Successful advertising man who’s always had an eye for a deal

Successful advertising man who’s always had an eye for a deal

Old Elizabethan Farshad Dabeshkoy is now the Commercial Director for one of the world’s largest advertising exchanges – second only to Google – with a role that sees him regularly travelling across the Middle East.

He meets with clients which include some of the biggest companies in their sectors, consulting on their business objectives and, in some cases, on progressing to IPO (Initial Public Offering, or stock market flotation).

And Farshad (OE 1997–2005) has a Master’s in Business Systems Analysis and Design from City University London as well as a degree in Business Management – Marketing from the University of Westminster.

Yet he was by no means always considered a high-flyer. In fact, asked to characterise the message arising from his life and career so far, he says: “I feel the ‘theme’ would be that you may not be the most academic person in the class – but with the right attitude, commitment and values, success is a guaranteed outcome.

""“One of the key points during my time at QE was a very honest and uncomfortable meeting with my then-Head of Year, Mr [Liam] Hargadon.” Dissatisfied with his academic performance, Mr Hargadon said he planned to call Farshad’s parents in to the School.

It was, as Farshad recalls, an inauspicious thing to hear on a Monday morning, but it gave him the chance to show his mettle. “Whilst in this meeting, I pitched various ways I could get him to change his (already made-up) mind – and after 30 minutes we had agreed on a contract to be drawn up between the two of us whereby I would guarantee an improvement in grades… in return for Mr Hargadon not contacting my parents.

“I believe this was my first proper pitch and first official ‘close’ of a deal. To put it simply, this is a foundation in the role I fulfil today – but ‘Mr Hargadon’ has been replaced with global airlines, retailers and the biggest brands in the world!”

Another thing that Farshad acquired during his time at QE – in addition to his enduring nickname, Fash – was financial acumen. “I remember getting a detention for buying ‘penny sweets’ from the newsagent on the way to school, and trying to sell them for 2p. Simple case of supply versus demand: you can tell I was always thinking about profits!”

Like many schoolboys, he did not always appreciate the reasons for the rules that were in place. “It’s only now, as the father of a nearly four-year-old, that I understand and fully appreciate the value in being prompt (I had endless ‘bad notes’ for being late), or finishing homework on time, or not having your tie undone, or shirt untucked. One big lesson I learnt was not wearing too much hair-gel: as you’ll see from my picture it didn’t work out too well for me (!)”

""Farshad says his current career owes much to the “creative tendencies” he demonstrated when growing up . “I was always more interested in Art, Music and Design. A major hobby of mine was always music production – I was working in recording studies and, from a young age, signing licensing deals with record labels both in Europe and in the Middle East.

“As a risk-averse individual, as time went on I felt more and more uncomfortable with the irregular income from music, and whilst studying Marketing at university, I decided that marketing and advertising were a much safer bet. I decided to give 100% to it, which led me to doing an internship at an online advertising network. It was one of the first of its kind: digital advertising wasn’t taken very seriously then, and more traditional mediums were holding by far the lion’s share of the market.”

After a year, the company offered him a permanent position, which involved his studying and working at the same time. “A lot of late evenings, but with the support of my wife (who I’ve known since I was at QE) raising our son, a one-year old at the time, I went on to also complete a Master’s degree, again by working all day – with university study all night!

After progressing through a couple of advertising and media-sector jobs, 2017 finds Farshad based in Dubai, employed by the Nasdaq-listed Criteo. He works with some of the largest retailers, airlines, online travel agencies and e-commerce platforms in the world, which gives him the opportunity to experience cities not only in the Middle East and Turkey, but as far afield as South Africa and Russia.

“I still feel there is a lot more to achieve and my commitment and motivation for further success is only stronger than before,” Farshad concludes. “Integrity and striving for greatness” have been key pillars not only in his own accomplishments, he says, but also in the success “that many of my friends from QE have gone on to experience”.

So while his own time at School was not without its hiccoughs, he says: “I have since been forever grateful for my parents’ decision to support and push me to attend and study at QE Boys – and here I have given just a few of the reasons that I would choose QE for my own son, too.”