College of Commerce. While teaching, I was given the opportunity to pursue a master’s degree in Business Management and eventually my doctoral degree in management.”

In Oman

In 2008, with God’s grace, he got hired by Gulf College in Muscat, Oman as a college instructor. “My going abroad was more of God’s blessing and destiny. It never came to my mind that I would be able to work abroad at the age of 55.  During that time my son was considering Medicine in college and can’t afford it. So I accepted the offer by Gulf College in Muscat and planned for two contracts and head home afterwards. But here, I am still toiling, to give my family a better life, save some extra money for a business and for my retirement which will come soon.”

“Before I came to work in Dubai, I had a few occasions to go around the city during breaks from Gulf College in Muscat, Oman. Dubai amazed me since I first set sight of it and continued to admire until now. I will definitely be staying here until I decide to retire. I stayed with the institution for more than five years until 2013, American College of Dubai offered me to join their work force. Being able to teach and earn some Dirhams was my goal but God blessed me more that I prayed for, landing the position of Dean of Business Department one year later.”

God knows

“Working in this part of the world is very challenging. I believe that one has to have the determination and commitment to the job. The place is so different from the place we came from. This is a very competitive place and we have always to continue enhancing our knowledge and skills to stay afloat. With a culturally diverse environment and a predominantly Muslim country, we have to respect other people’s culture and be sensitive and follow rules and regulations. Most of all, we should save money, don’t squander it. We are all passersby in this part of the world and I find this as a blessing and an opportunity. Let us make the best out of it.”

“I have so much to thank God for all the over flowing blessings. I think for me this is already the pinnacle of my life. I did not dream nor expect to hold the position I am in now. But as we live, we continue to move on. I still have plans to assist my son in starting a business at home. God knows what is next.”

By: Yul Espartero


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